When to Take a Step Back

20.09.2017 |

Episode #8 of the course Learn any subject with your own curriculum by Michelle Gommel


In the previous lesson, we talked about how to work through those small feelings of “I don’t wanna.” In this lesson, we’ll talk about what happens when those small feelings get bigger and turn into full-on burnout. I have a great deal of personal experience with burnout, so believe me when I tell you that it is definitely not fun, and it is really important to know when to step back and reevaluate your plan.


How Do You Know It’s Burnout?

There is a huge difference between looking at your to-do list for the day and feeling kind of “blah” about it, and waking up with a feeling of utter dread for that same to-do list. If you think you may be leaning toward the latter, you might be experiencing burnout. In the case of burnout, none of the tips and tricks I gave you in the last lesson will help. At that point, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate what’s going wrong. Here’s a couple of questions to ask yourself during that self-evaluation:

• Did I overestimate how much time I should set aside for studying?

• Am I not enjoying the materials that I chose for myself?

• Is it possible that I am not enjoying the subject matter itself?

• Do I just need to take a few days off?


What to Do Next

After asking yourself those questions and reflecting on what’s really making you dread your study time, take a look at your initial plans and scheduling and do one of two things. The first option is to change your schedule. If you’ve decided that you just need a few days off and then you’ll be ready to come back fresh, do that! Move everything possible on your schedule back however many days you think you need. If you overestimated how much time you were able to spend on studying, you can either cut one or more of your materials in order to keep the same due date as before or you can move your due date back as necessary.

The second thing you can do is to rewrite your entire plan. I promise that it’s a less onerous task the second or third time you do it, since you should now be familiar with many of the processes and resources you need to search. If you decided that you’re still interested in the subject but not the specific materials you chose, return to the original list you compiled before weeding it out. You should be able to find other resources there that you can try instead. If you decided that you chose the wrong subject matter in the first place, don’t be afraid to return all the way back to the drawing board. As someone who changed her college major no less than three times, I can tell you that it’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be.

Keep it up! Even when you hit difficult patches in the process of learning, just keep moving forward, and you’ll reap the rewards soon enough. In the next lesson, we’ll talk about how to keep your newfound knowledge fresh.

Yours truly,



Recommended book

The Overachiever’s Dilemma by C J McClanahan


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