Battling Mental Fatigue

Here’s a little secret that I’m going to share with you… Last night while I was writing my daily email, I pretty much hit the wall of mental exhaustion.  I’m not exaggerating, I got to the end of the email down the bottom where I give you the link to join the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter if you’re interested and I was mentally having to will myself to write the URL and create the link.

I was spent.  By the last couple paragraphs of that email, I was struggling, but when I got to the last line, I was done.  We’re not talking about falling asleep at the keyboard – that’s being tired or physically exhausted, no, I was wide awake but my brain had just shut down and I was struggling to get my fingers to cooperate and write.

I had a pretty long week at work and a few late nights as well, so things were catching up to me for sure, but during the day I’d had a one hour client presentation for a project that hasn’t gone particularly well turn into a two and a half hour presentation to the client that was actually quite engaging.  When I walked out of that client meeting I wandered back to the office and stared blankly around until I had to come home – that I even wrote the email at all last night surprises me in retrospect.

As I was writing the email I could feel the burnout happening mentally.  Normally when I write, it’s like a never-ending stream of thought that all seems to work sequentially and tells a story.  I’m pretty lucky like that, I can sit down and write one of these emails in half an hour off the top of my head.

But last night, it was a full-on struggle.  I would get mid-sentence, stop and forget what I was writing about and losing my train of thought altogether.  I re-wrote the last paragraph a couple different times before publishing because I couldn’t quite figure out what I was trying to say.

Just after hitting send I went on Facebook and in an FB Group wrote that I needed a day to rest and recover to let my brain sort itself out.

And I had every intention of doing that, but unfortunately, my brain didn’t want to cooperate with that plan.  I woke up pretty early, had some breakfast with my family and then immediately came up here and started writing.  I ended up writing for about six hours in total and put down about 5,000 words during the day.

On the surface of it, you’d probably be sitting there thinking, “That doesn’t sound much like switching off” and for the most part you’d probably be right.  Except I really enjoy finding the uninterrupted time to sit down and just write with no distractions outside my own brain.

The secret though is to know when you’ve hit that point where you need to push away from the business and take a break.  While my writing was “business-related” it was more creative and fun stuff, it was something that was more akin to play than work.  You need to find what helps you switch off because being burnt out for a long period of time is really dangerous for you and your business.

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