Productivity vs. Burnout

I recently read an article that talked about the amount of time you should work every day.

One of the findings from a study done on people working is that the people with the most productivity are the ones that work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. Now, these aren't people that sit at their desk and surf Facebook or Twitter or the internet during their break; these are people who get up and get away for a break or read a book for their break. Another point of the article is that we only have so much psychological energy each day.

I've been thinking about the article the last day and trying to put into perspective my own work habits. I think that breaks are important, but 17 minutes is only an average and I think some people are going to be more productive with a five minute break and some are going to work better after a 30 minute break. We're all different. I also think that we can condition ourselves to be more productive with less of the break.

What constitutes work? Is something you're passionate about constituted as work? I think that can play a factor as well. I've had a full day of work and then had two college classes. One of which was a Spanish course. I only had about a 15 minute break at lunch, as the other 45 minutes were spent on Spanish homework. Yet, here I am writing a post for my site, because I forgot to do it last night. But this doesn't feel like work. Some people might view maintaining a website as work, but not me. I enjoy this. It makes me feel like I'm being productive and not just sitting around on my ass.

Last year I was putting out two to three articles a week on The Crawfish Boxes (TCB). At times it felt like work, but for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing. This season I've taken a step back. Partly because of some of the things that transpired with the Astros; partly because I wanted to focus on advancing my career in information security; and partly because I was burned out. One post a week of 300-500 words is a lot work. I was doing three of those, plus two weekly podcasts, a breaking news podcast and eventually I spun up a monthly podcast and bi-weekly podcast. It was a lot of work, but came to me easy, because I enjoyed it. Still I burned myself out and I've been having some trouble refocusing my productivity towards information security.

I want be as productive for the infosec community as I was for TCB, but I also don't want to burn myself out. Burnout seems to be a small issue within the infosec community and I already feel it at my day job. I think there's a balance to be struck; I just need to find it.