Sustain issue #33 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)
It’s 2016. I was grinding and hustling at my job like they tell you to. I was taking on as much as I possibly could. I was trying to make a name for myself. I kept dialing up the heat on myself until I fried.
Death by a thousand life hacks
So, I did the logical thing in my mind. I started researching life hacks to break the shackles of my funk. By the end of 2016, I had a long and intricate daily routine programmed from the moment I woke up to the breathing exercises I was told to use to fall asleep. All inspired by the so-called wisdom of podcast and Instagram hucksters.
Up at 5 AM to journal, stretch, do pushups, read, meditate, and of course a cleansing lemon water.
Email newsletters on my bus commute, book during my lunch break, podcast on my way home, and audiobooks while doing chores around the house.
I even published a daily ‘formula’ as a blog post at the end of 2016 since I thought I had cracked a code. I look back at it now and shake my head.
I was trying to solve my burnout by making my life even more complex. This sent me into an even deeper second wave of burnout.
I had a solid nine months where I could barely muster sending an email or two each day.
Unprogram your wellbeing to reduce overwhelm
The amount of unproven fads and ‘This one habit will change your life’ articles out there leave us in a state where nothing we’re doing seems to be good enough. So, we feel we’re not doing enough at work and we’re not doing enough outside of it. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Try subtracting good habits that you’re arbitrarily told to do but in reality are just overwhelming you. You don’t have to meditate, for example, if it brings you more stress to do so.
On their own, good habits feel healthy and beneficial. But in aggregate, too many habits stacked up create an unsustainable and over programmed way of life. They make leisure feel like a chore chart and rest feel like work.
And when you fail to complete your overly-regimented wellness routine one day, the whole system comes crashing down. You come crashing down.
Unprogram your wellbeing. Go on a walk without a destination. Roll around on the ground. Draw without a plan. Read something for no specific reason. Make dinner without a recipe.
You can start with Three Good Pockets as a guide. It will give you guardrails to help you prioritize time for yourself without it feeling over programmed. Since you can choose from your list of activities it's like a choose your own adventure each day.
At a sustainable pace,
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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