“Are you planning on exercising at all this weekend?” “No.” How does one stay in decent shape when faced with the impossible odds of collecting as much information as possible? Is it enough just to eat decently and avoid terrible foods? Sleep decently and pace oneself? When you enjoy the work you do to such an extreme level, how do you make sure not to burn yourself out? Is this all easier said than done?
My burn-out after a weekend would give the answer: yes.
Regardless of how much we study physical/mental health, and despite our best efforts, if we get caught up in something bigger than ourselves, it’s likely for us to burn out without us even knowing about it. The key, then, is to make sure that we have our own internal checks-and-balances.
If I, for example, don’t feel like writing, I don’t sit around idling.
The natural inclination might be to go visit some idle website where we can amuse ourselves with jokes or thoughts, but where does that get us? Maybe it’s a nice break. But it doesn’t solve the problem of our fatigue. We should, instead, figure out the source of our fatigue and address that first.
If we’re tired because of work, can we defer it?
If not – like now, where I could write this after sleeping, but there’s a possibility I won’t wake up before the 7 AM deadline, with it being already 11 PM, and with most all of my day being spent writing or editing – then address it as forcefully as possible! Get the work done, then sleep.
What if we bite off more than we can chew?
Part of it is accepting that we won’t catch everything. In a sense, I think of the Catcher in the Rye in situations like this. No matter how hard you try, you can’t do everything simultaneously, so just focus on what you can and forget the rest. If you get flack for anything, oh well.
Remember to take your breaks.
Not just physical breaks but mental breaks as well. During this weekend project, I took just enough breaks to balance out the work. On one particular field trip, we took some photography and explored an area I hadn’t seen in maybe 20 years? Time traveling like that is particularly relaxing.
I think that’s why we indulge in escapist activities.
Being transported to an alternate world in a television drama or videogame can help us focus on something else besides the “us” and the “now,” both important, yes, but not always all-encompassing for a fully enjoyable reality. Sometimes, we do need to disengage, and I suppose, idle.
The difference is how and when… I suppose.
If you’re unwinding after all your work is complete, or your work is in a steady state for the moment, that’s different than merely escaping from work for a few minutes as a distraction. If you need a distraction, work toward changing that. If you need to pace yourself, you might be working too hard.
|Quotes:  Me.  Friend to the website, William.|
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 228.0
– Last week’s weight: 229.5
– Difference: Down 1.5 pounds!
|Inspirations: Just a quick essay exploring my thoughts on my second day after that adventure of being awake for about 60 hours.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Picture: Generic rowing template picture applied on top drawings of jars to represent the game jam I was part of, but won’t link to, because it’s not fair to place blame. The spite looks cool, though, huh?|
|Written On: November 6th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|