I haven’t been my “usual” self this past month hence the social media silence. I didn’t post anything on my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram (instastory doesn’t count) this past month. I was in a difficult state and it sucked out nearly all the motivation and hope in me.
Let’s call it burnout.
spreading myself thinly
I’m the kind of person who likes learning about lots of different topics, who likes to do many things and who cares about many things. Some people tend to focus on one thing that they’re really good at, but I prefer to get my hands on several things and endeavour to be good at all of them. It is not impossible, but it can be difficult and taxing.
Since I’ve started working full-time, I find it difficult to balance the things that I want to do. Work is obviously one of the top priorities because I need money, and it takes about 66% of my energy. Although it occupies only about 9 out of 24 hours of my day, I actually need as much time to recuperate, which leaves me with just 6 hours.
How is that enough time to write good content on my blog, edit videos, post pictures, read a novel, go to the gym, practice dancing and bake cookies?
And don’t give me the “Béyonce has 24 hours too” bullshit.
What I realised is that yes, I am pushing myself too hard by doing too many things at once. There is no such thing as multitasking. If I want to be good at something, I would need to allocate time for it realistically. And if I can’t make time for each of the things I want to do, I’d have to remove the activities that are least beneficial to me at the present time.
We often confuse activity for productivity.
— Joshua Fields Millburn
Of course it’s easier said than done. So I took the time to brainstorm. I wrote down the things that I like to do and I narrowed them down to the things I need to do. Then, I scribbled the hours of the day and filled them in with activities as realistically as possible. Since my week days are governed by work, I would only have a few hours each night to do one thing.
Basically, my whole point is that I shouldn’t do too many things in short periods of time and instead focus on one or two things within a longer period. That way I can get more out of what I do instead of always feeling unaccomplished.
I’ve previously written about accountability factors and how I need more of those in my life. I mentioned about Muay Thai classes and how the money I earn plus my own genuine intention are factors that force me to attend those classes. And guess what, I have been attending them consistently each week (unless work brings me outstation).
A question I posed in that post was do I need an accountability partner? As in a real human being with whom I can talk to at least once a week to go through what I have accomplished and what needs to be done. And if I don’t get to accomplish my weekly target, said partner would be the one to push me on and give positive encouragement.
I was listening to a podcast by Ariel Bissett about getting organised for freelance and she mentioned that having an accountability partner (or two) helps tremendously. Yes there’s the physical organisational part of writing to-do’s on a notebook, but we also need to consider how organised our mental and emotional states are. And that’s where help from another human being may come in.
Wanting to have an accountability partner does not mean that you are not strong enough or not independent enough. It’s a whole different thing. It’s just accepting that you are a human being who requires input from others every now and then so that we don’t get trapped in our own little minds, which can be a dangerous place to be. Trust me.
So while I keep on searching for such a partner, I am trying to keep myself and the work I do accountable by sharing my thoughts publicly on social media. That is mostly why I rely on Instagram, for example. My Instagram feed is filled with posts that often serve to be motivational. The pictures I post are edited nicely with insightful caption so that I could look back and smile at the memories. In a way, I’m helping my future self in need.
And yes I feel happy when people acknowledge my pictures by liking or commenting because it does give that serotonin boost. Yes, it’s a short-term pleasure and yes, it may sound pathetic but this is the best I can figure out since there is literally no one in my life who would ask about how I feel, how my progress is, and who would listen to my complaints without harsh judgment, who would help me get out of a rut, and who would do all of those consistently.
Well, I guess those are the two main reasons for my burnout. From these two root causes came other factors that I won’t talk about as they may be generic or too personal. Plus, this is long enough.
The whole point of this post is for me to share with you this thing that has bugged me so that my conscience can be cleared and I can move on to write about other important things that I have in mind. And also it feels good to let it out into the air not caring if this will be read by anyone else or not.
But anyway, I wish all the best to you who are reading this and just don’t give up no matter what, as there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep holding on.