Dealing With Burn-Out

Most people who start in on a long-term, time consuming project eventually have to deal with burnout.

I mentioned last week that I was worried that I might be going through a bit of burnout currently, and I was right.  It hasn’t completely capsized my study time or anything, I’m still finding the time and energy to work here and there on Spanish-related things, I’ve had a couple of good days surrounded by the bad, and I haven’t broken my current 173-day streak on Duolingo, but there has definitely been a drop off in productivity.  This week was a particularly busy one outside of this project, but even then, the hours that I could have been using for study hasn’t been affected all that much.  However, my ability to capitalize on that useable time has definitely been damaged.  I’ve been tired and drained, and have let the Spanish books and shows fall to the wayside in favor of things that take less brain power to process.

I’m no real stranger to burnout, I’ve gone through it with plenty of other creative or work-related projects.  The advice here is the same that I’ve followed those times before: muscle through the fatigue and maintain a daily regimen, even if it’s diminished, and focus more on pacing myself for the time-being.  If I give in to the burn, it could disrupt and derail the project for weeks or longer, whereas if I muscle through it I won’t ever stop completely.  Things will just continue on at a more sedate pace.  And when I’m more refreshed, I’ll take on more of a load as a natural course of wanting to.  It is more or less a natural part of the cycle of long-form projects.

This specific bout of burnout feels strangely unreal.  There is a level of guilt wrapped up in it that’s a little unusual.  A part of me feels that it’s ridiculous and unreasonable to burn out on what amounts to my play-time.  Learning a new language is something that a lot of people need to do, but this project is ultimately a leisure activity for me; I have no personal-life nor business reasons to be learning Spanish, and the way I’m going about learning it involves reading books and watching television shows that I like.  Obviously it has much more to do with the amount of time I’ve been spending on it opposed to what I’m actually doing, but it’s hard to not feel at least a little ungrateful and self-entitled.  Oh, are you tired from how much you’ve been reading Harry Potter and watching Bojack Horseman?  Poor baby.  Let me find my tiny violin.

I remind myself that it’s the time commitment that does the most damage, and regardless of how fun or compelling the books and shows are, it takes more focus and energy from my brain to experience these things in Spanish.  I shouldn’t feel silly or entitled to be going through this right now, and so long as I plug along as best I can, this will pass.  Hopefully it will pass sooner rather than later.  It may have passed already, as I had a good day on Sunday and then Monday was kept slim by a football game.

Well, let’s look at some burnout numbers.

Tuesday 9/25

  • Anki: 140 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 90 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 2 chapters of Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 3 episodes of Bojack Horseman, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 9/26

  • Anki: 150 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 80 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1 chapter of Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 3 episodes of Bojack Horseman, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 9/27

  • Anki: 140 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 150 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Bojack Horseman, ~20 minutes

Friday 9/28

  • Anki: 130 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 150 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1 chapters of Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, ~50 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Bojack Horseman, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 9/29

  • Anki: 120 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 80 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 2 chapters of Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, ~80 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 9/30

  • Anki: 130 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 120 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 4 chapters of Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, ~130 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 10/01

  • Anki: 150 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 80 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1 chapter of Harry Potter y el Misterio del Príncipe, ~50 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Anki: 960 cards reviewed, 70 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 750 XP, 210 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 8 tv episodes watched, 160 minutes
  • Total reading: 10 chapters read, 460 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 hours 0 minutes

Not terrible by any means.  In fact, this week wouldn’t look out of place as a “good” week back towards the start of this blog.  I had a few fall-down days, but mostly I had some less-than-ideal ones, plus a couple of normal ones.  You’ll notice that while watching/listening took the biggest hit in time spent on it, when I have been watching, it’s only been Bojack Horseman.  I’ve been greatly enjoying the show and it’s definitely highest on the list right now of wants when it comes to watching/listening.

I finished La Orden del Fénix on Sunday, thanks to a final push.  I mentioned last week that I’d be taking a Potter break afterwards.  Well, I lied.  Going through the ending of Fénix, I just wanted to keep going with the series.  Fortunately, El Misterio del Príncipe showed up in the mail on Monday, so I could.

Since this week also finished up the month of September, let’s look at the month’s numbers as a whole.

  • Total Anki: 4,010 cards reviewed, 300 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 2,353 XP, 900 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 47 tv episodes, 7 podcasts, and 2 movies watched, 1,250 minutes
  • Total reading: 62 chapters read, 2,770 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 690 minutes
  • Total Time: 87 hours 0 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix, Fiction, Used Copy, eBay, $9.42
  • Harry Potter y el Misterio del Príncipe, Fiction, Used Copy, Thrift Books, $6.14
  • Netflix Subscription Standard HD Plan, Television and Movie Streaming, $10.99 per month, $10.99
  • Amount Spent on Fiction Books: $15.56
  • Amount Spent on Services: $10.99
  • Total Spent: $26.55

So, overall, very close to last month’s totals, and since September is a day shorter than August, they’re even closer than they fist appear.  It seems that despite how close they are in general, reading is about 500 minutes higher and watching/listening about 500 lower.  I’m not surprised to see that, and I mostly chalk it up to how long and involved the books I’ve been reading are.

Like with the weekly numbers blogs, I’m not counting time spent reading out loud separately from time spent reading, but I am tracking it now as its own thing.  It’s interesting to think that I’ve had about twelve hours of speaking experience at this point, even if it is simply reading along with my stupid mouth as I go.  I have noticed a significant improvement with my speed and dexterity when speaking Spanish, but I think I’m going to press on with this sort of practice a little bit longer before I try to take on real, honest to goodness speaking practice with another person.

Though as I look forward, I think that I’ll need to make good on that try before the month is out.  I’m running the risk of getting a bit over-secure in my rut of “preparing” to speak to somebody at some point.  It’s an easy trap to fall into, preparing to do something once you’re ready and just never ever getting to that point.  It’ll be better if I can get a fire lit with a definite date in mind.  I’ll think about it some more this week, and maybe make a solid plan for the last week of the month or something.

Well, that’ll do for this one.  We’ll see how October treats me.  Hopefully it won’t be too spoooOOOooky.  TTFN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s