What Is Burnout?

There are tons of posts about preventing burnout. But I’ve found far fewer posts discussing what leads to, and defines, burnout. Here is an attempt of describing those things. If for the least, for my own personal experience.

Burnout, defined another way, is mental exhaustion. The same way exercising everyday with no rest leads to physical exhaustion or injury, burnout leads to depleting mental energy and/or capacity.

What Leads To Burnout

  • Saying yes to all (or many) work-related things.
  • Working on multiple projects at once.
  • Attempting to reach a goal at any cost.
  • Having no other interests than what you’re current work.
  • Lack of sleep or an imbalance in lifestyle.

Signs of Burnout

  • It takes you longer than normal to get started on a task at work (or personal project).
  • If it feels like your progress is comparable to pushing a huge boulder up a huge mountain, daily.
  • You’d prefer any other task to the one currently in front of you (some call this productive procrastination).
  • There is an extraordinary level of discomfort in a task (not to be confused with discomfort of progress).
  • You stop caring about it. Could be work or a hobby.
  • You have no interest in a decision to be made or the final result.

What Is Burnout (How you may feel when burned out)

  • Straight up no interest in doing something. No matter the consequences.
  • Inability to focus on a task, even if it’s simple.
  • Similar to procrastination, doing anything else other than your task/job/duty.
  • Having no mental (or physical) energy for anything else.

Exhaustion isn’t cured over a weekend (or even a long weekend). It requires a recalibration of priorities, tasks, life goals and even life purpose.

Take burnout seriously. Otherwise it’ll be a long road back to feeling productive, inspired, creative or even happy in your work.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post there are a lot of articles about preventing burnout, so here are a few of note: