On work, fatigue, and reaching critical mass

Usually, I try not to talk too much about work here on my blog. It’s a little bit because well, I don’t necessarily want to bring down the hammer upon my head for talking about things I oughtn’t, but it’s also because for me, it’s nice to have that separation between what I do all day and what I do in my free time.

This has been one of those weeks where no matter what I do, those lines are pretty blurry.

Earlier this week, one of the many things that landed on my desk was a paid article for some big projects we’ve got coming up. It’s the kind of thing where we’ve written about it probably a dozen times in the last few weeks, so I was running out of decent ways to talk about the same subject. Every idea I had just sounded like a broken record.

Then, I had a bit of an epiphany, and I got rolling on an unexpectedly scientific piece about the concept of critical mass.

Now, obviously, I am not a physics expert, let alone nuclear physics. But I did study a little back in school, which I think is why I latched onto the idea so quickly. Basically, critical mass is a way of describing the minimum amount of a particular component that you need to create a self-sustaining chain reaction. In physics, that’s a good thing, but if you think about it in context, it’s the threshold for when things start exploding.

For work, that critical mass component was software, but for me this week, it’s writing.

Fighting off the writing fatigue

I talked about this in my intro post for this year’s Blogtober as well, but I’ve found that in the past, when I’ve tried to tackle writing challenges where I have to put together a post every day, I tend to lose motivation and fizzle out around two-thirds of the way through.

Well, here we are. Twenty out of 31 days, and I’m feeling the fizzle.

It’s not really anything to do with the posting, though, if I’m being honest. Between being sick and a wild work week, where each day was probably close to two days’ worth of work and someone may or may not have tried to explain to me that—and I quote—words have meaning, I’ve been slowly starting to feel more and more like all I really want to do is have a nap.

Now, I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but that doesn’t always change the mental or emotional capacity you have.

I actually contemplated not posting so early in the morning today, and catching up later in the day. After all, I figured, I’d gotten most of the big stuff for work done already, and Friday would probably be a pretty easy day, right?

But then, Shane gave me a much-needed pep talk. As he pointed out, posting daily is definitely something that I’m capable of keeping up with—I’ve done it for 19 days already. And what if something unexpected happened at work today, leaving me feeling just as drained and exhausted and unmotivated as I’ve been feeling so far?

Then, I’d be behind, and as I know very well, that’s a slippery slope indeed.

So I thought about what I promised when I started this challenge, and here I am. Not obligated, not forced to write and post every day—but feeling inspired to keep up and do my best.

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