Self Care February 14, 2020

I'm in burnout zone. Any tips on how to recoup and manage ongoing tasks as a indie hacker?

Arrigo Lupori @Arrigo

I'm a bit of a workaholic.

I try not to push too hard by keeping a 9-5 schedule, but I still go overboard from time to time and find myself having to stop working altogether for a few days just to get better and look at things from a different perspective.

This time I went overboard because I've tried to juggle three tasks that I should stay consistent with to grow my business:

  1. Sales Prospecting & Outreach
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Social & Community Engagement

These are the three major commitments that I'm working on for Koala Rank, but I only really had experience with the second one since it's my main line of work—the other two were completely new (and highly stressful) to me.

Fortunately, I was able to get the gist of both and how they work. My head wasn't following along though, so I stopped trying to juggle things and spent the last few days away from the computer (this post is the first thing I'm typing).

Do you guys have any tips on:

  1. How to prevent burnout from happening
  2. How to recoup in case it does happen
  3. How to manage time appropriately for ongoing tasks

I don't really trust looking this up on the internet. I always get the same stuff: eat healthy, go running, get away from your city, blah blah blah

I thought you guys would know a thing or two since most of us are building entire businesses independently and I find it to be a really taxing process—both mentally and physically. Thanks in advance for the support!

  1. 2

    There are some really practical tips out there that you can follow that might be helpful. (Here comes the but.) But, ultimately I think burnout is the result of striving after something in your own power.

    Lots of people would attribute a large amount of their success to luck or some outside power (I.e. God). If you believe it’s only in your power to become successful at something, you’ll be more likely to burnout.

    Just thought I’d throw in a different perspective here since you mentioned practical tips aren’t necessarily what you’re after and I think that’s most of what you’ll likely get here. Along with empathy of course, though, which is great. Definitely feel ya.

    1. 1

      Hey Bryce, thank you. I really like how you put the emphasis on "believing" that it's exclusively in my power to become successful at something and how that puts excessive amounts of stress on me. I think that's ultimately what's happening here, although I am looking to collaborate and share things with other people. I think the key difference here is that I'm looking at Koala Rank as my main business rather than a side hobby and that's something that allows for strong commitment but also a high degree of risk. I'm happy overall with where I am and I'm extremely glad to have found this community along the way. Thank you for the continued support!

  2. 2

    I relate to you since I'm also a workaholic and I can say burnout for me was like riding a roller coaster. I would vomit after getting out of it and swear never to do it again but for some reason would get in line for the next ride (Sorry for the graphic description).

    I have been lurking here for some time now actually while recovering from my last major burn out. It took me 7/8 months last year to recover from this last episode. Now I'm beginning to feel good again.

    I can only tell you from my personal experience.. But the stuff they tell you out there is valid. It's just that sometimes we don't like the answer because it seems too obvious or because we are you know.. workaholics.

    Cultivating balance in life is important. It protects you from burnout and other mental diseases, making you live a more satisfying life. I often felt guilty when I was not working "hard" and this put me in a cycle of giving 130% and working myself to exhaustion. My productivity would go down and I would get stuck. Lose foresight and all the mess.

    So... in simple actionable points, my personal experience tells that the basic stuff is:

    1. Allot specific time for work and stick to it like super glue. No guilt and shame. We love it, but we should hate it.
    2. Do most meaningful tasks first. Keep tasks simple and small. This should make it less likely to work overtime.
    3. Live your life during off time. Exercise!!! Read. Disconnect a little. Sit your ass down by yourself and think.. some call this meditation.. in my opinion meditation without thought is just standing still. Go out, talk to other people. Engage. Connect. Make your free time count so much and become so meaningful that you won't feel guilty of not working.

    Now.. about your point 2.
    The only thing I know that actually works when recovering from a burnout is the passing of time not working. Which is actually funny.. because wasting too much time working will cause a burnout anyways.

    But trust me, I'm no expert in the subject.

    :)

    1. 1

      Wow, your experience is definitely something else. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. And yes, you're right, I probably don't like hearing some of the advice even though deep down I know it's the right thing to do. 7/8 months is a really long time, that helps me put things into perspective... I actually already had a mild experience with this at the beginning of 2019, and now I'm having another at the beginning of 2020 haha I hope it won't be a yearly occurring... I think I'm going to be fine in a few days, still not working for now. Thank you again, will definitely follow your points!

  3. 1

    I find Lex Fridman's advice on this topic valuable, and valid for anyone who works on their own things: https://youtu.be/wuJa1lnv_TQ

  4. 1

    What works for me:

    • Dancing four nights a week
    • A keto/slow carb diet, no coffee, no alcohol, strict sleep/morning routine
    • Reading books, around 24 a year

    1 and 3 help me "have something more" in my life. And 2 enables me to do everything with as little friction as possible.

  5. 1

    Find a hobby, stop working on your project for a few days/weeks.