Workshop Burnout - Some Suggestions
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Finishing a really large, complicated project in the workshop is a lot like childbirth (ladies, I know we men know nothing of childbirth and cannot possible relate to the experience, but cut me some literary slack here, ok?). For months, you bring the project along one small step at a time (particularly if you are a contender for the title of the world's slowest woodworker as I am). Often burnout is actually suffered at the 95% completion point (not for pregnant women, of course). All of the sudden, you just can't get motivated to do the last 5%. Or, you actually press forward and finish the project minus a few little corrections you promise to handle later, but ,of course, later never seems to arrive.
Then, BAM! it hits you just like some sort of Postpartum Depression and suddenly you cannot make yourself get back in the workshop - but yet, you still love woodworking. Been there, done that! We have all experienced this feeling at some point in our creative journey. So what do you do? What indeed do you do? Any analogy to Postpartum Depression will cease at this point because I am clueless, but very sympathetic, about the subject.
In woodworking, I would suggest you take a few days off the re-acquaint yourself with your family and introduce yourself to your kids who seem to have grown an inch in your workshop absence. Then, don't start the next big marathon build because you many not have the stamina for it at this point.
I would suggest you take on some things that are quick, don't require much preciseness and add to your workshop efficiency - like some new or replacement jigs. Think new drill press table, or a new track for cutting down sheet goods, or a new cabinet to put under a power tool. And, hey, while you are at it, buy a new power tool for that cabinet - every cabinet needs a power tool, right?
Do you want to get really re-energized? Then get into something new. Something that is mentally stimulating. You know, like finally learning SketchUp or buying a Lathe for the first time or perhaps a CNC machine or a laser printer something (anything) to tickle you fancy and add to your arsenal of toys to impress that neighbor next time he comes by again.
Suddenly you will find yourself itching to learn more about the new things and wondering how you can possibly find more hours in your day for your new passion. It works, believe me but now I have to go look for a new spot for whatever CNC machine I settle on.