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July 15, 2010

New Rules //

I don’t think there’s any denying that technology and the internet, two interrelated things that should be helping streamline parts of our busy lives often result in the opposite.

Over the years many, many articles and studies illustrating this have been written and smart people have come up with approaches to at least attempt to counter the constant barrage of information, requests for our time and attention. These things each conflicting with our basic need to be in the moment or to be able to just get on with it.

I’ve been struggling with these things over the last few years myself as many people know. They directly relate to my experiences with burnout. Recently I started to notice that my particular burnout buttons felt like they were being pushed again — little by little.

This time though I’m ready.

I like to think I generally learn from my mistakes. As a result I’m taking a proactive approach and closely monitoring those particular triggers. This means changing routines and taking an objective look at how my days have been and are generally structured.

In doing just that, what I quickly discovered was that I’d become lazy about certain triggers. In other words, someone left the water hose on and the dripping was turning into more of a trickle.

To counter this I’ve started setting new rules for myself and going back and revisiting ones I let slip. Simple as that. For example:

  • Very deliberately breaking my day into managable segments
  • Turning off all social media distractions throughout the day
  • Setting specific times when I will check and respond to email
  • Taking deliberate breaks to clear my head
  • Setting limits and reinforcing how long I’ll allow myself to work on something
  • Maintaining a clear work-home boundary (with obvious exceptions when required)
  • Prioritizing tasks more effectively

These rules and others that I’ve been attempting to set up around myself are simply to ensure the time I need to be creative is carefully guarded. If that time isn’t protected and nurtured, it’s easily trampled on by others, whether intentionally or not.

If you feel like you’re days are too often spent in a reactionary tailspin, you might want to take a hard look and do some of the same.

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