When you catch yourself feeling unmotivated and burnt out, it is likely to be because of the following reasons:
- Decisions: I used to think Mark Zuckerberg’s practice of wearing the same t-shirt every day in order to minimize the number of decisions he'll make per day was really crazy, until the day I decided to screen everything that went into my stomach. Staying alone and having to prepare my own food myself, I found myself wondering for hours what I was going to eat. I started having fantasies of never having to bother what I would eat.
- Pleasing people: You can't please everybody all the time. It is simply not possible and you'll wear yourself out trying to do so. Accept this and you've lifted a huge burden from off your chest.
- Pursuits: It's a paradox of life: the things you chase will elude you. But remain grateful and satisfied where you are and with what you have, and those very things will throw themselves at you.
- Temperament: Some people are introverts and require tremendous amounts of energy for even a small conversion, talk less of parties and crowded places. These places drain them a lot.
- Poor information diet: Some people absorb more information than their brains can properly digest. They are everywhere. Quora. Medium. Reddit. You name it. Worst is the way they absorb it - in a haste; not even paying attention to the credibility of the author; always in a haste to move on to the next answer or blog post. The truth is, there's a lot of garbage out there, and reading at such a frantic pace doesn't give you the time to reflect on the answer and probably fishing out a flaw in the author's ideas. What is important is not how much you read. It's how deep you read.
- A job you hate: When you are doing something you love, there is often a surge of energy even at your most physically down moments that you often wonder where it comes from. The reverse is the case when you are working at a job you hate. You feel your energy drained right from when the rays of the morning sun announce Monday morning.
- Lack of proper rest/sleep: When you don't get enough sleep, you are not your strongest; you go through your entire day with half your energy. There's no way your productivity isn't affected by this - unless you work overtime to make it up, which leaves you with less time to sleep, and the cycle continues. I call that slavery.
- Lurking anxieties: Don't always take your ugly feelings for granted. Don't blame them on your busy, exhausting day. Here's how I bust the sources of my anxieties: I ask myself a few questions: why am I feeling this way? At what point during my day, week or month did I start feeling this way? What were the events, people surrounding me at the time I started feeling this way? At this point I already know the source of my anxiety and therefore can easily address it. Like they say, To kill a beast you have to say its name. You have to know what it is you're up against.
- Deadlines: Deadlines can be thrilling sometimes. They provide a working condition - a mix of pressure and passion - that usually rouse our genius. But there's the other side of deadlines. Ever felt hopelessly stuck on a time-limited project with high stakes? Time flies but the project doesn't seem to be going anywhere. No progress at all. That's the kind I'm talking about.
- Negativity: Hanging around people who see only the bad side of every situation; always computing the worst possible outcome in any event. If you are not keen you will not notice this. You will only feel increasingly discouraged and disempowered.
Our feelings usually hold the answers we seek. The solution lies in self-awareness (see point 8). You have to pause every once in a while and ask yourself how you're doing and adjust accordingly.
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