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Obligations and Burnout

Burnout. Obligations. These are both definitely things that are in the title of this article. We all definitely experience these. This applies to both school and actual personal projects. With school it’s more obvious, a lot of the classes you take aren’t things you’re super passionate about, and if you have to do a lot of work for them, it can get exhausting, leaving you without energy for other stuff. This alone can make it hard to work on personal projects. Without school in the way taking up a lot of your time, it’s definitely easier to work on personal projects. 

Academic burnout isn’t the only kind of burnout though. Even when you’re working on something you’re genuinely passionate about, you can end up hitting a wall. Writers know it as writer’s block, artists know it as artist’s block. It’s when you want to continue working on something, but you just don’t know how to continue, or don’t have the energy. In a way, a personal project is sort of an obligation to yourself.

You want this thing to happen, so you make yourself make it happen. 

If you’re the kind of person to work in short spontaneous bursts of energy, burnout can be especially challenging. You might work on something for a day, or a week, and end up getting an incredible amount done, followed immediately by burnout. All the burnout means though, is that you worked your brain too hard, and it just needs to rest for a bit. This can be more difficult though, if you feel obligated to someone else. If you’re working with a friend on a project, then it’s not just your project on the line, but theirs too. If you’re working with multiple people, on multiple projects, along with your own personal projects, and maybe even school, it can get overwhelming. 

Sometimes burnout doesn’t affect everything you do, but only specific things, meaning you can feel burned out in one project, while still being able to work on other projects. This could lead to a lot of productivity, but you also might end up burned out in general, unable to work on anything for a bit. 

Breaks are definitely important regardless, and you should definitely allow yourself time to just relax. It might feel unproductive just sitting watching YouTube, or not doing anything for a whole day, but it’s giving you time to rest, to have more energy for the next day. If you focus less on productivity, and more on creativity, then burnout is less of an issue, because even if it might take a while, it will end up much stronger since you’re not pushing yourself to exhaustion.

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