Avoiding Burn Out

Photo by Ian Sanderson

Photo by Ian Sanderson

I am the kind of person who stays active in a variety of organizations and activities, which keeps me at a relatively high state of "busy"-ness.  But recently I've been feeling under the weather--to the point where I have to slow down or even stop to prevent myself from literally or figuratively falling over under the weight of illness--and it's reminded me of the importance of slack.

It's difficult to slow down when you have multiple high priorities competing for attention.  But focusing your attention to just one thing at a time allows you to complete something faster and with higher quality.  It's not easy to prioritize our focus to just one thing at a time, but we have to pay attention to our attention.  Slowing down is easier when the work is always prioritized because it is easier to see where to focus next and there is visibility around what is and is not going to be done.  We must make the hard decisions and acknowledge we cannot get everything done.  Slack needs to be built into our lives for sustainable pace, learning, innovation, and improvement. 

Seth Godin admonishes that there is never enough:

...the organizations that get around the universal and insurmountable problems of not enough time and not enough money are able to create innovations, find resources to be generous and prepare for a tomorrow that's better than today. It's not easy, not at all, but probably (okay, certainly) worth it.

We're going to spend our entire future living in tomorrow—investing now, when it's difficult, is the single best moment.

My body is telling me that I need to add more slack into my life, and I am trying to obey.  What is your gut telling you?

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.