How to Avoid Burnout Before It Happens
Do you ever find yourself excited about a new goal, project or job……..so much so that you become a little obsessed with it? To the point of burnout?
Of course, you want to succeed, and you find yourself continually thinking about all the things you need to do to – D-O–I-T–W-E-L-L.
So, you immerse yourself in the project, finding you have little time for anything else.
Months of concentrated focus and thinking, go by, and you start to see the warning signs of fatigue.
You can’t remember the last time you went out with friends or did something relaxing like walking on the beach. For no other reason than to excite and stimulate your senses.
Your energy levels are so depleted, and you feel drained and emotionally exhausted.
You think to yourself – What is it going to take for me to stop repeating this cycle of feeling burnout?
Here are a few things that I have learnt along the way that might help you the next time you find yourself becoming obsessed to the point of burnout.
Preventative Measure to Avoid Burnout
1. All Parts Make Up The Whole
We have different areas of our life that are essential to our being.
Looking after our body, feeding it nourishing foods, drinking clean water and getting the right amount of exercise and rest is imperative to our physical wellbeing.
The same goes with stimulating our mind, paying attention to its health, learning new things and allowing for adequate rest.
Other areas include connection and love, family and friends, personal and emotional growth.
While we might put some of these things on hold for a while, they are necessary for optimum functioning.
TIP: Make a note of what is needed, essential and pleasurable in your life and schedule them into your week.
Keeping these areas in balance will assist with high energy levels and a healthy mindset.
2. Take Some Time To Plan
Excitement to start can sometimes make us forget about the planning stage of a project.
When we see the bigger picture, then chunk it down into areas and then into manageable tasks, we have a better idea of where our energy will be best spent.
Without this bigger view, you might waste time going around in circles. Or spend time on things that don’t significantly impact what you want to achieve.
TIP #Get a big sheet of paper and write down your goal in the middle.
Think of the main areas you need to work on to achieve your target and write them around the goal in categories.
For each category, think of the specific things you need to do to successfully complete it.
Write them down under each category.
Now you can ascertain what needs to get done first, second and so on. Establish the deadline and work backwards time blocking into your calendar.
3. Schedule Your Week in Advance
This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many of us don’t do it effectively.
You may have heard of Parkinson’s law; it’s a term that states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it.
TIP: At the beginning of each week, assign your tasks for each of the days you are planning to work.
Allocate specific time requirements along with adequate breaks.
Remove any distractions and stay inflow.
4. Set Clear Boundaries
When starting a new job or project, we often use a lot of mental energy learning and getting acquainted with the role and tasks required.
Recognising and accommodating for interruptions can help you achieve what you need to within the time you have assigned.
This could be setting certain hours in the day where you meet with colleagues, answering questions and emails, checking and responding to social media.
Having set times, keeps distractions from breaking your concentration, so you woulnt have to work back late or take work home.
Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life ensures there is quality time spent adequately in both.
Determine where there could be possible bleeding of one area into another. Such as texting with a work colleague most of the night when you ‘re supposed to be watching a movie with your family or having dinner with friends.
TIP: Once you have set your boundaries, don’t forget to share it with others.
You may need to repeat the same sentence a few times, but it will eventually sink in, and you will get the desired results.
5. Opt for Quality Time.
This is effective when you have other responsibilities such as children, or family reliant on you.
When you sit down to work on your project, give it all your focus but make a pact with yourself so you will leave it there at your work desk when you finish.
It might take a little reminding but just keep telling yourself
“I have left that for tomorrow when I will come back refreshed”.
(Let’s face it, when you don’t give your mind a rest by thinking about something different, you could be wasting time going over the same thing.
Causing unnecessary fatigue, contributing to burnout.
6. Make a List of Actions That Recharge You Battery
This should be part of your maintenance strategy, not left as a coping strategy.
So, when you are scheduling your week, sprinkle some of these ideas into your calendar too.
It may include, meditating, adding to your daily gratitude journal, listening to an aspiring speaker. Enjoying quiet time reading your favourite book, watching a movie, connecting with friends that make you laugh, cooking. And the list goes on.
Being committed is one thing. But being obsessed to the extent that the rest of your life goes on hold might be at the expense of your health and relationships.
So, take the time to be mindful and try it out.
Being more intentional with how one spends their time and focus is essential to a healthy lifestyle and can help eliminate burnout.