2 min read

How to get back on track after slipping

How to recover when you feel yourself slipping into burnout
How to get back on track after slipping
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash

Last week was my least favorite week in a while. I lived and worked in a way opposite of what I talk about in this newsletter and I felt it by the end of the week. I was drained.

I didn’t focus on the most important things.

I worked more than I should have.

I hardly left the house.

I didn’t sleep well.

I didn’t put my needs first.

But I didn’t beat myself up over it. I can’t expect to perfectly enforce my boundaries around work all the time. And the silver lining for me was to have the self-awareness to realize the week was out of whack. It wasn’t an invitation to fall back into my norms of 2017 at the peak of my burnout.

You have to start with empathy for yourself when things don’t go as planned.

So where do you go from there?

Step 1: Figure out what went wrong and make a simple action plan

Step 2: Hold yourself accountable (or find somebody who can help)

That’s it. But it’s easier said than done.

The action plan I made while (finally) going for my first walk of the week last Friday afternoon was brutally simple:

  1. Block out time to be outside daily, no matter how much my to do list is overflowing.
  2. Take a few minutes every morning to get clear on the most important places to devote time so I don’t get sidetracked with the items that shout loudest.

That’s it. Just two items. Move outside and make sure my time is focused correctly.

The difference between a draining week and a week with pockets of joy doesn’t need to look vastly different. But those pockets of joy come more often when you reclaim time that gets sucked into extra unimportant work.

So, how’d I do this week? I worked a ton less while focusing on the essential pieces. I went on walks. I mowed the lawn for the first time of the season (hi, Spring is that you?). And I planted the first seeds in my new garden!

And I did it at a sustainable pace where I had enough energy to do high-quality work, write this newsletter, exercise, cook, and work in the garden. The verdict: feeling back on track.  

It’s not so much about if you slip, you will. It’s how and how quickly you course correct.

Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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