The amazing thing is: many of us pride ourselves on working all the time and not giving ourselves any rest. Work of the last resort – mental and physical – is still considered a measure of performance and success. Except that it often works against us.
Elena Rezanova, an expert in the field of career strategies, talks about how constant hyperfocus can lead straight to burnout – even at your favorite job. And explains how this can be avoided.
Work that charges.
The step to burnout: hyperfocus
There’s a way to cut off your inner source of energy and enjoyment at work. And it is always the last one that comes to mind, so unexpected it is. It’s a mode of endless busyness, maximum focus and high stress.
This is the mode we associate with productivity. And in general we are proud of it. And we try to discipline ourselves as much as possible, so that not a single precious minute of working time is not wasted.
But scientists say the paradoxical thing is that being in a high-focus mode all the time reduces our cognitive abilities and leads to excessive stress.
We overheat, our resources are depleted, our productivity gradually begins to fall, and a mode of diminishing returns
emerges – this is when we put more and more effort into staying efficient, but the quality of the result does not improve. The energy in the work drops more and more, the pleasure comes to naught.
Test: Are you susceptible to hyperfocus?
How big a risk are you of getting into a cycle of diminishing returns? Let’s put it to the test. Just answer yes or no to the questions below.
- When there is no energy and your head is already bad, you think not about a break and recovery, but about how to make yourself push harder (and then some more).
- You think that the task is always more important than you, than your rest, which you can only afford if the work gets done (and in general, rest is for wimps).
- In the evenings and weekends you are always in immediate response mode to incoming work messages (and you have them zinging), and in the morning the first thing you do is review them and respond promptly.
- The main energy replenishment tools you use are sweets, coffee, energy – things you can ingest without leaving your desk.
- The productivity books that fall into your orbit are full of keywords like “force yourself,” “tough discipline,” “fight yourself,” “beat laziness,” “achieve,” “overtake,” “break through,” and more.
As you can see, the “yes” items all point to approaches that are destructive to you. Something that, step by step, is undermining you, eating away at your energy and resource.
Break the routine
What do you do if you’re hyper-focused all the time?
The good news is it’s best to do nothing. Researchers advise disconnecting from tasks for at least a few minutes during the day at the first sign of fatigue.
That’s the hard part – allowing yourself to pause in the middle of a work deadline.
If you do not learn to do this, sooner or later your source will not just be blocked, but completely concreted. And once again, you’ll begin to wonder, “And where is the work that energizes me?”
“I encourage you to break the routine and give more time to idleness, I even insist on it. Sleep, dream, play, go out – do anything but work. Note, I’m telling you this, having spent years and decades in medical school, residency, graduate school, and doctoral studies to learn the wisdom of neurosurgery. I am well aware of the need to work long and concentrated hours (18 hours a day). But we are human beings, not automatons. And we were born to do great things,” Rahul Jandial. “Neurofitness. Neurosurgeon’s Recommendations for Improving Brain Performance
Watch the webinar “Burnout: what to do and how to avoid it?”
“Recovery Through Opposites
What to fill recovery periods, i.e., exits from hyperfocus?
Take on board one great principle – “recovery through opposites”. It says that the fastest way to recover is through an activity that is the opposite of the main activity.
For example, in my main job I sit at the computer, talk to people, and am constantly in what is called cognitive tension. Walking, sports, simple activities on autopilot like washing dishes, working with my hands like knitting, painting are the fastest ways to recover me.
If you are a fitness trainer and all you do is exercise all day long, then your opposite is lying on the couch and watching soap operas.
Radically switch it up! If you stay at the same point, in the same position, and try to recover, this approach won’t work.
Based on the book “Work That Charges
The post A simple way to prevent burnout and stop working yourself to death appeared first on Business