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Avoid Burnout By Learning New Things

taillogs profile image Ryland G Originally published at cdevn.com ・2 min read

Improving By Learning

When taking an objective approach to improving yourself, you should strive to improve in ways you currently can't comprehend. This can be understood as a subset of the Dunning Kruger effect, which isn't meant to make you feel stupid, it's simply a reality we all face.

Eating right, getting enough sleep and water, and exercise are all critical parts of a self-improvement regimen. But there's another critical component that most people neglect, learning new things.

Here is some good reference material about the connection between learning new things and cognitive health

The benefits of learning new things include

  • improved self esteem
  • slowing of cognitive decline
  • increased optimism
  • in some cases even physical growth of brain matter

So yes, learning really can make your head bigger. I could list a lot more, but this quote from the UK Gov page does it justice better than I could

Research shows that learning throughout life is associated with greater satisfaction and optimism, and improved ability to get the most from life.
People who carry on learning after childhood report higher wellbeing and a greater ability to cope with stress. They also report more feelings of self-esteem, hope and purpose

How to Keep Learning?

Obviously, there are limitless ways to learn. If you already incorporate learning novel things in your daily regimen, keep doing what works for you. In reality, learning novel things is an impractical task for most people simply because of the time it takes.

A while back I decided I wanted to consistently learn novel things every day. I spent a while thinking of an efficient bias free way of accomplishing this, and then I remembered the random Wiki page.

With the random Wiki, every time you click this link you will get a unique article. Each article is completely random and entirely unrelated to anything you've searched or looked at before. This provides a means of learning n new things every single day, just by clicking the link n times and reading the webpages that open up.

You will be blown away from the type of things you never knew. You will also often be very confused, such as when I learned that Texas A&M has a Qatar campus.

Conclusion

If you don't already incorporate learning novel things into your routine, I recommend opening the random wiki page a few times a day. It takes very little time and truly broadens the boundaries of what you do and don't know.

If you already learn novel things as part of your routine, I would love to hear about them in the comments!

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taillogs profile

Ryland G

@taillogs

Head of Product Experience at Temporal. previously lead architect and low-level systems programmer for scale out SaaS offering. Game engine developer, ML engineering expert. DMs open on Twitter.

Discussion

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Great article! You can also burnout on learning or trying to learn too many things. Like anything, doing so in moderation is the best.

A couple of other things that have helped me beat burnout are

  1. Always stopping work at a regular time. This is particularly important for remote workers where home and work aren't necessarily segmented by actual workspace. Even if you go back to working later in the evening, STOP at a regular time and take that break. Make or grab some dinner, play a game for a bit, etc.
  2. Have a regular activity or hobby that isn't necessarily learning, isn't work, and is just good fun. For me, it is video games and board games with a group of friend (some of which are actually co-workers in my case) or family.
 
  1. Definitely agree. Pressure to continue working is a problem for almost everyone and even if your goal is getting more work done, it's not the best choice. Having a balance is the ultimate way to maintain your health, regardless of occupation.

  2. Agree but it's honestly really hard for me these days. I feel like I get into a mode and it's very hard to enjoy "non-productive" things, especially after an intense work day.

Awesome response btw.

 

I was once obsessed with the Wikipedia random article feature. I even ended up making a web app called Wikifeedia based on that. Do check it out if you folks love the random article feature as well :)
vishnuks.com/Wikifeedia/

 

I wonder is it possible that we keep on creating and creating with no outcome and get burned out? I mean it's possible that we create but others may not consume or it just gets wasted and we get into another burn out of depression?

 

I think it is, and to me expectations matter. If we expected people to use/consume our creation but no one does, then there will be burnout. If we purely expected self-satisfaction from our creation, not from others, soon there will be burnout as well since self-satisfaction can't and won't always come constantly. It is tricky, but taking it slow as others have mentioned can help avoiding burnout, but in my case it's taking it slow on my expectations.

 

I think it's less about creating and more about why you're creating.

 

I totally agree with you, routine makes everything so boring, it's normal our brain gets tired of it. Repetition is for computers, new things are for us.

 

New things make life worth living.