Some More Thoughts on Burnout

I’ve totally hit burnout — I’d love to take a vacation but we have too many things in the air right now for it to be a good time. Maybe towards the end of August…

Life doesn’t stop cause you’ve hit burnout — in fact sometimes it moves faster, so knowing how to manage myself has become increasingly important.

This past month we closed four new investments, I’m involved in multiple capital raises, we’re trying to hire and we’re in the middle of a couple product releases. Lots to do!

Some action steps I’ve taken:

(1) I’m letting it happen. Some months I’m going to have more energy than others, I take advantage of the months when I have a ton of energy and listen to my body when I don’t. I’ve been sleeping lots, going to the gym more, leaving work a bit earlier and going on lots of walks. I still wake up very early to get the most pressing issues of the day taken care of before the late afternoon when I start to get sleepy.

(2) No one at CoVenture does his/her job in isolation. All of us overlap in job role, so when I’m producing less than everyone else my partners can pick me up — whether that’s in sourcing deals, diligencing them, managing investors/reporting, product development, administrative tasks and so on.

(3) The gym has been really important and so has getting away from a screen. By 9 pm I am typically completely done working for the night and I try to not look at any screens after that time.

(4) In the beginning of the year I tried taking less meetings and I failed. While feeling burnt out I’ve had no choice, I’ve completely had to stop taking meetings that aren’t incredibly important. The best strategy has been to schedule everything two weeks out. I also don’t schedule meetings during Fridays anymore so I can get all the outstanding tasks from the week done. I keep Monday mornings for fun meetings to help get rid of the Sunday blues (if I schedule you for Monday meeting it means I’m looking forward to it!) and I try to leave some time open each day to deal with emergencies that are bound to arise so I don’t have to wait till night time to deal with them.

I still feel really guilty right now, I’m used to working close to 15 hours per day and right now I’m at closer to 10. I don’t work all at once, I get into the office at ~7 am and do email until 9. From 9–1 pm I am in meetings and I clear my inbox by 3 pm when I head home to Brooklyn. I usually am really unproductive until 5 pm, so I use that time to go to the gym. I work again until about 8 pm — usually taking care of tasks that take dedicated effort.

Those hours between 3–5 are hard — my inbox is filling up, people are asking urgent questions but I know that I’ll either send half-ass responses or drive myself off a cliff if I try to tackle them immediately.

I came across this blog post recently that made me feel a lot better about my energy levels the past three weeks. We are certainly a part of a culture that glorifies “hard work” and “long hours.” But I think even the greats must hit burnout of some level.

I’m excited to come out of this exhaustion, I know it’ll happen soon, it always does — and I’m sorta having fun trying to figure out how to manage the work as I do. It’s given me good discipline.

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