On trying so damn hard not to burn out

This is actually an unscheduled post brought on by actual current life ongoings. Posts don’t always happen in the order I place them in, but most of the things I want to write about have been outlined or have drafts already partially written and so they don’t generally happen in real time. I could draft this and post it later but it’s so fresh I decided I want to post it now. I am considering this post a sort of progress report of sorts and planning on making these every so often to keep track of how things are going and also to create a method of accountability for myself.

On My Previously Mentioned Goals for 2015

There are a bunch of different things I am trying to work on at once. It seems like the list of improvements I’d like to make (and ways I’d like to make them) increases more and more each day. Part of this is that I am so proud of myself for the changes I HAVE made that I find it addicting and want to make more and more positive changes. But, as my therapist pointed out last week, I am going to burn myself out if I keep it up. I knew this, and think I even mentioned it before, but I tend to get so caught up that I forget the logical things I already know.

I have also been drafting a post on successful goal-making and turning your goals into habits. In the process of outlining and drafting this post, I have come across advice that goes against some of the goals I’ve set (IE make goals more specific and less generalized in order to keep them). This means I am trying to achieve all these new goals, actively pay attention to how I am achieving them, and then trying to remember new advice and apply it to said goals. I never feel like it’s that much in the moment but when I look at it on paper (or in type here) I realize that IT’S A LOT.

2015’s Successful/Active Changes so Far

  1. Stretch every day – I haven’t gotten a routine down yet, one of the many things on the to-do list, but I am trying to stretch for 5 minutes each day when I wake up and hoping to increase in 5 minute intervals over time. I also incorporate some exercises I do at my deep stretch class into my work day (IE I try to do ten minutes of standing pigeon on each side every day- I have a standing desk which helps).
  2. Plan meals to cook more at home to save money and eat healthier – I was smart with this one and made a plan for myself that didn’t require cooking EVERY DAY. This is one example of me knowing ahead of time I could burn out and trying to be realistic about it.
  3. Start an accomplishment/gratitude journal – I don’t think this was on my original list but I have a few friends who do this and started one about three weeks ago. I don’t feel 100% better but I DO feel significantly more positive and calm. I also feel more productive and am focusing more on the things I’ve finished or done right rather than constantly beating myself up about shortcomings. I thought I’d have a difficult time with the gratitude part but I am finding myself really living up to appreciating the little things in life. The other day I was thankful for “Boil-in-bag ten minute rice.”
  4. Make art everyday – I haven’t done PERFECTLY with this one, but I’ve been pretty damn close. My Life Book 2015 assignments are really helping me stick with this. I’ll talk about that really soon.
  5. Blog regularly – HUZZAH!
  6. Spend quality time with friends and family – I actually haven’t seen my mom or the babies (my niece and nephew) in a month, which is a bummer. I have, however, seen my dad’s family more than usual and spent some quality time with friends I don’t get to see often. I am still working on a balance between me-time and friend/family time, but so far I’d say I’m doing okay.
  7. Learn to run/start running – I have yet to run, BUT, I did purchase new running shoes and have been waking up at the time I intend to run and spending that time reading Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally. I want to at least attempt to run properly to prevent injury, so I consider this progress towards the goal even if it isn’t physically running.
  8. Read every day – this hasn’t been hard because I have been reading some really good books (I just finished the Wool series and highly recommend it).
  9. Write every day – This is a habit I began in May of 2014, so it’s already become part of my routine and doesn’t take much effort to achieve. I actually stacked my accomplishments/gratitude journal with this habit to help work it into my daily routine.
  10. Start working harder to find a new job – Not that I haven’t been trying, but I took a break over the holidays because I was too overwhelmed to put as much time as I needed into my cover letters, etc. I am now more actively looking and taking steps to find companies that I feel I would be a good fit at (and vice versa), and get their attention. One example is a company I really love: Curalate. I’ve been interested in and practicing my own form of visual analytics for a long time, but didn’t know what it was called or that it was a field I could actually work in. Curalate is an awesome company that provides visual marketing to companies using different visual analytics techniques to help their clients provide the best visual content to their target audience. In their own words, Curalate “helps brands tell their story through imagery in order to drive consumer engagement, build brand awareness, and form stronger, more meaningful relationships with consumers.” In the process of applying to work there, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about the company. In the process, I discovered that two of their infographics showed almost completely opposite results (TL;DR Instagram users prefer totally different image features than Pinterest users– except light photos vs. dark photos – everyone likes light photos). I find this really interesting so I’ve started doing my own mini-research project to try to find potential reasons for this (if there are any). I plan to talk about this more in a future post, hopefully with some resources and further information. Will this definitely help me get a job? No. But could it help? Sure.
  11. Drink less alcohol – I am trying to decide if I am going to make this an exact number for the year or not. I am at 15 beers in 2015 so far, but a lot of these happened in clusters. I am toying with the idea of only allowing myself one drink per calendar week, meaning I can’t exceed 52 drinks this year. This isn’t set in stone yet and something I will decide later, but for now I am doing well not drinking as much (yikes at the fact that 15 beers in 27 days is not much…).

Habits in Progress

There are a few things on the list I have half-achieved (Look into a transcendental meditation class for example) that I don’t think count towards failure or success right now. They’re more in-progress and I’m okay with that, but again staying aware of how much is in progress at once (I need to think of things more in terms of kanban and limit my WIP!).

2015’s Failed Changes So Far

  1. The Miracle Morning – I LOVED this book. The TL;DR version is that you wake up earlier than your normal time (the author gives tips on how to do this) and perform the “S.A.V.E.R.S” within a time frame that makes sense for your schedule (he suggests a six minute Miracle Morning if you have a hard time starting). The S.A.V.E.R.S are: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (Writing). I’ll admit I had a hard time with the Affirmations (you say them aloud) and visualizations because it felt hokey, but I tried to just embrace it and do it anyway. And I did for a few days, but I didn’t stick with it. I think that TMM can be a really positive thing for many people, but as my therapist pointed out: it’s a lot of things to change all at once. Her suggestion, which I intend to take albeit in a few weeks because I am trying to slow down a little, was to do one of the S.A.V.E.R.S each morning rather than all of them in the same morning. This way it’s a more realistic goal, and I’ll know which habits have a positive effect on my day/life/etc. I had a little OCD “BUT THAT ISN’T HOW IT WORKS” internal crisis when she first made this suggestion, but knew she was right.
  2. Everything related to Skillshare – I was really trying to incorporate this into my art everyday rule, but haven’t been able to. This is half not my fault. I don’t have internet at home and the app won’t work properly to download classes for me. I’ve been in touch with tech support and am still having issues over multiple devices. I don’t always want to stay late after work to watch classes so I haven’t even been able to really utilize my membership lately and am going to be canceling it until the app is working properly.
  3. Better Time Management – I mean, this entire post is basically about my failure in the time management department. I can definitely say that my time is being spent more productively, but I haven’t been able to nail down or stick to an exact schedule yet.

What’s Next? 

So the point of this entry is to identify some of the ways I am already digging a hole for myself this year and hope that doing so will help me remember to slow down and roll out new habits slowly to try to ensure success (or at least prevent burning out). Making positive changes is good, but only if you stick with them. My goal for this week is to make a big ass list of all the current and future changes I’d like to make and then categorize them. I am going to decide which habits/goals are most important, rate them on a to be determined scale, and then make a loose schedule for when I want to roll them out. Wherever possible I am going to try to stack similar habits to make them easier to remember. I plan to share this list and process over the next year with these little progress reports to maintain accountability.

References / Resources 

  1. On Progress I’d Like to Make in 2015
  2. On Planning Meals To Eat Healthier 
  3. My Completed Life Book 2015 Pages
  4. General Life Book 2015 information (blog on this soon!)
  5. Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Ability to Run Naturally 
  6. Stacking Habits : How to Finally Stick to Your Morning Routine
  7. [Study] 6 Image Qualities Which May Drive More Likes on Instagram
  8. Beautify Your Content: 8 Image Features that Shine on Pinterest
  9. The Miracle Morning 
  10. Skillshare

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About tamarahala

Tamara is currently living in Pennsylvania working as a Scheduling Coordinator/Payroll Supervisor with Live Nation Entertainment. Looking for fun short-term opportunities during the off season from November to March.

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