How do you avoid burnout? It was a question I was asked recently. And honestly, I had to actually think about it. 🤔
Like most things in life, we each know that we handle certain decisions, scenarios, or events that come our way. We handle the daily actually. But many times we don’t really think about them long enough to identify a pattern of HOW we handle them. It’s like when someone says “how are you so disciplined?” and you think to yourself, “I don’t know any other way.” Right? It’s simply who you are. For me, understanding how to avoid burnout is sort of like the “because I don’t know any other way than the way I do it” answer. So I had to think about it.
And I will be candid, I am not always great at avoiding burnout. I’m still working on it. But what I realized when I was thinking through this answer is that I have gotten better at limiting my chances of putting myself in burnout situations. Lightbulb! That is what this episode focuses on. What situations have you been in in the past, and how do you avoid that in the future to therefore avoid burnout?
For me, it’s things like:
–Having a team of people who focus on the tasks so I can focus on the thought leadership aspects of the business that fulfill me.
–When finding an issue or a project that needs to get done, plan it out, don’t just start “getting it done.”
–Map out the functions that need to be done and work on those functions over several days/weeks/months, etc. vs. 24 hours a day for 3 days straight. Acknowledge that the work doesn’t have to be completed in only 3 days, that nothing “bad” will happen if we pace the work out.
–Identify and name the “true fires” that could present themselves in my business so I know when I absolutely have to roll up my sleeves and pitch in versus letting my team tackle the work. And once I identify those fires, I still put plans in place to decompress, spend time with family/friends, and therefore not live and breathe that project for that full period of time.
Because to me, burnout happens when I get so fully immersed in a project or task (an unfulfilling task), that I eliminate all other aspects of my life. I don’t move around, I don’t eat, I don’t read, I don’t sleep well, I delay family and friend time until after the project is complete, etc. I’m like a kid “Oh, just one more game, Mom!”
But when I give myself permission to do “just one more”, what did I just do to myself? I have made myself focus on a task that isn’t fulfilling to me AND I eliminated all of the other pieces of my life that fulfill me outside of work. So that is how burnout happens to me. I’m not getting replenished by anything in my life at that point, because I’m not allowing it to happen. Now that I know that, the plans I put into place specifically prevent me from allowing that happen going forward. Again, lightbulb moment!
So when you ask yourself the question: how do you avoid burnout, you need to first ask yourself what situations cause you to burnout in the first place. What do you do that causes burnout in your life? Identify those patterns of behavior and set yourself up to avoid those patterns in the future. I believe this is a “work in progress” activity for most of us. At least for me!