How to Prevent Burnout

We have this idea that having more, doing more, and being more is better, but what happens when you reach your breaking point?

You feel burned out, depressed, and maybe even like a failure. 

Society has taught us that more is better, but is that really true? Let's think about the last time you walked through a supermarket and saw packaging advertising 30% more product, buy 1 get 1 free, extra strength, the list goes on and on.

We have become addicted to more. 

Let's take the Extra Strength Tylenol example. The packaging gives the illusion that it works better than regular Tylenol. Regular Strength Tylenol contains 325 mg of acetaminophen and Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500mg of acetaminophen.

  • The regular strength instructions say you can take 2 tablets every 4-6 hours and the extra strength instructions say you can take 2 tablets every 6 hours.
  • If you max out your dosing of Tylenol then the only difference between the two products is that in 24 hours you get 100mg less if you go with the regular strength.

The difference is insignificant. However, if you take MORE than what is recommended then there are serious health risks involved. The illusion of having "extra" makes us lean towards buying the extra strength product because we are convinced it must work better than the regular one.

Similarly, when was the last time that you figured out how to do something more efficiently in your business? What did you do with your free time? Did you fill it with more work? The whole point of being more efficient and creating free time is that the time is "free" to do whatever you would like. We are not meant to work 24/7. At some point you have to make time to take care of yourself and recharge.

How do you know if you are in danger of burnout?

  • You have been under stress for an extended period of time
  • You are physically and emotionally exhausted
  • You feel like you are just spinning your wheels and do not feel like you have accomplished anything
  • You are pessimistic and cynical
  • You are irritable and have difficulty finding joy in things that you used to be passionate about

So, how do you avoid burning yourself out by working from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep?

  1. Block out a certain amount of time each week for self care and hold yourself accountable to doing those things.
    • Examples:
      • 10 minutes a day for meditation
      • 2 yoga classes a week
      • 2 hours to watch a movie
      • Listening to music instead of podcasts during your commute a few times a week
  2. Decide what is ENOUGH. You are going to have a "to do" list a mile long, but it is impossible to accomplish all of it in one day. Stop feeling guilty for not completing everything in one day. 
  3. Give yourself a maximum of 3 things to do each day: 1 difficult thing, 1 easy thing, and 1 fun thing.
    • The difficult thing is probably something you have been avoiding doing, but you know you should be doing. Make yourself do that thing first.
    • The easy thing is a quick win! You know you can accomplish it quickly after you spend the majority of your time on the difficult thing.
    • The fun thing is the part of your business that you enjoy the most. It is like a reward at the end of your daily "to do" list. The faster you accomplish the first two things, the more time you have to work on the thing you enjoy the most.
  4. Listen to your body. If you feel like you need to take a weekend off to recover, then that is what you should do. 
  5. Set healthy boundaries with your business. Decide what times of day you will send e-mails and return text messages or phone calls. Turn off notifications on your smartphone for as many applications as you can so that you are in control of the time you spend responding to the notifications instead of feeling like you need to immediately respond to every notification you receive throughout the day.
  6. Think of all of the situations that are causing you stress and brainstorm ways that you can reduce stress in those situations.