Burnout is real

Anytime I read a Statement like “Hustle Culture” and “Working till we make it”, I cringe. For every one of those statements you read, there is someone out there experiencing burnout because they have bought into the fiction that successful people are working late hours every day and surviving on four hours of sleep. That fiction has become so pervasive in some cultures that people are literally dropping dead from work-related exhaustion. Japan actually has a word for this phenomenon: Karoshi. While the Japanese work culture may represent an extreme case, many people around the world are experiencing work-related stress.

Karoshi
You know there’s a problem when they have a word for it
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Busting a myth

If you have ever played the computer game, Diner Dash to completion, the final stage sees protagonist, Flo, a very efficient Restaurant owner gaining an extra pair of arms (temporarily thankfully) so she can fulfil more orders faster. I mention this because I have noticed a lot of people tend to have misconceptions about productive people. Efficient and effective workers are seen as either magical beings like Flo who have an extra pair of arms that lets them get a lot more done or they are seen as ascetics who achieve productivity by denying themselves everything else.

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Don’t let end of year burnout distract you

Burnout

Q4 is an interesting time of the year. Most people see the final quarter as a mop up quarter. It’s not one to make new plans but a good time to neatly round up all the work you have been doing across the first three quarters. It is also the time many people face burnout brought about by a pressure to meet deadlines before the end of the year.

Matches burning
Don’t let your light die

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Multitasking won’t help you get more tasks done

A guy sitting in a yoga pose with a smile and juggling multiple tasks

I had to learn not to laugh whenever someone lists “multitasking” as a skill on their CV. For so long, we have been fed the illusion that all top performers in their fields are able to multitask and that is why they are able to achieve so much. The belief that the human brain can do two tasks of equal importance at the same time at full efficiency is so pervasive that a job seeker can be forgiven if they include that as a (dubious) skill on their CV. No one taught us better.

For the purpose of clarity, let me put this out here: multitasking is a myth. Research from Stanford University has shown that people who claim to be very good at multitasking performed terribly on memory tests over time. They experienced higher levels of stress and made more mistakes than individuals who focused on a single task at a time. The human brain is simply not hardwired to focus on two tasks at a time.

A sign that reads "Multitasking is a myth. We are serial thinkers."
This sign says it all

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