Working on something you're really passionate about — taking ownership for it, feeling compelled to make it happen at all costs — is highly draining. And, one thing I've come to realize is that working a high-performance full-time job is no less of an energy/time drain than school.
This past month, I worked myself to the point of not sleeping well (less than 6h/night for weeks on end). To put on TKS Community Talks, I underperformed at my job and the two projects (EMM and Rally) I'd taken on. I didn't really get anywere with my research on wireless power transmission. I knocked right on burnout's door and even stepped a few feet in.
The reminder I give myself to recover is what I've always told myself: relentlessly re-assess and re-prioritize. What can I cut out of my life? What do I not actually care about doing? Communicating this well to your superiors or collaborators is ultimately best for them/the overall project, too.
I've made a few cuts already, and I know I'll need to make more. My goal for the holiday break is to scale back on the work I'm doing for projects, personal growth, whatever. I'll focus on myself and remind myself of what actually excites me and brings me joyful fulfillment.
On a larger scale, I view this peak of overworking and subsequent cutting-down as just another oscillation in the process of finding myself: