Project: Redo From Start

So uh.. hi. Long time no write. A very long time indeed. Long story short I’ve gone and broken myself and I’m having a really hard time getting back on course.

Burn Baby Burn

Those that know me know I get involved in my work. I care about what I do, I like to think I’m pretty decent at it and it keeps me busy,

Unfortunately due to changes at work over the last few years – some of which I can’t discuss , others that it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to discuss – its been keeping me more and more busy to the point where, without quite realising it, I’ve let it consume me.

After a long period of waiting for it to get better I finally had to admit that I was entering fairly late stage burn out. Now I’ve seen others I know go through burn out – its not pretty and I know some that have hit the wall extremely hard, some even to the point of requiring hospitalisation. I’ve not hit that point but in retrospect I’ve probably come close a few times.

Not Just A River In Egypt

Ah denial. Occasionally a useful resource bu oh so more often a trap for the unwary. For a long time I thought I was everything was OK and generally speaking things for me are. I’m not in significant debt, I work reasonable hours and our home is a place of our own – something I’m very aware many folk in my generation are not quite so lucky to have.

Oddly knowing that my life was better positioned than many others only served to help compound the denial. After all with how well everything else was going how could I possibly be having issues?

Loss Of Self

As you can probably guess things aren’t OK. While I’m not totally broken and I still manage to hold my work and general home life together, I’ve completely sacrificed my personal hobbies. For a while I made the mistake of doing some personal hobby stuff that was far too close to what I do at work. This only compounded the problem.

As a result I haven’t taken any photographs worth a damn in probably about two years, haven’t done anything with LEGO for longer and certainly haven’t written any blog pieces either. On the upside I have managed to watch an awful lot of Netflix. (Side note on that I’d just like to say the return on investment for the Netflix monthly cost vs the original material they produce is absolutely excellent).

I’ve accrued just a stupid amount of holiday time, to the point that I’ve exceeded the threshold my works policy allows. I’ve started taking off a day a week to ease myself back into knowing how to do this “time off work” thing but its not always easy. If there’s anything to learn from this post learn this – not taking time off work is really, really stupid thing to do. You earn that time off, damn well take it. Do not make the same mistake as me.

The “D” Word

I saw someone mention the other day (I’ll try and see if I can remember the source) that the term “burnout” is often used in tech circles to mask depression. To somehow soften it, remove it from it being so bad. I have to say that’s a pretty astute observation.

There’s absolutely no doubt that late stage burn out is a form of depression. Shares many of the hall marks and opens a dark pit of anxiety and dread that feels all but impossible to escape. Your sleep cycle breaks down, ability to socialise vanishes and your own health erodes. Fast.

Out Of Cheese Error

So yes its time to start slowly turning this burn out ship around and get myself back. I was thinking about setting a list of “must do tasks” but after thinking that through for a bit longer I would likely fall in the trap of not reaching those goals and declining into a funk once more. This is a non ideal outcome.

If anyone has hints, tips or stories of thing that have either helped them out of a similar situation, I’d really appreciate it. Asking for help is not something I’m particularly good at so lets see if I can start there with something to improve on.

Meantime I’m looking at doing some beginner camera courses and get myself back into photography. Maybe if I approach this with some sense things will slowly click back into place.

3 thoughts on “Project: Redo From Start

  1. Craig Askings says:

    I think the camera courses is a good idea, I’d also suggest fitting a little bit of exercise into your routine if you haven’t already.

    I’ve recently added (not quite often enough but progress) a fairly simple routine that I can do at home and fit in around kids / getting home late etc. Which short cuts a lot of my normal excuses for not doing it. Plus your other half can perv on you while you are at it 😉

  2. Alison says:

    First of all it’s courageous putting your post out there. It’s a solid step towards change and builds in some accountability if you’d like it. As a fellow struggler with some of what you describe I suppose my biggest tip is to not discount incremental changes, even tiny ones. Also allow for incidental progress, planning a photo walk may seem onerous but having a camera with you might mean you take a few pics as you go about something else. The result is still that you’re taking more photographs.

    When changing how I was doing something the tools available to help track that only really told half the story. When discussing with a person I was accountable to, I remarked how what I’d logged into the tool may not have been the best indication of progress, but what it didn’t show was all the ways I could have made less progress but didn’t. By all means use what tools you think will help. At the same time don’t be hesitant to dump an ideology, tool or activity that may seem promising and has worked for others, but doesn’t work for you.

    Also support networks come in varied forms and may seem naff to throw into general conversation, but they can really make a difference and take some of the pressure off feeling like you’re going it alone.

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