I had burnout from 2021 Q4.
I am trying to analyse the result and prevent happening again.
The background was, the company was trying to launch a new service and an app in that quarter. But the idea and the requirement of the service was relatively new to us, and we had to spend loads of time figuring out the detail. Meanwhile, we also had a new member boarding at the moment. I had to spend extra time taking care of him to get him onboard smoothly. Given up by that, I had to burn the candle on both sides.
I separate the root cause of burnout into two parts - physical and mental.
The physical part was relatively simple because I knew what happened precisely. I did not have enough time to sleep because I was working hard on launching the service and the app. So the first thing I needed to do was get more sleep. If I did not get enough sleep, my efficiency would drop the next day. With the poor efficiency, I have to work harder - or longer to meet the schedule. And this would become a vicious cycle.
I also realised I did not have enough stamina because I spent too much time sitting in front of the desk and could not do some exercise. I have to do more workouts to improve my situation, but this needs to be a long term habit, and I cannot make it in a short period.
Then it comes to the mental part. I was exhausted and lost my direction back in the day. I knew I was making something for the company, but I felt something was wrong. I thought I'd lost my North Star.
Furthermore, there are a couple of things that bothered me:
- Priority changed. It's not so rare that a product changes its focus to meet the market or clients. I embrace change as long as I have enough time to react. The problem was, we changed the whole direction, but the deadline remained the same.
- Not the right time. It's always welcome to join a new member, as long we have enough time to help them onboard. A new member joined when we just changed the priority. I had to spend extra time to make sure his onboard worked smoothly. Furthermore, since we are a small company, he was expected to start contributing from week one. I had to split my plan, explain it to him and make sure he contributed correctly.
- Slow pace. We knew we were in a rush and called another member for a hand. I knew it would be difficult for someone to help in a short period, so I expected him to spend a week or two to warm up. But what happened was that he was still warming up even when we released the service.
Sometimes, we are burned out is not because we are doing too much but because we are doing too little of thing that makes us come alive. - Jim Kwik
I'm not sure if I fully recovered from the burnout, but at least things are getting better. I force myself to go out of my comfort zone and learn something new. Recall to my North Star; I want to build up a solid team and make valuable something together.
I don't mind a slow pace as long as we are in the right direction. And I know I can't put up with another burnout.