The Loop – Beginning to Burnout

I have often wondered what level of introspection and self-analysis is healthy. I certainly spend a fair amount of time on it. Overdoing it can certainly lead to either analysis paralysis and burnout, with a tendency toward the latter in my case.

When I look far enough back, the way I normally see this working is that I would find something new or interesting to do. Two things generally needed to happen up front. I had to learn enough to make some educated choices about what equipment/material/tools/software/etc and then actually acquire them.

The first step created a tendency toward hyperfocusing on a subject. Watching and reading all the things. Since it tended to be an all consuming task, it usually only took two or three days for me determine where I thought I should start. There have certainly been times where I never got past this step. I could easily get lost in details like finding the perfect name. If I get stuck, then after spending a few days thinking about it non-stop I find my motivation and energy spent. This is the origin of my “it’s better to just pick something and get started now” method.

Many projects tended to fail in the second step. Having identified the requisite “stuff,” I would realize I couldn’t afford all that and begin seeking alternatives. This typically leads back to the previous step, but sometimes makes it as far as deciding I have the ability to use a DIY or makeshift tool. At times it has created a self-sufficiency loop where I find and attempt to pick up a different new interest in order to make the thing I need for the previous one. While this does occasionally lead somewhere interesting and productive, it also tends to leave me feel like I’m not really going anywhere.

Fortunately blogging cleared both of these hurdles fairly easily. A few days checking out platforms and picking a name, little to no financial barrier, and we were off.

The list of things I’ve dabbled in is immense. It’s also worth mentioning that while gaming as a whole is a longer-lived activity, specific games tended to fall into this same loop. It’s been consistent enough that I eventually game to refer to it as the “two week loop.” For any given interest the entire loop from beginning to burnout typically took about two weeks. I actually use it as something of a benchmark for newish things in my life. Does it make it past the two week mark? I’ve tried forcing myself to wait a couple of week before in order to find out, but that typically just leaves me frustrated. I often try to find small ways to get some progress without unloading a ton of money.

With blogging I specifically took the other route. Try to get started and see if I could make it past the two week mark. Part of the reason why I started in the first place was to try and prove to myself that I could. If I could prove to myself that it was at least possible, then that meant I could break out of that cycle at least some of time. Some of the time was enough.

The interesting side effect of proving that I could is that it’s become less of an issue overall. I’ve acquired far fewer “new interests” over the last several years. Yeah, it’s still visible in my gaming habits, but I’m generally okay with that, and it isn’t always the case. The alternative would be forcing myself to play a game I’m not interested in. While that can be useful in other contexts, it seems somewhat silly with regard to entertainment.

Among the fewer interests I have taken, they also tend to be longer lived. I can only assume this is partially due to the recognition and acknowledgement of it. Once I realize what I was doing and knew it was possible to work around it I began to actively watch myself and try not to fall into the same old traps. Slowly moving the bar forward in little baby steps. Will it ever go away? No, that’s not really how life works. Things come and go, people change, interests fade.

Okay, that’s enough of all that. Sixth post in a row. Eight more until the two week mark.

Y’all take care.

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