The burnout process has been divided into 12 phases by psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North. In a Scientific American Mind article, the stages are outlined as such: 1. The Compulsion to Prove Oneself; demonstrating worth obsessively; tends to hit the best employees, those with enthusiasm who accept responsibility readily. 2. Working Harder; an inability to switch off. 3. Neglecting Their Needs; erratic sleeping, eating disrupted, lack of social interaction. 4. Displacement of Conflicts; problems are dismissed, we may feel threatened, panicky and jittery. 5. Revision of Values; values are skewed, friends and family dismissed, hobbies seen as irrelevant, work is only focus. 6. Denial of Emerging Problems; intolerance, perceiving collaborators as stupid, lazy, demanding, or undisciplined, social contacts harder; cynicism, aggression; problems are viewed as caused by time pressure and work, not because of life changes. 7. Withdrawal; social life small or non-existent, need to feel relief from stress, alcohol/drugs. 8. Odd Behavioural Changes; changes in behaviour obvious, friends and family concerned. 9. Depersonalization; seeing neither self nor others as valuable, and no longer perceive own needs. 10. Inner Emptiness; feeling empty inside and to overcome this, look for activity such as overeating, sex, alcohol, or drugs; activities are often exaggerated. 11. Depression; feeling lost and unsure, exhausted, future feels bleak and dark. 12. Burnout Syndrome; can include total mental and physical collapse; time for full medical attention. When we push our creativity and productivity to its limits, we can easily find ourselves teetering on brink of burnout. And there’s a fine line between being in the zone and falling down the slippery slope of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. Therefore it’s worth occasionally referring back to this list to self-diagnose. Once you know which stage you are playing at, you can just allow your self correction mechanism to take over and regain your clarity.