TCD #002: Detecting Dreaded Burnout

Jan 21, 2023
Busy Calendar

 

After taking a long two-year break from cybersecurity, I was incredibly excited to rush back into it.

I missed the opportunities and the feeling of accomplishment that working in this field brought me.

So, over a six-month period, I threw myself back into it and made a series of commitments.

However, I had not taken into account the implications that would result from the progress I made.

 

  • I was running a weekly newsletter called The Cyber Dispatch.
  • I was publishing daily content on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • I launched and maintained a private community (Cybersecurity and Growth).
  • I was doing part-time coaching calls in the evenings.
  • I was acting in an advisory capacity to small and medium sized businesses..
  • I was working a full-time job at Seedata (you should check them out!).

 

At first, it was rather exciting because of the potential for success that came with everything I was doing.

However, as time moved on, something changed and I started to dread engaging in all of these activities.

After realizing that something had to change, I began implementing several strategies to mitigate it. 

 

Forcing Myself To Sleep More

I had become accustomed to getting by on a restricted five to six hours of sleep each night for years.

I thought I could do this because I was able to function the next day with that amount of sleep.

But what I hadn't realized was how much more productive I could be if I slept more.

My mental clarity was enhanced and I experienced an overall improvement in my concentration.

If you're someone who goes on a small amount of sleep, I highly recommend trying this out for a few days just to see how you feel. 

 

Compressing Tasks Into Slots

While I was never the type to rely on a calendar or productivity techniques, I began to recognize that too much of my time was being squandered because I couldn't decide what tasks needed attention.

To address this, I allocated dedicated hours during the day when I knew precisely what actions would be taken.

This system turned out to be an effective plan since it also allowed me enough leeway each week for recreational activities.

That way, as soon as those designated work times had expired, guilt didn't creep in and interfere with how cherished leisure moments were spent. 

 

A Day of Doing Nothing

I had a tendency to work on various tasks right through the weekend. In fact, I wouldn't really stop.

I thought this was manageable because I was capable of doing it, so I decided to flip that around and allocate one day on the weekend to doing nothing.

I don't mean that I sit there, just staring at a wall—I just do what pleases me.

If I want to read blog posts or watch videos all morning, that's exactly what I do.

 

Taking Regular Breaks

I had a bad habit of working for hours at a time without moving. I'd get into a zone, and suddenly look at the clock and realize five or six hours had gone by.

Although this was really beneficial, it led to some unhealthy traits. I wouldn't shower, and I'd skip many meals.

Many lifestyle blogs recommended taking short breaks.

I tried this throughout the day, and it worked better for me; I could return to the task I was doing with a fresh perspective.

 

Here's What It Looks Like

To give you a rough idea of this in effect, this is what a representation of my calendar looks like:

 

 

This is simply meant to demonstrate the modifications I have made to my sleep schedule and how the weekends are spent.

 

Overall Summary

Let me provide you with a concise overview of the actions I took to modify my circumstances:

 

  1. I made a conscious effort to get more sleep each night.
  2. I started using a time-blocking technique to schedule my work hours.
  3. I designated Saturdays as a day of complete rest and relaxation.
  4. I made sure to take regular breaks throughout the day.

 

I am 100% certain that what worked for me will not work for everyone—there was a plethora of different things that I tried that simply didn't work.

I recommend experimenting and trying different things when you know your lifestyle is not maintainable or things are becoming too much.

Prior to making all of these changes, I followed no calendar, had no plan, and just did things in the moment. Of course, there are days when a lot of this goes out of the window.

Nevertheless, I hope this issue will be beneficial to you in some way by providing you with the motivation and ideas you need—see you next time!

 

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