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Stress is natural. But, when that stress overwhelms us that can lead to not just reduced personal productivity. Detecting and managing burnout is a key capability for highly productivity individuals and that’s what we discuss on this week’s episode of ProductivityCast.
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In this Cast | Detecting and Managing Burnout
Show Notes | Detecting and Managing Burnout
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Good Stress, Bad Stress by Barry Lenson
Mindset by Carol Dweck, PhD
Discussion of Mindset at Productivity Book Group
“A practical guide to detect early signs of burnout.”
“Burnout Prevention and Treatment”
“What Causes Burnout and How to Overcome It”
“Overcoming Burnout: 10 steps to reignite your flame and shine brightly once more”
Ecstatic response (or, “post-traumatic growth”)
ProdPod: Episode 112: Overcoming Burnout: Rest and Rejuvenation for Sustainable Productivity
Raw Text Transcript
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Francis Wade 0:23
I’m Francis Wade.
Augusto Pinaud 0:24
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:25
Welcome, gentlemen, and welcome to our listeners for this episode, where we will be discussing burnout. That is we’re going to discuss really the functions of what, what are the pieces of burnout? How do we define burnout? And what are some of the signs that help to detect that you are burned out or that you are seeing someone else who is experiencing burnout because I think that’s sometimes very helpful. In addition, we’re then going to move on to discussing how we actually manage while in burnout mode. That is, while we’re feeling this Explain when we’re experiencing burnout, how do we deal with being burned out while we’re burned out? And then ultimately, how do we overcome burnout? How do we get out of burnout so that we can get back to being the highly productive individuals that we are? Let’s start off with defining burnout. What is burnout? Who wants to try and tackle that topic? First, I think the
Francis Wade 1:22
most there’s an extreme form of burnout. And that’s the one people relate to the most, which is when you’re physically exhausted physically, mentally, and otherwise exhausted and unable to function. I think it’s an extreme position to be in. I think the people who get there usually aren’t able or don’t have the skill to pick up the early warning signs. So they don’t know that that’s where they’re headed until it’s too late. So it strikes me as a function of not knowing the signals, not seeing the early warning indicators, and then arriving in this position on wondering why do I feel this way? What happened? How do I get mess up back. But I think it comes as a shock, the very first time feeling of overwhelm and not being able to get out of it probably was but at the same time,
Augusto Pinaud 2:07
the problem with burnout is that most people don’t notice when they are on that way. And they made the moment they start identifying the exception, there is no much or no today can do. They’re simply out and they the path to recovery, when you are that down that low. It is really, really difficult. And part of it is that I tend to believe that people don’t know and don’t have Well, good practices for self care, you know, we push and push and push and push and hope that things are going to last forever, but we do a really poor job on self care.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 2:45
It makes some great points and I want to take a step back, I think and just educate our listeners on the different types of stress and how I look at the paradigm of burnout in the context of production. And so I first start off with the book, good stress, bad stress, which is by Barry Levinson. And I’m not sure I’ll put a link to this in the show notes to see if it’s actually still available for sale. But I’ve had some difficulty finding the book in in various sources over time. But either way, I’m reading from my copy, and, in essence, very tense and talks about the idea of stress being characterized in in two different in two different kind of checklists of qualities. And so you have good stress and bad stress you stress which is good stress, and then distress, which is bad stress. And so we have you stressors and distress, there’s things that are positive or negative stressors, and so good stress is characterized by these various qualities. They offer visible rewards. It brings people together good stress also lets you develop and grow. It boosts your self esteem, it ends with resolution. Good stress also changes into something good when relieved, that is a kind of device Pass valve creates a positive outcome it opens up new possibilities when resolved results in high achievement, and it breeds optimism. Whereas on the flip side of things, bad stress has no desirable outcomes in sight and drives people apart while limiting you. Bad stress makes you feel worse about yourself. it merges into new conflicts and problems. And bad stress also becomes something bad when relieved it’s dead ended. It lowers personal standards and bad stress causes negativism and defeatist attitudes. These two different things good stress, you stress and distress negative stress are these two competing forces in our worlds. Now, what we have to do is find more of the good stress and less of the bad stress but in essence, that’s a that is categorical stress. That is once you you once you’re experiencing distress It’s negative and its impacts are negative, we then have volume based stress. And either either volume of use stress or distress can lead to burnout. That is, if you have distress of a particular say, impact, you know that that’s a that is a very emotional form of distress, say someone very close to you passes away that categorical distress can cause some kind of negative emotional impact on your world. It’s not necessarily going to cause burnout. burnout is when any type of stress categorical stress, good or bad stress is administered over time. That is you’re experiencing those stressors over the course of time. This ultimately leads to physical, emotional or mental, some kind of prolonged behavioral stress. The goal for us is to recognize when we’re experiencing that burnout, and really what happens is that You start to experience negative symptoms in your world. And the idea here is that when you are when you start to to recognize that there are emotional, physical and mental factors, and those, those excessive or prolonged stressor, stresses that you’re experiencing, are there, you will start to feel burned out, you will start to feel all of that negative association with the work you’re doing. The people you’re around your social life, generally, you’re gonna start to feel that impact. And, of course, it’s not good on your on your body, it’s not good on your wellness. And so that’s that’s how I see burnout. And then of course, that takes us then to what burnout means to your productivity. And usually, what I think of burnout is that you’re poorly executing the tasks that you are doing, you are not doing the tasks that you Want and or need to be doing. And ultimately, you are getting feedback from the people around you that you’re not performing at the level at which they expect ncu to typically be. So if you’re if people around you are used to seeing you perform at a particular level, and all of a sudden, that level diminishes, that is a clear sign that you are burned out. burnout itself expresses differently based on the individual. So what your burnout looks like, is likely different than somebody else’s burnout. And so sometimes people will think, Oh, well, I’m feeling maybe depressed, or maybe someone else says, Oh, I’m just feeling stressed out. I’m just feeling wired. For some reason. They’re feeling more elevated emotionally, then, then typical. So everybody expresses burnout in different ways. And so you have to be somewhat sensitive to what’s going on. You have to be a little bit more aware about what’s going on in your world. So that you’re able to recognize your symptoms, your unique symptoms of burnout so that you can then stop it. And correct course over the over time, let’s talk about some of the symptoms of burnout. What does burnout look like? When you see someone or yourself in burnout,
Francis Wade 8:19
I did it first and foremost, task overwhelm, but but not not to the sense that they have too much to do, but that they are not managing the things that they have to do well, so other words, they’re there, they’re not managing the demands of their time. And they’re often trying to use other memory to manage and as a result, they’re failing. And the harder the more they fail, the harder they try to use use memory or whatever failing technique that they have. And they end up in this spiral
Unknown Speaker 8:50
where they’re never
Francis Wade 8:53
catching up, things keep falling through the cracks, and it really only gets gets worse. So I think I see it through that particular lens because that’s different from from exhaustion that comes from say doing a marathon. It’s different from being having a hangover after a long night of partying, it’s different from not getting enough sleep, and then needing to get to catch up on sleep. those are those are temporary and momentary. And they’re corrected by by a single intervention. But the task overwhelmed is something that can dog someone for a decade, decades, or for the better part of their career. And it’s not something they can shake with just a vacation. Modified vacation can even make it worse. It’s something that requires a behavioral change. Probably some new technology, a bunch of different things that need to be executed to change the way they are managing the demands on their time, but that’s the lens that I use. First and foremost,
Augusto Pinaud 9:59
it is important To to make a distinction between an if we go and quote Carol Dweck on her book mindset, I think burn out also, you know, has a correlation with mindset and a correlation of how you look at this. You know, when you go to, you know, the when you look at the book and you understand the two different to grow mindset versus the fixed mindset, I think, what the the style of mindset that you tend to have when you reach that point of burn out also, it’s what help you to bounce out of that faster or slower. If you tend to be a fixed mindset person, what happened is you get to that burnout and you simply don’t know because you don’t know that he can be changed or can be improved. Therefore, you’re stuck in there until some miracle thing happen. And for those people, it’s a lot harder to bounce back to get out to recover out of that burnout. When you work with people who have that, quote unquote crown mindset, what happened is these people has the ability to eventually stop and say, Okay, what is the problem? And how what are what are the tools I need to fix it? Because they understand that regardless how dark is there is tools that they can use to bounce out. And I think that really make a difference into how bad and the effects of this burnout has on people.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 11:30
burnout can be categorized in kind of three different parts. Researchers have frequently talks about this, I mean, this this is going back almost 40 years now, where the the term burnout itself was was coined by Dr. Herbert freudenberg. Er. So burnout can be broken down into two three parts, exhaustion, cynicism, and in efficacy. That is the loss of belief in your ability to get things done first, of course, exhausted You being lacking in some kind of rest, respite, sleep and otherwise, and inability to concentrate. Then of course, cynicism, which is removing your association with with other people that is, you know, you start to alienate and, and because of those three pieces, you show it diminished capacity in some way, shape or form. Really the things that I tend to see people experience burnout is that usually they look tired, maybe they start to experience difference in sleep habits. They say that they maybe have been poorly sleeping or they haven’t been able to sleep or their sleep hasn’t been restful. Maybe they tell you that they’re starting to experience more headaches or other kinds of physical injury say that they you know why, while they may work out, you know, their physical fitness fans, all of a sudden, they are getting injured more often just minor injuries, nothing that’s major but they just feel like their body is Not repairing itself or they’re having these kinds of small, minor injuries, their emotional stability, then starts to get really, you know, shaky, they may feel helpless, hopeless, they may not feel as motivated. And you might certainly see them having more and more frequent and higher levels of negative outlooks on projects. So if you see yourself doing these things, you have a decreased sense of satisfaction, or you just don’t feel like you’re getting any fulfillment out of the work that you’re currently doing. That’s usually a sign one of the symptoms of burnout in amongst them all. And then of course, there’s the behavioral aspects of it where, you know, you start to cope with food and you start to eat a poor diet. Maybe you’re drinking a little bit more, you know, having excess beer, wine or otherwise, you know, at meals or not at meals. And then of course, there are the social components of that, you know, are you Are you having more conflict with other people? And again, going back to that bad stress category? are the things that you’re experienced in terms of stress, causing the constricting of, of the positive relationships in your world? Are you starting to procrastinate? Are you skipping work or not getting to work on time, all of those things equate to symptoms that you are experiencing some level of burnout. And the funny part is that there’s a there’s a spectrum, right, you have very low level burnout, and you have very high level burnout. And so you have to be aware of where on the spectrum you might be, and deal with those stressors at that point, and at that level appropriate to the level of stress so that you can diminish it, because overreacting is just as bad as under reacting. You have to react appropriately or respond appropriately to that level of burnout. Once we recognize that we are in burnout, what what are the things that we can do to make Manage while we are in burnout. That is to say, we’re not yet trying to fix the burnout. We’re just trying to survive day to day in the burnout before we thrive on the other side of burnout. What are some things that you suggest to people that you’re working with gentlemen, to manage through the burnout,
Francis Wade 15:22
some would say take a vacation immediately if you can, quit your doing and go come to Jamaica, feel alright, the top ganja in your skin and then go back to wherever you were before. But the truth is, I still believe you may get back your if you’re being exhausted, you may get back your strength. And you may catch up when you’re asleep, but you’re going back into a life that is fundamentally the same. I like the idea or I prefer the idea of someone seriously scheduling in time to recover whatever that might look like for them. And if they are for example, if they don’t have any downtime plan that People, for example, you know, they haven’t had lunch in the lunchroom or haven’t had lunch away from their desk. In years. You know, it’s a dangerous practice, right, but to schedule back in activities that will give them either downtime, preparation time for the day, at the beginning of the day, lunchtime time, at the end of the day to decompress between some people between leaving the office and walking into the house with maybe five kids doing something in there that involves self care, but I look for active, active actions that they could not implement on a regular basis that that would give them some some some periodic and therefore, recurring respect from the pressures of the day and the key. The key word there is recurring. So I think someone who has nothing to look forward to accept more stress is would be more stressed if they can look forward to a lunch when they go for a walk in the park each day. As opposed to sitting at their desk or some act of self care at five o’clock after work is finished them before they get back home, if once they have these things to look forward to, and they’re programmed in their calendar, they take them seriously with reminders and alarms and maybe some accountability buddy or whatever it takes to make it happen. Once they have those to look forward to then it can change everything
Augusto Pinaud 17:23
and sometimes is also about understanding what that self care is. Not everybody knows. Sadly, you know, self care. It’s and and it is important to to understand not everybody has an understand what self care is because I think that’s, that’s the first step is did you understand self care? Did you understand how to recover when that happened? And not everybody knows. I have dealt with clients before that when you ask Hey, what do you do for self care? They are honestly don’t know it’s not that they are on is not only that they are on that burnt out place is that they honestly has no clue how to leave or how to bounce out of that burnout place they don’t have even the tools to to understand I am on a burnout place. And these are the tools that may help me to bounce back. And and that is important to assess, hey, if you are there, what is what you need to do in order to bounce? Did you know what self care is? You know, did you know what you need to do to get and to be able to do self care or not everybody knows how to do it
Raymond Sidney-Smith 18:40
ever I think about burnout, I think about the two pieces of it, which is the detection that you are in burnout. So that’s kind of First we talked about some of the symptoms. I’ve put some links to articles about burnout and how to deal with burnout in the show notes. So I highly recommend that you check those articles out. And do some research into the different types of symptoms of burnout. And what that really looks like many times this can be comorbid in the sense that you can maybe have a low mood disorder, and also burnout, you could have other kinds of issues going on, say you have anxiety issues and other kinds of things. If you’re experiencing any level of overlap of these types of stressors in your world, that can of course, also cause burnout. So, so I highly recommend that you one look at those articles. If you have any belief that you might be experiencing this, the point of managing burnout means getting some kind of professional help, and the whether that’s just seeing your primary care physician, just making sure that there isn’t something physically wrong with you. There isn’t some kind of biological problem, you know, you might be maybe you have some kind of condition and you you need to deal with that. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to spiral downward. So I think first is the medical component and then Second is, as it goes to talked about, you know, and Francis, you know, discuss as well is the self care components is what can you do to kind of treat yourself. This is this is not so much about the fixing of the burnout at the present moment, it’s about finding opportunities to just feel good moments of joy and ecstatic response is really, really good in those moments so that you can just get through the circumstances, then I think you can get to the idea of fixing the problem. But, but fixing burnout is a far more systematic and systemic that is identifying systemic issues, and then systematic approaches to working yourself out of burnout. But really from from my perspective, it’s about what can you do to have those momentary fixes that are both positive and healthy, that is, alcohol should not be the choice of treat Give yourself while you’re burned out, you know you want to you want to find things that are both positive and healthy, and that are that are fairly easy. You don’t want you don’t want something overly complex. You know, you might be a roller coaster enthusiasts. Well, I wouldn’t suggest that you make some very complicated, big plan to go ride roller coasters for the ecstatic response that you would get from riding the roller coasters. I would much rather you find something very easy that you can do in your work day that causes a an ecstatic response, a positive joyful response. And so, for example, a very quick intervention that I use myself is just the idea of finding a Netflix comedy special and watching just 20 minutes of a Netflix comedy special when I feel myself in any level of low mood space, that level of laughter and Getting, you know, really what we call the belly laugh, right? You know, getting yourself really laughing, helps to, you know kick in endorphins. And your body gets all of these neurochemical responses and you get a good, positive, elated experience that that ecstatic response is what we really want. And that helps to just buffer the stress in the moment in the day, not necessarily it’s not going to fix anything over the course of time. But it but it’s one thing that you can do that’s just helps you feel better when you do feel those those really low lows throughout the course of burnout. So managing burnout just equates to identifying those little interventions that you can put into place to get yourself over the hump. So it can help you get through burnout. When you are experiencing it learn how to just identify these little tiny, I call them treats, but they’re their little moments of self care, going back to a useless term to give yourself something thing that that you can do that when you’re feeling its present, you know that the you’re you’re focused on it, you’re conscious of the burnout at that moment, you’re feeling exhaustion, you’re feeling irritable with your co worker who’s chewing loudly, whatever it might be. When you’re burned out, those things become much more heightened, you become much more aware, and much more cynical. And so therefore, your goal is to then take the little, little thing, the little intervention that you know, will help you and go do that thing. If that’s a walk in the park, if it’s calling your friend, a family member or otherwise, call that person, Skype them, FaceTime, you name it, whatever is going to help you deal with that in the moment to get the highest level of ecstatic response. And you go do that thing, because that’s going to help to counteract the very low mood experience that is going on. And then that leads us really to the to the flip side, which is how do we how do we manage and get ourselves out of burnout, burnout itself is is a systemic problem. It’s not any one thing that caused that burnout. And so just like, you know, the embers of a fly at fire, any one of those embers can start a fire. But it’s usually many embers that end up, you know, causing the most damage, you know, the whole fire that’s the problem, not just one any one particular flame. And so we want to be able to really understand the systemic problems that created the burnout, and then to really put in place systematic approaches for being able to on an ongoing basis, deliver for your, for you a level of emotional, physical, and behavioral management, so that you no longer experience those negative stressors or basically the volume of stress so that you can then manage your world Life going forward. So, of course, there’s just simple old rest, that is inaction or sleep. So rest can be sitting there doing absolutely nothing, or it can be sleep, that’s what I think of as rest, then the other side is relaxation or rejuvenation. And that’s actually the, the use of yourself mentally and physically, emotionally, in in towards something that is not purposeful toward your everyday work. So rejuvenation might be for me, I’m a runner. So for me, it’s very rejuvenating to go for a run. And for someone else that might sound hard. Whereas the idea of drawing you know, on a on a notepad might be very rejuvenating for them.
Augusto Pinaud 25:46
If you see me running on I’m next to you, and I passed you be aware that there is something ugly and big following us and you should run.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 25:56
You’re being chased, you’re being chased.
Augusto Pinaud 25:58
But you know, those sort of things. Write You know, there is everybody or most people tend to have you know, 235 songs, okay? That you connect to happiness to good moments to you know that that get you you know, blood pumping into their system, you know, create a playlist, you know, I put on your phone, put the 10 songs on your phone, so that way you can get that that excitement. A lot of times it’s not necessarily about the big change but about the little things and, you know, Don consistently and I and I said this a lot about my coaching practice, it’s not about the big thing is about the little things done consistently. So start looking, what it is start looking, you know, what are those little things and pay attention because the moment to if you’re already into the burnout hole, that’s not the moment to discover what will make you trick I mean, can you do it? Of course you can. But that’s a hard moment because you are already on the whole The moment to try to do that is when you are not on the whole and find out Hey, what is the music that I need to have? Or what is the cut the drink? I don’t drink. I don’t need to be alcoholic. It could be a coffee, it could be a tea. Okay, it could be a smoothie. But what are those little things that make me smile? You know what I like hustle, not chocolate Fine, then I know that if I’m having a tough afternoon, and I’m getting to that point because burnout, there is chronic burnout and there is also Hey, it’s 4pm and I’m brain dead fine. What is what you can do when you are brain? And the problem sometimes is people think oh, well, now I need three weeks of vacation. No, no, you don’t need three weeks of vacation. What you need is to make sure you take 10 to 15 minutes, maybe the next two weeks to bounce out. That’s what you need. What can you do for a 10 or 15 minutes that will disconnect you from the Philippines. You are unwilling to allocate and those things are important to know even before you get there and if not, well, let’s start looking for them. What are those 10 songs? Okay 10 songs it’s around half an hour so if you think of that perspective, you just need to find what are the five favorite songs ever for you? Or as you said go to Netflix or Hey, watch a movie Okay, there is three or four movie series that I can watch at any time Okay, Star Wars obviously being one of those that I can watch and get the dialogue and we’ll get and interestingly when you particularly for me when you think on a Star Wars Okay, who are that many movies each movie bring me to a different state, not every movie will produce the same so depending on which state I am, I need to go and watch that movie or a piece of that movie because will help me to go up. You know, it’s like writing if I put the right music can write a lot better because the music fades in the background, but the mood gets up. So it is important even before you get to that burnout even if you think you are never going to go to that burnout water though things is eating chocolate he’s eating ice cream it is. You know what it is that he’s I you know, I don’t I don’t drink so drink is not something that I consider in my list but but what are those things that can get you off pace, maybe openness, pride and have a Colts pride great, but you need to have that checklist somewhere. So when you hit that wall, even if he’s not on the chronic level yet, what are you going to do to bounce back? Because otherwise at the moment you hit the wall it is really really really hard to think, Okay, what can I do? That’s the moment the brain goes blank. There is nothing you can and it’s not there is nothing you can do is that the moment you are your brainwaves are not working well. So you should try to have some of those elements on hand. So that way you can bounce back.
Francis Wade 30:09
It all has to do with self awareness at the end of the day. And when somebody isn’t self aware, they’ve fall into burnout, and then have to sort of rescue themselves without the benefit of having any, as we said earlier indicators or even ideas of what it is that they’re in and how to get out of it. But the game that we’re advocating sounds like increasing levels of self awareness so that basically burnout isn’t allowed to happen that we we put in place or live a life in which there’s enough balanced activity that burnout can never really find the place. And if there’s a spike in our spike, say, a tragic event like someone passing away, or a new project that’s that’s very demanding that we respond appropriately in a guess, accordance with our bandwidth or preference. Or habits or practices. But again, it’s still an awareness game, either long term awareness or short term awareness with respect to some sudden change. It’s all still an awareness game and I guess that’s that’s becoming increasingly aware is what would keep someone out of Burma Burma permanently.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 31:20
I look, I look at it from the perspective of fitness and what I call your biological fitnesses. And the the goal here is to really think about the various types of way that the various ways that you should be fit in your life. And so, I categorize them in seven different fitnesses you have sleep or rest, you might want to call it nutrition, physical, mental, emotional, social, and rejuvenative stress rejuvenative Fitness. And so those seven types of fitness are the things that you need to focus on in order to be able to get yourself both Stable to what I call getting more done right? The idea of being more productive. And if you want to have it be sustainable, that is not go through cycles of burnout, high productivity, mediocre productivity, burnout, and so on and so forth. We keep repeating those cycles over the course of our life if we don’t have a good handle on these seven components, and so you need to then figure out where you are. You need to really assess yourself. Are you getting good sleep? Are you getting good nutrition? Are you getting good physical fitness? Are you getting good mental fitness? Are you getting good emotional fitness? Are you getting good socialization? Are you having good rejuvenation? And then determining, okay, what things do I need to do to make those things a part of my world to get myself back on track? Now for most people, you can only really handle working on one or two of these things at a time. So don’t try and do all seven improvement projects all at once. But really, it’s important to look at all of these and say Okay, what are the things that I can do today that will help to at least bring me closer and further forward systematically, systemically toward a better place. And once you do that, you start to really understand where you are in terms of your own level of one burnout, but also where you are in your ability to get yourself out of that space. So that’s kind of the approach that I and I don’t want to get too further into this because that could turn into many hours of discussion on the the process of getting yourself out of this. But Psychology Today put together a a an article called overcoming burnout and it’s a 10 step process. And so I just wanted to quickly go over it because I think it’s useful for people to have a clear process for being able to overcome burnout and so, these are the 10 steps that they talked about one they talked about taking an inventory and that is making a list of what is causing the it says stress, anxiety, worry frustration, helplessness all All of the emotions that we talked about at the very top, what are the things that are causing this right now, taking that inventory, taking that list of things really is is a fundamental first step, then they talk about the idea of writing down one way to modify each of those emotions or negative impacts that are happening from the inventory. So how would you deal with the anxiety? How would you deal with the frustration and so on so forth? Next? They talk about saying no, that is not taking on more, right? This is a really great opportunity to reduce the number of things that you’re working on, what can you say no to in your world to make it better? delegate as much as possible. Then it talks about taking breaks between big projects. So the idea that your your body, mind, whatever you want to call it needs some level of recovery. So what’s the recovery period between your one big project and your next big project? Then they talk about control In your devices, and this is a really great practical advice, which is, you know, how, how often and how much can you have screen time and how much of that is taking your your time attention and emotional energy, next is socializing. Then they talked about, resist the urge to work at home, so taking work home, so, leave work at work, then they talk about reinforcing effort not outcome. So, in essence, it’s you are, you are defined by the amount of effort you given, given given your life, not the the number of wins that you make in life. So, the idea behind success is that you are putting in the effort, not necessarily that you’re always getting the gains from each of those individual efforts. So it’s about the amount of effort you give, not about the outcome, and then they say consider support and then it could be a professional support group, or it could be just casual, getting together. With friends, and so that’s their 10 step process for being able to overcome burnout. I traditionally think that what you really are doing with any of these these burnout strategies is that you are learning how to give appropriately. And while that seems counterintuitive, it’s actually the process of giving emotionally, giving physically of yourself, giving, you know, a feeling of connecting with others, that creates an experience that is that is ripe for creating the positive emotions that take you out of burnout. So for example, if you go volunteer at a homeless shelter, well guess what, by going to that space and helping people who are more need than you, you are going to resurrect all kinds of feelings of gratitude, of, of, of worth of helping others establish who their sense of dignity and worth as a human being. And that’s going to pull from you good positive emotions. And it’s, it’s remarkable, but to to get good emotions, you have to expend emotion. And that’s what triggers the creation of those emotions, those positive outcomes. So I really believe that that giving is one of those first fundamental steps of being able to, to, to overcome burnout is how can you How can you, of course rejuvenate? But rejuvenation is the idea of actually expending energy, in purpose of something in some kind of mission focused way? And I think that’s really important for us to figure out as we try to light light the flame like the pilot light in our system that seems to be sputtering at the moment.
Augusto Pinaud 37:52
Well, as we discussed is, you know, a lot of the issue is paying attention to self care and paying attention to what is important thing for you, you know what, what do you need to to avoid it if possible, but if not to avoid it to at least little by little get back and I say, you know, and if you are not aware, and I think this is important because when you said self care, not everybody’s aware of what they need and what self care means. And maybe that’s exactly the first step, understand what you need for self care and what is self care and what self care means for you, because that change person to person. Okay, as we discussed, you mentioned the Netflix, you know, I mentioned the Star Wars movie, I mentioned the movies I you know, we mentioned other options. So, what is that self care component? What is that component that will make a difference for you? Are you aware of this? Are you aware of what you need to make it happen? And if you don’t, that’s fine, but then what do you need to uncover dose because that will make a difference with your patient. abilities to, you know, bounce and your possibilities to interact during the burnout. You know, I have seen many people doing burn out to really create problems that there were no needs to okay that then when they finally bounce out of the burnout, they have lost things that were important for them just because they they were into the extreme burnout and they did not how to manage and, well, it’s hard to deal with a person who is in burnout as much as it is for the person in burnout to re deal with the rest of the world. So it is important for you to be aware of water dose elements of self care of self care, what can you do, again, on a consistent basis so you can get out and look at life from a little bit more positive point of
Francis Wade 39:50
me when I was in in college, my first semester, and I tried to pull an all nighter. I heard everybody talking about doing all nighters, okay? But I could do one I did one. I say try it because when I recovered from doing it about three days later, I decided I would never ever do that to mess up ever ever again. I’m a morning person. So this fell. I didn’t know it at the time. But I knew that pulling this all nighter and trying to do what everybody else was doing didn’t work. For me. I think it’s it’s been a journey of self discovery. The path to burnout for me would include working super long hours and not getting enough sleep, and trying to do something instead of sleeping that was necessary and had a deadline on it. I’ve never tried. I’ve cut that out of my life since then. And I’ve always thought of it as the first element of my burning of and I think over the years, I’ve gathered sort of these touch points or these indicators of burnout and I think that’s true for most people. And I think it’s a game of adding more knowledge, more self knowledge, figuring out what the the actions or the incidents Be and then mitigating accordingly.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 41:02
Age worse gentleman. And I think that what we are all talking about here is a level of awareness of our various emotional states throughout our productive lives. And then learning how to make that better incrementally by by identifying specific types of behavioral interventions that help us stay stay high performing. And for me, I genuinely believe that we tend to look at arbitrary things as the as the arbiter of our high performance, when in reality, it is the fundamental things the fundamental biological drivers that cause the most positive gain when we focus on it. And so I if I could leave you all who are listening with just that, that piece of you know, that I talked about, which is those seven fundamental fitnesses that you have in life. Those are the drivers Have your most productive world. And if you can just learn how to incrementally improve them, you will be more productive and you will buffer against burnout, you will not experience burnout in the same extreme extremities the same level of height of burnout and categorical forms of burnout will also drop because the categorical forms of distress will then be mediated by the strength Do you have the resilience that you’ve built through those foundations. So I hope that you all experience less burnout, and you all can manage through and then overcome burnout more often. With that guidance. This brings us to the close of this episode of ProductivityCast. Just a couple of announcements and then we will close out the episode itself. So thank you to to Cousteau and Francis for joining me here in this conversation. If you have a question or a comment about this topic of burnout Something we discussed in the episode, you want to dive in deeper, feel free to head over to the podcast website there at the bottom of the episode page, you will find a comment you can comment field, you can go ahead and leave a comment or question for us, and one of us will be glad to respond there. You will also find on the episode page, the show notes which have links to anything we discussed. So you can jump to those things from there. And you can also learn how to follow us on your favorite podcast app or on one of the various social platforms or whatnot. If you have another question, that is a question related to personal productivity but not about burnout. Feel free to visit productivity cast dotnet forward slash contact Feel free to either record a message or write a message and that will come to us and we’ll be happy to respond to you or perhaps use that material in a future episode. If you could feel free to leave a rating or review in Apple podcasts or stitcher and we appreciate the accolades and we also know that it helps us to grow our personal productivity listening community. And so thank you for doing that. That brings us to the end of this episode of ProductivityCast the weekly show about all things personal productivity, take care, and here’s to your productive life.
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.