Monday, May 6, 2013

Exhaustion v. Burnout

Someone once explained to me that "burnout" is what occurs when you lose motivation to work.  You might be too physically tired, you might be too discouraged, you might be too distracted, etc.  But basically as long as the desire to work > desire not to work, you're not burning out.

I think its cousin, exhaustion, is what happens when you basically overdraft your account at the sleep bank.  You start to notice things not really making sense.  You catch yourself saying things that might not be totally coherent, you get a bit shorter in conversations, and your edit button breaks at inopportune times.  As long as you're aware that it's happening, though, you're sort of protected from real disaster.

Something just past exhaustion would be what happens to SEAL trainees during Hell Week.  It's also what's similar to what happens during the first stages of hypothermia.  It's delirium when you're doing stuff that you don't even realize makes no sense.  When you really think you're writing a letter home, but you're really just tapping on your buddy's back, you're probably there.

When you recognize real exhaustion, you need to rejigger your priorities just enough to where you can grab that one great night's sleep that eludes you when too much else gets in the way.

And on that note, good night.  Semester ends May 21.  Two weeks is more of a marathon than a sprint, so for right right now, projects can be put on hold.  

No comments: