Sizzle, Don't Fizzle: Work Hard But Avoid Burnout
Hard work is a good thing. But sometimes it can be too much of a good thing! So how do you find the right balance? Try these seven tips:
1. Schedule regular social activities.
Remember when you used to spend time with people outside of work? You watched movies, ate meals, played games and went on trips. You were active and you had fun! Regain some of that emotional fulfillment by contacting some of your old pals and scheduling regular activities. It doesn't need to be anything crazy. Sure, bungee jumping off the Hoover Dam would be fun, but a monthly brunch with people you don't see every day will do just fine.
2. Follow a fitness plan.
Don't give up exercise in order to sit in a chair and work for an extra hour. If you want to avoid burnout, resurrect that New Year's resolution and figure out what it takes to get you exercising on a regular basis. Exercise has been proven not only to strengthen your body, but to make you smarter!
3. Write a manifesto.
Do you know what you want out of life? It's easy to lose track of time and forget our priorities. To bring back your focus, write a manifesto, a declaration of purpose, for yourself. Why? Stepping back and looking at your life as a whole has a way of putting stress into perspective.
4. Ask for help.
This is a tough one, especially if you're a resourceful "I'll-do-it-on-my-own" type of person. But asking for help is actually a sign of strength. And it will get you to a solution faster than you could ever hope to alone.
5. Stop (or at least slow down).
If you're working overtime every week, cut that number to the bare minimum. If possible, work from home one day a week, or take a vacation or leave of absence to give yourself the time needed to decompress, reflect, and reconnect.
6. Embrace a morning ritual.
Are you starting your day on the wrong foot by waking up late, rushing about, and skipping out the door at the last minute? Try slowing down your morning instead. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier than usual and spend the "extra" time sitting in a sunny spot in your living room with a cup of coffee and a good book. Start your day with a focus on taking care of yourself instead of busting out of bed like a bomb squad.
7. Sleep. More.
The world is a much smaller place now than it's ever been. Information is at our fingertips whenever we want it and wherever we happen to be. Time zones blur, allowing us to work with clients in the same city as easily as those on the other side of the world. But we still need sleep, and we rarely get enough. Sleep gives our brains a chance to work out problems and process the information we've absorbed throughout the day. Even if you can function on four or five hours of sleep, how much better would you function on seven or eight hours?