One day you look up and you realize you don’t feel like doing anything. Tasks are piling up, everyone seems to be on your case, and you can’t get it in gear to get even the smallest thing done.
It happens to everyone, and affects each person a little bit differently. In my experience there’s a few common warning signs.
Your routine is smashed
Even the most unorganized among us has a routine. Every day and ever week there are things that you do. But what if you suddenly stopped doing them?
Some routines, like bathing, will have a noticeable effect quickly. Others are more subtle and only show up over time. If you find yourself suddenly not doing your normal things, ask yourself why that is.
Nothing is fun
There’s tasks that we all enjoy doing. Maybe we find them fun, maybe we enjoy the reaction that we get from doing them. But if suddenly those fun things seem like a chore, that’s a major sign that something is changing.
For software developer, I’ve noticed that when writing code is no longer fun its a sign of burnout. Either that or you are working in a language or framework that does not play to your strengths.
When you realize this is happening, STOP. Go find something else to do. Anything. Preserving your passions is a very important thing to do. Many of us identify ourselves with our passions. Losing your passion for things that you used to find fun is tragic on so many levels
Someone says “You’re burning out!”
Many times we are simply too close to the problem to notice it.
Pay attention to friends, family, and co-workers. If they think you are going too hard, they are probably right. They have a perspective that you are probably missing in your rush to meet a deadline.
Working all the time
Crunch time happens. It sucks. But it also doesn’t last forever.
If you find yourself working all hours of the day and night without any breaks, you are probably burning out. Downtime is very important. You have to let your brain rest and reset from time to time, and that is impossible to do if you are lurching from emergency to emergency.
If you are doing a side hustle, this is even more insidious. You might think you’re not working because you are not working on your day job stuff. But to your tired brain, work is work!
Stop burnout now
If these things sound eerily familiar, then you might have a problem. Stop, asses your situation. Walk away if you have to.
Seek help. Develop a plan. Things will get better, and the sooner you realize it, the sooner you can act on it.
Trust me, I’m speaking from experience on this one.