ClsXlca2015 burnout

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Notes from the Burnout discussion at #clsXlca

Summary:

We focused on burnout, warning signs of, manifestations of, strategies for avoiding,

We did not end up covering: retention, recruitment, succession planning, sustainable pipelines and handovers, creating engagement. having a separate life outside of foss.

We did end up covering health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on mental health.

Burnout, retention, recruitments health and well being - body health, mental health, community health. separate life.

succession planning / sustainable piplelines and handovers.

In terms of responses to burnout and stress, they seemed to fall between two categories 1) withdrawing, either from the particular project causing harm or from everything in general 2) working harder, either on the particular project causing harm, or procrastinating on other important, but less urgent tasks.

Common themes in the strategies involved

  • solitude
  • exercise
  • nature

mental health - invited mental health professionals to speak

is it helpful? definitely fosters openness. bof for mental health.

Induction information - where to get help, external resources like lifeline.

Professional sessions with shrinks at conferences. Difficult to give feedback, getting metrics.

Professional consqeuences for being open about mental health issues. There is a fear of being too open for fear of impact on professional/monetary goals. Can be the cofnerence organisers job to normalise the use of mental health services.

Using different words to lessen the stigma - brain mechanic.

Like any disease, early intervention is key.


Responsibility of the organiser community to be proactive vs reactive.

Burnout.

How to avoid burnout? volunteer management. Big bad flag is delegatign to folk who are overcommitting.`

Volunteering Australia is a resource for planning.

A lot of basic business management, clearly layed out contracts.

Causes? Boom bust cycle as a regular way of being organised.

Lack of supportive environment. having a feelign of needing to be a perfectionist, havnig to do *everything* to be perfect.

In a committee, 20% doing all the work, 80% riding on coattails. Normalised burnout, small number of people expected to burn out.

Over working in our worklives, too many hours at work.

LA specific, not resetting of expections of conference from year to year.

What is burnout?

Burnout is knowing how to do a thing, but not getting the mental energy to begin. Project/field specific complete lack of motivation to do a particular task.

Warning signs, manifestations. - constantly feel like you're getting nothing done, regardless of work. Self care routine goes away, project become all consuming. Weight gain, loss.

Pulling back from everything.

Getting colds and flus.

Specifically wants to quit particular project.

Get neurotic about perfomance and work harder.

Participate less socially, withdrawal.

Filled with crushing despair, (different despair to depression)

General anxiety, must work harder, be better. Feeling of imposter syndrome.

Dwelling on thoughts of failure. Anxiety spikes. Withdrawing.

Being angry at everything, things that used to bring you joy.

Withdrawing socially, email isn't always the best communication techniques.

Resentful of people asking you to do things.

Sleep withdrawal, alcohol. Unable to clear the mind.

Overcommit to displacement activities. Procstibaking.

Two basic strategies, half completely avoid, half work even harder. Some do both, super procastination.

Strategies to avoid:

Getting back to nature, camping. being away from mobile phone coverage and internet.

Travel to a different environment. Doign a reduced pomodoro thing to start one thing. Spoons analagy, quantifies how much energy you have. "But you don't look sick" blog.

Clearing head of tasks. Writing those thoughts down.

Going for a bike ride.

Talk with family and friends, rant at them. Embrace the actual value of relaxing and not doing anything, it can be recharging.

Giving team members a break, communicate that everyone needs time occasionally. Giving yourself breaks on the weekend.

Changing life styles. Relearning happiness, try something that used to make you happy, it might make you happy again.

Motorcycling. Solitude. Things that involve nature, wind. Thinking about real things rather than man made things.

Once a week have a massage. Blocking off the weekend for myself. Sleeping in, relaxing. Shopping, surrounded by people but dealing with them in solitude.

Mandatory hour of reading everyday. Mandatory dinner with partner.

Leave the mobile phone at home, go out and disconnect. Being aware of how many spoons you have, and working within that.

Do something orthoginal, completely different to bloody computer problems.

Encourage others to tell you that you've got the signs of stress.

Playing the piano.

Getting random thoughts onto paper in an organised way, things look much easier to deal with in that state. putting small things onto todo list, being able to strike small, simple things.

Learning to quit things when there's too much.

Changing contexts.

Letting the others in your group know that you need some time off.

Micro strategies - helping other people with burnout/stress.

Plan non refundable weeks away on holiday, force yourself to take a break.

One strategy to get support from the community so we don't burn out.

Have a buddy who knows your weeknesses, call in with them keep organisied. Pair organising.

Standing down from lots of little tasks to give msyelf time. Saying no.

Being public about personal issues, being transparent about trigger points.

Letting go of the expection that you'll fix everything.

Not having complete ownership of a task, being able to hand off to someone else.

Letting something be done to a C grade, not an A grade.

Succession planning, doing it, either formally or informally.

Let others know when stuff is getting tight, so the group can fix it.

Say NO a lot. Being public about where you're at, others in your group will notice and help.

Build a group around you that you trust, that you can call on immediately.

Know your scope, know what you're promised to do, know what you're capable of doing, saying no if a new tasks falls outside that.

Have a plan B for stuff. Tell close friends your warning signs.

communicating clearly and on time. Being clear to team members that no is a perfectly reasonable resposne sometimes.

Know your limits, delegate when required.

We've noticed that we all have these great techni8ques of escaping stress and burnout, but we perhaps don't deploy them regularly enough to avoid burnout in the first place.

Work heroism can be echoed in project heroism.

Per conference - Chillout room. quiet room, bean bags, videos of kittens..

Realising that a lot of people having issues like social anxieties that may not be obvious.

Attendees: Daniel Spector


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