It’s not full-blown burnout, it’s just micro-burnout.

how to spot it & what to do

Emily Steele
6 min readApr 22, 2021


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

At work, I sit down to reply to an email.

They are asking for my creative input.

“What do you think?” they say.
“Could you write something for this?” they say.

I squeeze out a few words.


Try again.



Still doesn’t sound right.

I go back to the email.

I type a few sentences.

It takes me 30 minutes.

And it feels like molasses.

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

Later, I am looking at my to-do list.

I begin one task.

Open notebook, pen in hand.

An article is open on the screen in front of me.

I read a few sentences.

Wait what did I just read?

I re-read.

I am doing that type of “reading” where your eyes take in the words but not your brain.

I look up at the time.

It has been 2 minutes.

I am exhausted.

And I have retained nothing.

Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

Last night, I am finally able to dip out of reality for 20 pages as the wizarding world of Harry Potter consumes me.

My eyelids are heavier than the remaining pages (and my curiosity) would like them to be.

I close my book, tap off my light, eager to get some rest.

I shut my eyes.

I toss.

I turn.

I do a deep inhale and a big exhale.



Emily Steele

lifter of heavy things: thoughts, words, weights, burdensome beliefs