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Perfectionism + 4 Other Hidden Habits Causing Your Burnout

By Monday, May 10, 2021

When we hear “burnout,” the first culprit that comes to mind is our work. While that may be true to some degree, believe it or not, it’s not always — or rather, only — our work that imposes on our stress levels. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s our day-to-day habits that, while necessary in our eyes, cause us to feel burnt out and worn out.

If this sounds like you, I highly recommend doing a personal audit into how you use your time, daily. Whether it’s at work or at home, you may be surprised to find out that it’s not only work that’s working your nerves and draining your energy. But also some of your time consuming routines and habits that, while great, may be counterintuitive in time consumption.

1. Procrastination

This almost seems like an oxymoron, right? Procrastination means avoiding the very thing you’re supposed to be doing. So how exactly does this contribute to burnout if you’re failing to do the thing you’re supposed to do?

Well, think about it. Procrastination leads to burnout for two reasons.

  • A) Procrastination may be avoidance of completing your task and/or fulfilling your responsibilities in a timely fashion, but it’s not complete disregard of said task. Basically, you plan to get the work done, you’re just stalling on getting it done. What does this lead to? Well, rushing, of course. Crash-course completion of your work, burning the midnight oil to meet deadlines and/or cramming all of your studies (if this applies). At the end of the day, all of these things result in more burnout than actually allocating a little bit of time each day, to complete your work.
  • B) Procrastination also leads to mental burnout. Once you’ve depleted yourself physically to meet your goals last minute, there is also somewhat of a mental strain that imposes on you for the following days and/or weeks to come. Because you put out so much energy into completing something that you had a month to do, in a day or two, you feel drained and mentally strained. This leads you to continue the pattern of procrastination for your other work and tasks, and the cycle continues.

2. At-Home “Resets”

Listen, I love a good home reset. I love to be clean and organized. 

However, what if your resets are no longer serving you in terms of time and turndown? One example — I used to have a desire to fully reset my apartment every night, morning or whenever I planned to step out, to perfection. This means, putting everything back in place, washing all dishes, wiping down my kitchen counter and bathroom sinks, etc. Basically, my place was always “surprise visitor” ready and it felt good to always come home to a home that looked like the cover of Home & Gardens magazine.

However, I ultimately found this tedious and extremely time-consuming, in the long run.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Along Came Polly, you may remember the scene where Polly (played by Jennifer Aniston) convinced uptight Reuben (played by Ben Stiller) to slash up all his throw / decorative pillows, since they served no purpose outside of being decorative and he spent minutes each day constantly “resetting” and fixing his bed. Well, I’m Reuben, and I was definitely a throw pillow type of girl. Now I only focus on a few resets a night and leave it at that!

3. A.M. and P.M RItuals

Rituals are the only “constant” in an ever-changing world of unpredictable factors. While my workdays can be unpredictably stressful and my actual life full of surprises, I can always lean into my daily and nightly rituals to not only “serve” me, but to always be the same. I find the predictability in them to be somewhat cathartic. However, after a while, I felt like I leaned into them too much, as a form of dependency. Allow me to explain.

Similar to reaching a plateau when you workout, you can reach a plateau in your habits. Let’s say you have daily rituals that are just taking up too much of your time and for little-to-no reason outside of the fact that you feel a need to do them. While that’s fine, you should be in charge of your daily rituals, not allow them to be in charge of you. For me personally, I realized that I had this false sense of thinking I needed to complete every single one, no matter how busy or tired I was. Which shouldn’t always be the case.

Not saying don’t brush your teeth or comb your hair, but reevaluate just how long that skincare and makeup routine takes you daily. Try evaluating and auditing your time spent on your daily rituals, and create a 10-minute routine for both times to use on busier days, instead.

4. Cooking

The amount of time that goes into cooking daily, is a lot. We often underestimate this, or focus on the “Estimated Cook Time,” When we don’t underestimate this, we tend to just throw money at takeout and/or delivery. Either way, you’re losing out on either money or time. For those cooking daily, or prepping their foods daily (or more often than none), trust me, it’s time-consuming.

First comes cooking, then comes cleaning. We know you’re tired of hearing the perks of batch prepping your meals, but eating intuitively leads to good health and productivity. If you’re not one to cook often, get an affordable meal subscription plan or master a low-to-medium maintenance meal prepping routine and recipes. 

5. Perfectionism 

I totally understand the desire to do things in order, even when “order” doesn’t even matter. It’s just a habit I’ve gotten into both in my work and my life and goals, overall.

I once had an orderly list to which I wanted to achieve my scholastic goals, career goals and life goals. And I used to want to cross things off my checklists, in “idea” age and/or time order. But now, I’ve learned that trying to stick to “the order” of your list versus actually just focusing on checking things off, is an unnecessary burden.  Place your energy in checking things off your personal or professional goals list instead of trying to complete things in a certain order. Unless it’s a tight deadline, focus on the overall tasks! Everything else is tentative.

Image via Unsplash

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