Burnout happens as a result of an overworked mind. Like a body or even a machine, keeping your mind running all the time eventually leads to exhaustion. You tend to reach this point of exhaustion even quicker you’re working at a high intensity. Is it possible to get things done while still giving yourself time to recharge? To reduce stress and increase the sustainability of your performance, it’s helpful to remember the creativity cycle.
What Is The Creativity Cycle?
When working out to build muscle, it’s important to train with rest and recovery phases. When your computer or phone isn’t working right, the first thing to do it try rebooting it, right? Well, the same goes for your mind. The creativity cycle depicts the duality of the action and recovery phases of work. Action typically occurs in the office, while recovery takes place during your leisure time.
The “Action” Phase
The “action” phase is a time of energetic production in the office. This is when all the creative ideas that have been written, sketched, noted, and daydreamed are being put into action. Depending on your industry, this might involve writing up a proposal, creating a mockup on PhotoShop, planning thoughtful items for a meeting, or the collaboration in the meeting itself. During this time, things get done. There is obvious and measurable output where you have the chance to bring your full self into the situation with focus. This comes with a caveat. Staying locked in the “action” phase means heading towards burnout.
The “Recovery” Phase
The “recovery” phase is for, you guessed it - rest. Rest is often understated in a society that rewards high-quantity work. However, giving yourself a break from work is essential to burnout-free, long-lasting productivity. What needs to be done during the “action” phase of the creativity cycle is quite straightforward. In the “recovery” phase it can be a bit harder to pinpoint what to do. Focus on unwinding in your downtime with activities like:
Taking a hot bath
Going for a walk
Watching your favorite show
Spending time with friends and family.
During this recovery period, your working mind gets stronger. When you get back into the “action” phase, you are re-energized and ready to think critically while creating.
Action and recovery are a constant give and take. Too much recovery and nothing will get done, too much action and the stress will lead to burnout. Sustainability comes from a balance between the two phases where you feel healthy and happy to work. That’s why it’s so important to give your mind a break from work when you step out of the office. Give yourself time to focus on recharging with activities you enjoy.