How To Fight Burnout and Be More Productive
We can change how we see the world by changing who we are. I share my experience in rejecting my diagnoses of fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s disease and Epstein-bar. I’ve got 7 things I used to come back from extreme fatigue and burnout to vibrant energy and creativity and be more productive.
Episode #759 January 08, 2021
Hi this is Dan Miller – and yes you’re listening to the 48 Days Radio show – where each week we take 48 minutes to dive into real life questions about finding your passion, deciding what kind of life you want to live – and then finding or creating work that allows you to show up every day, excited to be able to do something that is meaningful, fulfilling – and profitable. This is where normal, indecision and ambiguity come to die. Welcome to the 48 Days Radio Show.
How can I be more productive?
What if I’m experiencing burn-out?
I went through a horrendous experience a couple of years ago. I’ve never talked about this on my podcast in terms of really explaining what happened two years ago when I realized I was in trouble. It’s embarrassing to admit this. I’m the guy who talks about finding work and a life you love As a writer and a coach, I get to choose my work and how I spend my time. And fortunately as the author of 48 Days to the Work You Love I do love my work
Because of that, it really came to me as somewhat of a shock when I was experiencing burnout. I mean, I had all the classic symptoms: fatigue, headaches, stuffy, sinuses, irritability, fitful sleep, unexplained severe pain in my shoulders and wrist, a decreased appetite, cynicism, a desire to pull back from engagement. My functioning dropped to probably 30% of what I was capable of previously. I was sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night and then taking a nap in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Now, obviously I wanted to fix this to get back to the level of speaking, writing, and coaching, that built my reputation. I felt like I had aged more in one year than I had the previous 10.
I saw my neurologist, physical therapist, internist, nutritionist, chiropractor, massage therapist, energy healer, and dentist. I had blood tests, heart scans, x-rays, an MRI and a whole lot more. All the tests came back normal. My trusted family doctor of 30 years laughed and told me to quit complaining. I was just getting old.
I wasn’t going to be content.
The interesting thing is everyone was willing to give me medication — prescriptions to just mask the pain. I was given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s disease and Epstein-Barr.
I went to the physical therapist and I’d spend an hour, hour and a half there three times a week. And I was getting a little bit more movement, but it was extremely slow.
Even my walking gate was pretty pathetic and I was just stiff all over. I even quit driving my Corvette because it was too difficult to get in and out of. So I was just driving an SUV that we had on our property.
That’s really telling for me because I so enjoy driving fun cars, but I stopped driving my Corvette because of the way I was feeling.
I had a conversation with a high-level hospital administrative executive doctor, and he said the symptoms I had really indicated something more systemic going on. This doctor suggested that I get in and get some other tests done immediately — more blood work and more x-rays to rule out some kind of mass. He suspected perhaps even some kind of cancer or leukemia.
I was pretty appalled at the unconnected variety of treatments. Everyone was looking at me through their own lens. The neurologist was looking for neurological things. Everybody was looking for something that lined up with their area of expertise, but no one was bringing it all together.
No one asked about my mindset.
No one asked about negative thinking, work habits, stress producers, important relationships or spiritual practices. I was convinced there had to be a better way. There had to be an integrated approach to include body, mind, and spirit. Then I was introduced by my son, Kevin, to Dr. Randy James, who he works with in Woodland Park, Colorado. He’s a functional medicine doctor. First, he asked for a long conversation. He didn’t want to see any of the test results that I had, all the lab results that I had, x-rays, MRIs, etc. He didn’t want to see any of that.
He wanted to talk to me. He talked to me for two to three hours. He wanted to hear about those very things that were absent as the other providers seem to view me just as a biochemical mass. So we talked about my work habits. Yes. I love my work, but I would rationalize working 14 hours a day because I love my work.
Why would I need a vacation from my work? Why would I need a day off? So I was way out of balance.
Dr. James started carefully guided me into new patterns of diet and introduced some key supplements.
Yes, we did extensive tests that gave indicators of some critical deficiencies and sensitivities, but we talked about modified work habits and more time was taken to adjust and observe.
It took me a year. I’m telling you about what happened in August of 2018. I remember so well that initial desire to just fix this. Our tendency is to look for a pharmaceutical product to give us instant relief. But the kind of process that I took with functional medicine was not a quick fix.
It’s a healthy alternative to patching, the pothole. Instead, it helps you build an entirely new road. That takes time.
At this point, my excitement about the next 25 years has never been greater. The confidence that I have now about being a productive and fulfilled writer and coach, but also a healthy husband, a daddy, a Papa inspires me every day.
I have an extreme amount of gratitude for Dr. Randy James and the rest of the team at True Life Medicine.
Should I just decrease the amount of time I sleep to work on my side business?
No, I do not suggest that as a way to be more productive, it will make you less productive. I still sleep as much, which is what my body requires. For me, that’s eight hours a night.
I recently went through some math with entrepreneurs who are wanting to build a side business to help them find 15 hours a week in their schedule to work on their business.
You CAN find your 15 hours. You CAN find your eight hours of sleep every night.
We all have 168 hours a week. If you work 40 hours a week and we allowed 10 hours a week for commuting back and forth.
You want to spend four hours a week in church and community activities.
Then we have to sleep eight hours a night.
You can have 10 hours a week for time with your family.
That still leaves you 48 hours a week for things that you choose to do, including using 15 of those to build your business.
But taking your sleep from eight hours a night to six hours or to four, like I hear some people talk about,
I think that’s ludicrous. I think you’ll absolutely compromise your ability to be your best self and to be productive.
7 things I use to maintain optimal health – so then I have a shot at being maximally productive
Here are the seven things that I do that help me get myself in a physical condition where I can see the world as I want to see it and be as productive as I want to.
7. Cold showers
I’m seeing a whole new horizon that I’ve not seen before. I don’t want to be prone and vulnerable to being pulled back into the condition. I want to increase my health to a level that I’ve never experienced before. So I keep learning.
I asked Dr. James, “Was it the diet, exercise, mindset or supplements? What was it that helped me get better?” He said it was all of them together.
This is a great time of year to be figuring this out and deciding what you want to do. I’m going to be at my best and create the best year I’ve ever had. What about you? What are you doing this year to be at your best?
Quotation:“We don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are”― Anaïs NinClick To Tweet
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My functional medicine doctor: Randy James, M.D. TrueLifeMedicine.com
My practice of breathing and cold showers: wimhofmethod.com
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