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Dandy Cast 046: How are you going to add logs to your fire?

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on October 13, 2020.

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Show notes

Burnout is a real thing and we should all be doing a heck of a lot more to help combat its detrimental effects. It’s not something you should wait on, either. Keep an eye on yourself. Treat yourself well. Take some time off and just go out into nature, why don’t ya?

Think of your time to yourself as investing in your own future. How would you rather spend your working life? Do you want it to be a soul-crushing slog or do you want to feel engaged with what you do? It doesn’t take a lot to fill yourself up with enthusiasm. All it requires is awareness of yourself and a commitment to your own health.

There’s also a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, Quick Tip: How To Make Sure You're Constantly Backing Up Your Computer.

Regularly backing up your computer should be considered Computer Usage 101. If you’re not backing up your work at all times, then you’re setting yourself for a rough time. Don’t live your life on this particular edge, friend! Backing up your computer isn’t a tough thing to do. Learn how to get it going today and start protecting your digital life.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

Job burnout: How to spot it and take action - Mayo Clinic

Dandy Cast 006: Let’s improve your entire freaking year - Dandy Cat Design

Quick Tip: How To Make Sure You're Constantly Backing Up Your Computer - Dandy Cat Design

Solid-state drives - Wikipedia

Soviet Satellite Hair | Road Work - 5by5

The Chef Show - Netflix

Diamond Dogs | David Bowie - YouTube

A Visit from the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan - Goodreads

The full text

The Dandy Newsletter—10/13/20

Last Tuesday was my fiancée’s birthday and I had a nice time celebrating it with her. It’s my feeling that birthdays should be spent doing exactly and only what the newly older person wants to do. It’s their day, so they get to decide what happens. Do they want a birthday party with loads of their friends? They’re getting a birthday party! They want to spend the day riding all the best rides at Disneyland? Put on those mouse ears and get to the park! They want to enjoy a quiet time at home watching fun movies? Pop some popcorn!

I feel lucky and grateful that my fiancée and I share many of the same proclivities. We’re not the types to plan some crazy bash for our birthdays. Even if there weren’t a pandemic on, we’d bristle at the thought. No, instead we enjoyed a nice, work-free day at home. I made sure that my Tuesday tasks were done ahead of time so I wouldn’t be distracted by anything. It was exactly the sort of day off I like to have, but this time I got to spend it celebrating someone I love.

I know it was her birthday and all, but I’ll still say, what more could I wish for?

The morning after her birthday, I noticed I had a curious feeling. No, it wasn’t the COVID plague. After spending an entire day doing nothing much at all, I woke up feeling refreshed. I had a nice night’s sleep and my head was clear. I felt excited to get to my desk and spend the new day doing some work of which I could be proud.

I reminded myself that taking some time off from work and spending it on doing other things can be healthy and invigorating. Committing many hours every day to ticking off work tasks until you think your butt is going to fall off from sitting too much is a great way to wear yourself out. You begin to not look forward to work, you start viewing your to-do list as a challenge, and you find yourself daydreaming about doing anything else. At that point, your life needs some intervention.

Mine certainly did. Let me tell you, the time off I took was exactly what the doctor ordered, as they say.

I know... Vacations. What a novel concept, right?

Look, committing so much time to your job without any substantial breaks is a great way to burn yourself out, even if you’re doing something you enjoy. This isn’t a path you want to find yourself traveling. Burning out isn’t just going to make you feel less enthusiastic about clocking in each day, it can have detrimental effects on your physical and emotional health, such as:

  • lowered immunity, leading to a greater susceptibility to illness
  • feeling drained and tired throughout the day
  • excessive stress that may be taken out on others
  • a lack of motivation to do anything in your life
  • losing confidence in yourself and your abilities
  • an increasingly negative outlook on life

That’s what it boils down to: you’re going to feel terrible about everything and you’ll be unpleasant to be around.

Taking time off for yourself is a good way to help avoid burnout (although, if you find even that’s not working, then you may want to talk to a professional or try finding a new occupation). Think of yourself like a campfire. The longer you work without adding fuel the lower your flame is going to reach. Without new wood to burn, you’re eventually going to run yourself down to smoldering embers. Taking some time for yourself is the same as tossing a couple hefty logs into your blaze. Adding more fuel to your fire is going to keep you glowing bright.

I hadn’t felt myself exhibiting any of the serious warning signs listed above, but I sure as heck enjoyed the vacation day I took. Even more telling was the renewed enthusiasm I found the day after. I looked forward to a new day.

In my Year of Growth, I’ve come to understand that I need to take care of myself better than I’ve done in the past. Yes, I want Dandy Cat Design to be successful, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of my health. To that end, I’m considering taking more time off for myself next year. I’ve got my customary winter break coming up, so I’m not planning on taking extended time away until December. However, much like I did when I was in school, I’m going to work in and enjoy some vacation time in future summers.

Barring any poorly timed business success, taking a week or two off next June or July is going to be the way I add a couple extra logs to my fire.

I’m planning on doing this for myself, but I want to encourage you to take some time away from the stressors in your life. We’ve all had a hell of a 2020, so we deserve some time away from our work (as long as it’s not putting anyone else’s health in danger; wear a mask and all that). I don’t want you to ever get to the point where you’re feeling burnt out. If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re starting to wonder if you are, there’s a fair chance that it’s already happened.

Look at your long-term schedule and see if you can work a vacation in there somewhere. If there’s some wiggle room, then make it happen. Not only will you give yourself something to look forward to, you’ll end up feeling refreshed when you get back to work afterwards.

Taking time off when you can spare it, or for a special occasion, is not only a fun thing to do, it can actually increase your happiness and help improve your overall health. Do it for yourself.

Backup to prevent disaster!

There’s a new blog post waiting for you. Let’s do a dance! 🎉

It’s called: Quick Tip: How To Make Sure You're Constantly Backing Up Your Computer.

Computer hardware has come a long way. Most new computers sold these days are built tough and have solid-state drives inside them. However, the advances in durability we’re enjoying now doesn’t mean that our computers are infallible.

The truth about computers, and especially the storage drives inside them, is not if they’re going to fail, but when.

Backing up your computer to multiple, separate locations is as important as it’s ever been. I’ll tell you plainly, if you’re not backing up your computer, then you’re setting yourself up for a bad time.

Not to fear, though! It’s never been as easy and affordable to ensure your data is backed up and protected as it is now. I want you to click through the link to this blog post above and learn the best ways you can back up your computer. Read it and save yourself some heartbreak today!

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then send me a reply to this email. They’re always wonderful to receive.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.


Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶

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