The 5th Dimension

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How to Pursue Passion Projects without Burnout

Passion drives most of us. For some of us, it may be our work, for others, it may be outside of career. Either way, we are all passionate about something. And that passion should be nurtured and grown but it is very easy to burn out doing something you love. 

Do What You Love…

You’ll still work. In fact, if you love what you are doing, you’re probably working more than you would if you didn’t care. Because you love what you are doing, you don’t want to stop. You want to make it better. You want it to grow and thrive. This makes it very easy to push yourself way beyond your limit and not notice. But just because you love what you’re doing doesn’t mean you won’t burn out.

Passion v. Burnout

So, how do you continue to indulge your passions without sacrificing your health?  The best way to do this is the 60-30-10 method. I’ve talked about it before here in terms of leadership but it extends much further than that.

For a quick recap, here’s a breakdown of the 60-30-10 method.

The method breaks down the day into 3 percentiles, 60%, 30%, and 10%. Each percentile houses a different set of actions, to-do’s, and mindsets.

  • The 60% is the day-to-day chores, operational areas, etc. that you must address.

If you are at work this is where your emails and meetings live. If you are at home this is where doing the dishes or taking your dog for a walk lives.

  • The 30% is the percentile where you push boundaries and stick a hand out of your comfort zone. This is where you spend your time and energy bringing something achievable but exciting into existence.

In the corporate world, this may look like a repackage of current services. Outside of work, this can look like buying a new washing machine, planning a family trip to Mexico, putting together dinner parties with your friends.

  • The 10% is where the fresh and new ideas live. This is reserved for the giant, stomach-wrenching, sweat-inducing leaps. This is where you start putting into action one of those wild ideas that have been floating around in your mind or that you hastily scribbled down on a bar napkin.

At work, this would be launching a new product. Outside of work, this could be buying your dream house, having a child, or starting a soup kitchen.

There’s something important to remember when you’re applying the 60/30/10 method to your whole life. Do not try and convert the 10% horizon into the 60% horizon. You will burn out. There just isn’t enough time, resources, or energy to do it all sustainably. These horizons build on each other. The 60% gives you the stability to branch out into the 30%. The 30% helps you narrow down the items that are worth your time in the 10%.

Passion Projects are Vital

Passion projects help us all get up in the morning. They inspire us to be creative and productive. But they can absolutely wear you out. Don’t let ‘em. Burnout is not exclusive to people who are unhappy. It is, however, exclusive to people who push themselves beyond their limits, whether or not they are enjoying it. By dividing up your time, you give your system a chance to recover and come back to your projects invigorated and more creative.