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Now that you've got your personal gas station list, let's talk about when we need to use it. When we visit one of our creative gas stations, it's an energizing endeavor and we return to our work jacked up and ready to solve, but the more we solve, the more of that tank gets depleted. Every detail, every nuance, every battle, they all take a little bit more out of the tank. It's easy to see how quickly creatives empty their creative well. The problem is that because our self value is often placed on what we make, and not how we make it, we fail to see the empty tank light come on.
So we spend time running on empty and it has a drastic effect on our joy quotient. That degree of love we have for what we do. This is called creative burnout and it's completely avoidable if we identify the signs and act upon them. The first sign of creative burnout is routine. We allow our routine to influence our solutions. We use words like just when solving a problem. Like, can't we just do what we did last year? Which speaks to the second sign of burnout, effort.
We start looking for the easiest solution, not the best solution. Because we simply don't have the energy to see it through. The third sign of creative burnout, discontent. If you are personally unhappy in a position that asks you to solve problems creatively, it's almost always because your tank is empty. This isn't the same as being unhappy because of the actions or behaviors of others around you. That's another issue. But if you are regularly asked to be creative, and you find yourself perpetually dissatisfied, your tank may need filling.
As exciting as it is to solve problems creatively, know that you have a finite amount of energy to give. If you feel yourself getting low, evaluate the level of fill up you need compared to the amount of resources you have to use, and choose one of the items of your creative gas stations list to immerse yourself in so that you can refill your creative tank.
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