Battling chronic fatigue and burnout: becoming energetic and successful
Why do we keep doing things that make us fat, miserable and fatigued?
Of course you want to be productive, happy, focused, healthy, and successful. You want it with all your being, that’s the only thing you practically think about.
So why the disconnect? Why can’t you connect your desires with your actions?
Remember the last time you bought a brand new computer, with its brand new computer smell and the styrofoam mess you created when you unpacked it. You admired it with its power and speed, unrivaled among its peers.
You power it up and go, I bet this can handle photoshop really well! And it does. It can even handle multiple monitors so you plug in one on each side. Video games must look amazing on this thing! lets start one up and crank the settings! And on my third monitor, I can watch some youtube videos. This is going to be amazing!
Of course it’s not amazing. Commanding your computer to do too many things at once causes it to choke up and fatigue, and suddenly it’s not doing anything properly.
You, my friend, are that computer.
Everybody wants your attention at the same time, so you’re flooded with streams of data from facebook, twitter, television, youtube, forums, email, instant messages, apps, devices, movies, shows..
Your brain sits there with its RAM bursting at the seams, working furiously to make sense of all this data and process it. And it fails, the task is too great, there is just too much information coming in. So the symptoms you experience?
- Mental fatigue and fogginess
- Physical fatigue
- Lack of focus
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of energy
- Plateau and stagnation
You think you are doing too little, but in reality you are doing too much. Flip that around and do more of the right things and your life will change.
Unitasking: One of many success habits
Doing one thing at a time with no distractions will infuse you with laser like focus, immense drive and energy, and unparalleled effectiveness. You will accomplish more than you ever hoped to accomplish while stuck in the multi-tasking addiction.
Lets see how we can power ourselves up and get rid of the extra mental junk that’s making us fail and fatigued.
Start scrubbing your mental ram.
The less stuff we have to think about and process, the more resources and control we have at our disposal. Here’s a list of things that might be gumming up your mental RAM and what to do about them:
- Chronic Tab Syndrome - this happens when you have dozens or more tabs open in your browser for long periods of time. Solution? Nuke everything and start over. Or go through every tab and close or bookmark it for later use.
- Multiple applications open at the same time - you’re, like, trying to do too many things at once. Focus on working on one application at a time unless you absolutely need to use more.
- Media running in the background - this includes things like watching TV while eating dinner or playing a video in the background. Start paying attention to your food and suddenly notice how you don't need a whole large pizza to feel satisfied!
- Constantly checking email/facebook/twitter/etc - every time you visit these sites you load up your mental RAM and lose mental energy. Start being more conscious of it, see how it effects you and start reining it in.
- Trying to take mental notes or reminders - just write it down, out of your head and on paper. This is one of the main principles of the GTD (Getting Things Done) system that's linked below.
It may sound obvious, but when you do only one thing at a time, and temporarily let go of all of your thoughts about other stuff, you are by definition totally focused. When you concentrate your energy on one thing, you might just find you actually have enough of it.
- Getting things done - everyone needs to read this book. It teaches you simple, tested methods for doing exactly what the title says. Give it a good faith try and soon you'll be accomplishing more than ever with more ease than you can imagine.
- Unitasking by Trent Walton:
I noticed something interesting the day I was confined to just 13” of screen space. Even though I couldn’t see everything I needed to operate and reference at once, I became more focused. [....] Surprisingly, my productivity didn’t suffer. I [...] experienced a calm efficiency—similar to that which is required when fastening the innumerable rows of snaps on a screaming baby’s pajamas. If you rush, you’re going to mess up; if you miss snaps, it’s going to take longer. And rushing makes you sweat. Never let the baby see you sweat.
What to do from here
Getting control back over your focus and energy is a long term process. You can improve quickly but your success will always be incremental. If you read this far then you’re doing pretty great! You didn’t allow yourself to get distracted from reading about how not to get distracted...
Now it’s your turn.
How can you apply these concepts to your life to reduce fatigue and increase energy? Share in the comments below something that clogs up your mental RAM and what you plan to do about it.
Don’t know? Ask! As a former elite procrastinator, I love to help others get out of their head and succeed.