Are you burnt-out or just lazy? #motivationmonday
Last week, I wrote a blogpost on working hard, and how it can feel less ‘hard’ when you’re living your dream. After writing it, however, I realized it was missing an important part --TAKE BREAKS!
In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to think in should terms, and to feel shame as a result. “This should feel effortless,” or “I should want to work more weekends.” What I’ve realized, quite recently actually, is the difference between laziness and burnout.
Although they may feel similar (an overwhelming wash of lethargy / anxiety after remembering your to-do list), laziness often appears in two cases: 1. Something is out of my comfort zone, 2. I am trying to do something I don’t want to do, but either have legal obligation (taxes) or social obligation ( working on a friend’s project you don’t want to work on, your aunt’s wedding etc).
For the second case, it’s obvious that you should suck it up and meet your obligations as a tax/bill-paying human. For the former, however, there’s a little more wiggle room. Do you really need to give up three days of your (very limited) fashion job holiday for your distant aunt’s wedding? Do you really need to help a friend with their project that doesn’t interest you? Call me a horrible person, but I have learned to answer NO (in all caps) to these sorts of questions.
As for case #1, the case of comfort-zone bursting, I experience this kind of laziness while trying to do a million scary things at once. “Let’s move to the UK, get perfect grades, make 100 friends, join a new sports team, go sky diving, save the world, start a blog” –all within a month. Although those are incredible things, your life / prospective future soon appears unenjoyably full. As a result, the odds of actually completing (or enjoying) these tasks decrease considerably. For me, going in-deep on a smaller ‘scary’ task-list allows me to; 1. Learn to enjoy them, and 2. Actually do them better.
So, besides letting go of toxic social obligation, how can we avoid burn-out, yet acknowledge when we are simply being lazy? If we are being lazy, does this mean we hate what we are doing? How can we push ourselves without falling over the edge?
Personally, I am working on asking; why am I doing what I am doing? What’s the pay-off? Will I get arrested if I don’t do this? Will my career or goals come to a screeching halt? Have I taken a shower this week? What are the pros and cons? Will doing this make me a better person?
In taking a moment to ask these questions, whether it’s through meditation, journaling (or calling your mom), a greater sense of clarity can be obtained. When I ask these questions, I can incorporate work-breaks into my life without guilt. When I exercise this level of self-awareness, I’ve noticed a direct improvement not only in how I feel, but also in the work this feeling produces.