Author Topic: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out  (Read 2464 times)

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workinhard853

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Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« on: Apr 19, 2015, 07:48 pm »
I'm sorry if this is a duplicate I've looked and haven't found anything.

I have been stage managing for years now and I've found lately that my focus has been lacking. I believe this to be the beginning of 'burn out' as all of us seem to reach; that moment when you have worked too often on too little energy and your body (and mind) says no more.
I am wondering if anyone has found a way to keep focus during rehearsals, especially choreo or massively repeated blocking rehearsals. I tend to notice when it's later in the day I start to mentally wander off and not pay as close attention than I usually do.

Almost along the same lines, how does someone avoid burnout?

Branden

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #1 on: Apr 19, 2015, 09:00 pm »
Burning out can be dangerous. For some people, they burn out and end up walking away from theatre entirely.

Some folks say that you should take breaks inbetween your contracts; I disagree.
I think the biggest thing you can do to avoid burning out is to be aware during each contract that it's just theatre, and to take breaks and not stress out during the contracts as opposed to in between. Set an 'off the clock' time for yourself, if you need to.

Also, side projects really help keep me motivated. When I get too consumed with theatre, or the production, I'll take a break and work on a side project, like a blog, or a video, so that I feel like I have an escape.
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Maribeth

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #2 on: Apr 19, 2015, 09:09 pm »
Re: avoiding burnout, I have found that keeping a good variety in my work helps. I freelance, so I don't work at the same theatre all the time. I do theatre, opera, and a little bit of dance- when I am a little burned out on one thing, I focus on one of the others. I've also dabbled in some non-SM jobs that use similar skills- working on festivals, workshops, production managing, etc.

Most importantly, I try to make time for myself. When I was younger, I took dance classes and ASL classes. Now I garden and read and knit. I try not to overbook myself, so that I actually have time to do some of these things. If I have a few weeks off between shows, I don't necessarily try and book those weeks anymore- a mini vacation does wonders for me.

EDIT: Also, make time for friends and family! Doing nothing but work is a surefire way to burn out.

Regarding boredom and dissatisfaction in your work- often I think this happens when you're not challenged in what you're doing. You can look for positions that WILL challenge you- a higher level position at your theatre, working at a bigger theatre, working at a theatre that does different work (i.e. musicals or new plays if you normally do straight plays), working in a different medium (dance, opera, production management). Something that will make you grow (or give you the opportunity to grow). That might be a non-stage management position.
« Last Edit: Apr 19, 2015, 09:12 pm by Maribeth »

BayAreaSM

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #3 on: Apr 21, 2015, 01:18 am »
As far as boredom during the actual rehearsal, if it's in the moment:

-Try standing to take your notation.

-If you won't be distracting, massage the base of your skull. I've found this to be an amazing pick-me-up.

-If it's a repeated sequence and you have an ASM you trust, ask them to review your choreo notes and take a quick step out for a drink or splash some water on your face.


Maribeth

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #4 on: Apr 22, 2015, 09:24 am »
Tagging on to my earlier comment about avoiding burnout- it helps me to keep work at work. I generally don't do paperwork or reports at home- I will come in early to catch up on paperwork if needed, and I send the report before I leave for the day. If someone emails me when I'm at home, I'll reply if it's time-sensitive, but if it's not I try to save it until I come in the next day.

Regarding fading attention span later in the day- a cup of coffee? Or, take a walk or jog during the meal break. I will generally feel more invigorated after stretching my legs a little.

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #5 on: Apr 23, 2015, 02:19 am »
I definitely agree with keeping work at work.  Of course there are some times where this is not always 100% possible - there are some people I will always answer a call from, regardless, but if an orchestra member calls me out of hours (I'm the operations manager for a very busy opera and ballet orchestra) then I usually just let it go.  I'll listen to their voicemail and then I can make a judgement call as to whether I need to call them back now or when I'm at work!  I've found it's really the only way for me to avoid feeling completely over it and unfocused by the end of the week. 

Interests outside theatre have also been my saving grace - I took up roller derby a few years ago and on a Friday night after a tough week at work, getting onto the track and skating my legs off is amazing.  Not to mention the hitting other people side of it which is great for pent-up frustration, so long as you do it within the rules!  My partner and I also try and get out either walking, biking or doing some geocaching at least once a weekend which seems to have made a big difference to my sanity.  And if all else fails, after a difficult day there's nothing much better than a glass of wine and a bubble bath, preferably with a good book...

SamanthaR

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #6 on: Apr 23, 2015, 02:32 pm »
I second what the rest have said. 
In rehearsal I find that sitting on a yoga ball helps keep me focused, gives me action and keeps my body engaged. Small snacks through out the day also help with my energy and focus.
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Samazon

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Re: Keeping Focus avoiding burn out
« Reply #7 on: Apr 25, 2015, 11:19 am »
I definitely agree with all of the above.  I recently also got involved in doing yoga. Though I don't always get the chance to take classes regularly, I've found that if I'm starting to get anxious or unfocused in rehearsal that a couple of deep breaths, like those from yoga, get me back to a good place very quickly when I can't leave the room or it's no where near time for a break. If I do have a moment in a break, I'll do a quick pose or two or listen to a quick song from my favorite station on iHeartRadio.
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