(By Richard Davies) Here’s my answer to the great burnout debate, which erupted this week in The Podcast Business Journal.
If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, take a break. Put things on hold for a few days. It may go against the grain of our work-obsessed culture to admit this, but anything that you won’t regret a year from now is not worth really worrying about today.
Our perspective changes with time.
During a recent vacation in California — while walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore, and gazing up in wonder at the glorious, giant redwoods in Muir Woods — I forgot all about podcasting. Our future shows will be better because of it.
Just like a good night’s sleep (so important, even if you’re super young and feel you’re indestructible), time away from our routines restores the air in our lungs, the sparks in our brain, and the spring in our step.
In short, vacations improve the quality of everything that we do.
The difference between mere noise and producing a worthwhile podcast is that we have something new or different to say. But for most of us, inspiration takes time and a change of environment.
Even if a vacation is out of reach and beyond your budget, consider carving out one day each week when you take a hike and are totally away from the demands of e-mail, texts, and mobile devices. In the wise words of the Book of Genesis: “By the seventh day God finished his work and so he rested.”
Never has it been more important to remind ourselves what it means to be more human and bring meaning to our lives.
We live in an age of impersonality — machines, robots, online data, systems, and quick fixes. Durable human connections are under threat. More than ever, Americans report an increase in loneliness and a loss of meaning or intimate ties to others.
Our attitude towards work often reinforces this crisis. “Unlike a century ago, when Americans showed their status in leisure time, busyness has become the new badge of honor,” says Brigid Schulte this week in Harvard Business Review. “Even as we bemoan workplaces where everyone is busy and no one is productive, busyness has actually become the way to signal dedication to the job and leadership potential.”
Even while making budgets, editing shows, and building social media campaigns, our ultimate task is to produce unique content that adds value to the lives of our listeners. We can do that by using our intimate, informal medium to be imaginative, vulnerable, and authentic.
Podcasting can help turn back the tide of impersonality. Vacations make us more inspired and truly productive.