Over the weekend, I was chatting with one of our members about burnout. She felt she was on the edge of burnout and need to get a handle on it before it ruined her and her business.
What exactly is burnout? It is usually defined as an exhaustion brought about by lack of interest or motivation or by constant stress. It is a not-so-subtle message from the universe that something is not working in your life and you need to get on top of it.
People do not burn out from working too hard. They burn out from working on things they are not good at or do not feel passionately about. They burn out from working on things they do not value. They burnout when they work on things that others could do, while resenting that they cannot get to work on what they want to do. They burnout when they feel their work isn’t relevant. They burnout when they spend their time putting out fires rather than working on something that matters to them. They burnout by just doing “stuff.”
Ever notice that you can work for hours when it is something you enjoy? That is clearly the opposite of burnout and where we would like to be.
If you think you are suffering from or on the edge of burnout, here are some tips:
- Figure out if the time you spend contributing to your business (or life) actually contributes to you. In other words, does it fill your well? If not, look for what you can give up in your activities. You do not have to do everything, and you do not have to do everything perfectly.
- Take another look at your goals and priorities. Are they aligned with the values in your life? If not, look for what changes you can make.
- Learn to set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. I think taking on too much for others sets us up for burnout.
- Put “me” time in your calendar. You need to slow down, take a break, take care of yourself. This could be meditating, writing in your journal, doing art that is not business focused.
- Take a break from technology. Limit your time on technology. Better yet, set a time when you will totally disconnect at the end of the day. I think that too much time surfing online, particularly with social media, sets you up for comparing yourself with what others are doing. This can lead to thinking you need to be doing this, too. (Go back and read tips 1 and 2.)
- Since stress is a contributor, learn how to manage it. This could be the “me” time in your calendar or just avoiding the stressor.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, eat healthfully, limit your caffeine and sugar, get enough sleep. Also watch that you do not self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
- Consider a visit to your doctor. What you may think of as stress may actually be a medical issue .
What strategies have you found to deal with impending burnout?