7 Symptoms You’re Heading For A Burnout

Striving every day to become better is not an easy job. It’s not a joy ride, or a walk in the part. It’s hard work. And hard work wears you out. If you’re not balancing this hard work, sooner or later you’ll hit a wall. You’ll reach a state called “burnout”. I know you know the feeling: suddenly, life’s not nice anymore, everything around you is tasteless and you wonder where are you going anyway. A burnout is a real danger. And a hell of a situation to deal with.

Fortunately, this dead end is not totally out of your control. It may be predicted. Like a hurricane, it shows some early signs. And if you know how to read the signs, you can protect yourself. Here are 7 signs which, in my experience, can witness the proximity of a burnout in your life.

1. You Find Excuses Faster Than Solutions

You have to do something, but out of nowhere comes an excuse. A really good one. And you don’t have to do that thing anymore. Now isn’t that wonderful? You weren’t so into that anyway. What a relief to find a really good excuse, isn’t it?

Well, not exactly. Finding excuses faster than solutions is a sign that you’re rejecting your reality. It’s an early sign of escapism. If you weren’t be so tired, the idea of an excuse didn’t even cross your mind. You would just do that thing and move on. You’re better than you think you are.

2. Your Favorite Relaxation Is Making You Nauseous

Let’s say you really enjoy watching soccer. But you start noticing that watching soccer is not so refreshing anymore. In fact, it’s so boring, that you can almost puke on it. What’s that game about, anyway? Goals? To hell with goals, give me something better.

Not being able to recharge yourself is a pretty clear sign that your system is getting overloaded. Unfortunately, instead of cutting the main power and relax, most of the people are trying to get satisfaction by increasing the relaxation stimulus. Which overloads the system even more.

3. You Sleep More Than Usual But Worse

That’s so easy to get spotted, yet so overlooked. Your sleep is a fantastic indicator of your energy level. The smaller perturbation in your sleep pattern should be investigated immediately. Sleeping more but feeling worse is a red arrow pointing for an imminent burn out.

Unfortunately, most of the people are abusing their sleep anyway, so they can’t really spot any difference. And that’s really sad, because it takes away a fantastic indicator of your health and effort capacity. Sleeping good is as important as getting things done.

4. Your Rant Tolerance Is Lower Than Usual

You either bully start to engage in fighting, either avoid it even before you know what’s all about. Your rant tolerance is a very good indicator of your stress level. It basically shows how much challenge are your ready to accept in your daily routine.

Although I’m totally against fighting, accepting rants is almost anytime a fantastic opportunity to learn. Especially from your critics. If your rant tolerance is lower, that means you don’t take criticism too easy. Time to take a break.

5. You’d Rather Be Right Than Doing The Right Thing

All you want is to be right about something. You need that. Not necessarily doing the right thing but being right about it. That means you need more confirmation than usual and lack the energy of actually doing stuff. A burn out will most likely emerge out of this.

The need to be right about stuff is also a sign of low self-confidence. All those small victories you get from saying: “I told you so” are just unconscious pillars you try to put under your falling self-confidence. Take a break, or the pillars will eventually fall too.

6. A Normal Task Will Require Twice The Time

It’s not that you’re tired, but you’re not focused. Things you were able to finish in a single run are now done in several blocks. A thin focus is almost always a sign of an incoming burn out. Since focus is your reality, a thin one will create a vulnerable reality.

This is also difficult to assess in the first time, because you don’t always time yourself when doing stuff. All you get is a feeling of not having enough time, or something like a pressure of having too much on your plate. Take a break and the time will expand again.

7. You Run Out Of Ideas

That’s easy to spot but often mistaken for a form of natural dumbness we all have to experience from time to time. Well, I don’t think so. Having a constant flow of ideas is normal for everyone and it’s a sign of a healthy connectivity.

Ideas are in fact nothing but hints we receive from the Universe. When you’re not having ideas, you’re so disconnected that you can’t see the hints anymore. Don’t wait until you’re totally out of sync, take a break, avoid the burn out and reconnect with the idea flow again.


Have you ever witnessed some of these? Do you have something else to add to that list? I would love to hear it in the comments.

27 thoughts on “7 Symptoms You’re Heading For A Burnout”

  1. Pingback: 77 Tips To Endure | Web Help
  2. I have had an experience with point 6: completing a simple tast taking longer time than usual and it was surprising because those were things I could easily do without any hassles. Not until after taking a time off was I able to return to my normal self

  3. Excellent post, Have felt for some while all of those points lol.
    I would add in an 8th one of mind working overtime when trying to sleep. Far too many ideas come around the 12-2am slot I should jot them down in a notepad so I can forget about them till the morning. 😉
    .-= Kev Jaques´s last blog ..National Lottery Predictions – Sat 9th May 2009 =-.

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  6. I am not sure if I am heading for a burnout but I have been finding that I am needing to slow down. Business has been rather good lately. But it also means that more clients are waiting for me to assist them.

    Thanks for your post! It’s making me stop and think that I really need to have some me-time.
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Angelic Reiki Healing with Angels, Archangels and Ascended Masters =-.

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  8. Well I pretty much have most of these most of the time.
    Burned out twice – never really got it back together after the second time.
    With my age and background I seem to be pretty much unemployable now – assuming there were any jobs round here – so I’m trying to go it alone as self employed, but the energy levels just aren’t there any more.

    • Well, just because you’re there now, doesn’t mean you’ll always be there. Being burned out too and recovered. It is possible, you know 🙂

  9. You got it completely right once again, I always find excuses when I’m close to burn out, I’m not burning out he is, I tend to get a bit childish too :).
    I also get number 7 quite a lot when I’m close so it’s a good idicator, particually when you sort of just sit there going, okay, I have nothing.
    Thanks for the article.
    .-= Kaitlin M´s last blog ..This Is Why You Will Never Get Out Of The Real World =-.

    • Being childish is a generally good behavioral sign, in my opinion, but being childish just to escape some work pressure it;s surely a sign of a burnout. I think the challenge is to be childish without any trigger, just like that.

  10. Hello dragos,
    Wouldn’t you consider isolating yourself from people as a symptom of a burnout? I also think a reduced level of fulfilment, satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in ones endeavour could be symptoms of a burn out.
    .-= ayo olaniyan´s last blog ..I am a miserable failure =-.

    • Exactly,

      That’s a great point. I do tend to a be a little bit lonely when I’m close to a burn out, and when I really hit it, I can’t stand anyone near me. Thanks, your comments are always adding value here 🙂

  11. Dragos, totally weird you wrote this but over the last 4 weeks I have begun to sleep more and still waking up tired. I get by on 5-6 hours of sleep and lately I have been getting around 6-7 hours of sleep but feeling worse for it and feeling tired throughout the day. A little too much work I think. Thanks for a great post and a gentle reminder to
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..The Books on The Back Shelf of Your Mind =-.

    • Well, this is a pretty solid symptom for me. Too much work doesn’t always mean good results. Take a break 🙂 What could happen?

  12. Well, with my burn out I had all but #5 and #7 so you seem spot on.
    I found that even with ideas I could not put them into action.
    On one day I could be sitting next to the phone with a to-do list of 5 people to call and just not able to make the calls. On other days I would make my calls with no problem. Nothing different about the type calls or special about the day – some days were just slower than others.
    .-= McLaughlin´s last blog ..Using LinkedIn to Drive Traffic to Your Blog =-.

    • I remember back when I had an online business I had those lists of meetings. When I was burned out I hardly could even read them…

  13. Dragos, nice job. “You Run Out Of Ideas” That’s what happens to me when I’m burning out. That and procrastination.
    .-= Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..The Dash =-.

  14. Bulls-eye! This is right on target as to what I experienced with my husband last weekend.
    He has always been a procrastinator when it comes to anything except for work.
    We don’t have regular sleeping habits or work schedules mainly because we work at home.
    Last Friday, after we went shopping during the afternoon he was fine. He was dancing around the kitchen as we put away the groceries.After eating we went back to work. He is a perfectionist and is very gifted with his craft. He spends way to much time on certain projects. I know one thing that disturbed me was he started to drink with the intention of getting drunk. This is defiantly not part of his character. He didn’t get obnoxious or mean. Instead he went to bed falling asleep fast. Alcoholic a depressant, made him not want to get out of bed the next day. Then I am sure his hangover didn’t help. Sunday his irritability started stayed in bed and wouldn’t eat. He lavished in his own pity party remaining in bed until Tuesday evening.
    I couldn’t say or do anything right. I let him sleep wondering if the next step would be hiring a priest for an exorcism.
    Tuesday evening, he got up and was almost back to himself. He didn’t want work instead programed his Blackberry for hours. Wednesday, I had my husband back. His mood was normal and he went full throttle into work because he was behind. He worked a 16 hour day with fantastic results.
    Still I feel the cycle begins again.
    His work habits suck and I have told him so, he has to schedule his time for each project.
    It is certain, being sleep deprived will take its tole on your physical and emotional health as you have clearly pointed out.
    I would have to say one danger sign is the feeling of the need to medicate your self with alcohol. Drinking just makes people in this state more depressed.
    Thank you for this post. It comes at a much needed time for Thumper and me and I am sure for many others.
    Do you feel burnouts are more common to people who work at home.
    .-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..Lost In A Sea Of Identities =-.

    • Well, burn outs are nasty. I’ve been there too, and not only once. Alcohol and drugs are only one manifestation, usually the most visible. Burn outs can last for very long time and make a lot of damage.

      Nope, as a matter of fact, burn outs are more common to people working outside, not at home. At least this is what I think.

      Glad things are better now for T. 🙂

      • Yeah, Thank you. It is tough to see the signs and him not being receptive to suggestions. We don’t anything stronger then aspirin or Advil in the house. Sleep and getting away from work really helped this past weekend.
        .-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Human Needs =-.

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