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About Everything Wiki » Productivity » Hyperfocus can lead to burnout. Here's how to understand that you are in danger

Hyperfocus can lead to burnout. Here's how to understand that you are in danger

18 Jan 2024, 12:01, parser
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We spend a huge part of our time at work, so various experts insist: do what you sincerely like. But even loving our profession, we can lose interest and just sit out the hours in the chair. Elena Rezanova, an expert in the field of career strategies, in her book "Work that charges" reflects on what prevents us from enjoying the business of life and how to avoid these traps.

The book was published by the publishing house "MYTH". Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from the eighth chapter on hyperfocus.

There is another way to block the internal source of energy and pleasure in work. And he's always the last one to come to mind, he's so unexpected.

I'm talking about the mode of endless employment, maximum concentration and high tension.

This is the kind of regime we associate with productivity. And in general, we are proud of him. And we try to discipline ourselves as much as possible so that we don't waste a single precious minute of our working time.

But scientists say the paradoxical thing: constant stay in the mode of strong concentration reduces our cognitive abilities and leads to excessive stress.

It turns out that working hard, you can get stupid?

Alas, yes.

Who would have thought, right?

We overheat, our resources are depleted, productivity gradually begins to fall, and there is a mode of diminishing returns, which I wrote about in "This is normal!".

The mode of diminishing returns is when we make more and more efforts to remain effective, but this does not improve the quality of the result.

The energy in the work is falling more and more, the pleasure is fading away.

That's how the source is blocked.

[...] Efficiency and pleasure in such a cycle look like this:

That's the news! Our discipline and dedication can turn against us!

And now the test — are you subject to hyperfocus?

How big is the risk for you to get into a cycle of diminishing returns and block your source of flow? Just answer yes or no.

  • When you don't have the strength and your head is already not thinking clearly, you don't think about a break and recovery, but about how to force yourself to push even harder (and then a little more).
  • You think that the task is always more important than you, than your vacation, which you can afford only if the work is done (and in general, rest is for weaklings).
  • In the evening and on weekends, you are always in immediate response mode to incoming work messages (and they tinkle), and in the morning the first thing you do is look through them and respond promptly.
  • The main energy replenishment tools that you use are sweets, coffee, energy drinks — something that you can swallow without leaving your workplace.
  • Books about productivity that fall into the orbit of your attention are full of such keywords: "force yourself", "strict discipline", "fight yourself", "defeat laziness", "achieve", "overtake", "break through" and so on.

As you can see, all the "yes" points indicate destructive approaches for you.

The fact that step by step you are being undermined, eats up energy and resource and blocks your source of flow.

The mode of diminishing returns is a high—speed highway to burnout.

It may be unpleasant to realize this, but it is certainly useful. Burnout is better to prevent than to get out of it without strength.

What should you do if you are in hyperfocus all the time?

The good news is that it's best to do nothing. Don't be scared, I'll explain. Scientists advise to disconnect from tasks for at least a few minutes during the day at the first signs of fatigue. This is the most difficult thing — to allow yourself to pause in the middle of work time.

If you do not learn how to do this, sooner or later your source will not just be blocked, but completely concreted. And once again you will start to wonder: "And where is the job that energizes me?"

"Work that charges" is included in the "Change your Life" series. This practical book will help you better understand yourself and "customize" work tasks to suit your own characteristics. Inside you will find tests, exercises and scientific research. And also — cute illustrations from the author.

Buy a book

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