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Advice for Burnout: Unplug Yourself

Sometimes the saying “everything in moderation” finds applicability, and I think it applies here.

While I aspire to be an author one day, my life is immersed in Information Technology. IT guys, like myself, have been stereotyped as non-sleeping machines, like the very computers, servers, and various devices we operate. And for good reason. We never seem to get off them. IT resides in an ever-changing, fast-paced world.

Writers, like us computer geeks, have to make time for their craft to remain sharp, vigilant, and trendy. This means more time reading, writing, and researching. The bygone days of the 8-hour workday, I feel, have long passed us by when we entered the Technology Age. While companies are required to adhere to laws surrounding employment, they know which buttons to push to force their employees to be more effective – even if that means doing something on their own time and dime – or they may find themselves out of a job.

I easily spend 80 hours a week on the Internet. This involves the use of a variety of devices: smartphone, laptop, workstation, tablet, smart TV. Not only do I have to be dedicated to my livelihood in IT, I have to find time to write and research and improve my craft as a wannabe author. It’s like going to college all over again: study, work, study, Ramen Noodles or Hot Pockets, and a few hours of sleep. It becomes more difficult as you grow older. I’m 50 now, and I need more than 3-4 hours of sleep every night. If not for the love of writing, dedicating myself to a dream! I will succeed or crash and burn on my terms.

One last bit of advice to share is this: when you encounter days when you lose retention over the simplest of tasks, like reading a sentence or a paragraph, then unplug man! Shut everything down: computers, smart phones, televisions, everything. Close all your books. Place those number 2 pencils on your desk, stand up, and walk away. And keep walking. Go to bed. Take a nap. Or go for a walk or bike ride or hit the golf course. Take a 2-hour vacation or go on a short adventure. Do something pandemic-friendly. Have a glass of wine or three with some good cheese. Go bowling. Hug your kids, spouse, loved ones. Unplug from the world, get off the grid, and go relax. Find something else to do that frees your mind from the daily grind even if that means taking a day or two off. Take as much time as you need to reboot your mental CPU.

When you are fit to return, you’ll have fresh eyes, sharpened perspective, and improved energy. You’ll be able to attack mundane tasks with renewed fervor. You’ll find yourself diving into your work, and the hours will slip away unnoticed once more.