Tips For Avoiding Burnout

Tips For Avoiding Burnout

Ignoring Burnout Won't Help, But You Can Stop Inviting It In

Can we avoid burnout altogether... forever? Everyone's on their own path, but the best way to find out if you can sidestep the trauma of burnout is dealing with the root cause. Burnout's just misdirected energy — exhausting your connection to what matters and muddling your magick so much that you lose touch with your spirit... 

Start your journey by blending these burnout recovery techniques into your everyday life... before you actually need them. Why wait til they're required? Why wait to carve out time for self reflection? Why wait to say no to all those things that don't serve or suit you?

Recovery techniques are mindfulness by another name. And if they're so effective at helping you recover from the trauma of burnout, just imagine how effective they must be at helping you prevent it in the first place.

Wanting To Have It All Leads To Stress And Burnout

Most people experience burnout as the underlying drivers they set for themselves are based on negative goals. We base our goals on what we don’t want: “I don’t want to work for this company any more”, “I need to get out of debt”, “I’m tired of being single”. Or we base them on comparison: We want somebody else’s business, somebody else’s body, or we’re just trying to keep up. 

Our resolutions don’t resonate with a vision for our own life.

Instead of wanting to have it all which inevitably leads to stress and burnout, I think in terms of ‘life design’ or positive life goals. 

What if you could design the life you want, around the things that are most important to you, using the best you have to offer the world? 

Once you have a blueprint for life based on your value and values, as well as your goals, a better life-flow will naturally follow, giving you less chance of burnout.

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Step 1. Start with values

Just as a business is driven by its vision and values, so is an individual. Your life design will only be satisfying and sustainable for you if it’s designed around your values.

You might already have a favourite exercise for discerning your values. Dig it out and remind yourself. My business coach Emily Diamond uses a simple series of questions: “What do I spend time on?” “What do I spend money on?” “What do I fill my space with?” “Who do I spend my time with?” Answer those questions, then ask yourself the follow-up question: “Why?” Keep asking why until you’ve identified the values that underlie your choices. You’ll know when you’ve hit them.

Step 2. Assess your life satisfaction

To assess whether your life is matched with your values, reflect on how you’re going in each aspect of life. I keep it simple with three areas: Self, Work and Personal. 

Self covers your spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being, happiness and personal growth. Work is about the main thing you do daily--work, study, or parenting--and how you manage your money. Personal is about your family relationships, romance, your friends and close community, and the way you give back to society.

Reflect on each area in turn and rate your level of satisfaction with it. Are you living in alignment with your values in each area? Are you giving the energy you want to each area? Where are the conflicts? What needs to change?

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Step 3. Look for opportunities to blend

Conflict typically happens when elements in each area are competing for your attention. You want to spend more time with your family, but you also want to provide more for them financially. Travel expands your soul, but you’re unwilling to give less attention to the business you love. 

Whenever you feel yourself torn between two things, see if you can find a way to bring them together. I call this ‘blending’. Consider how you could redesign the way your work and personal priorities overlap. Can you host a meeting at your home while everybody’s kids play in the yard? Can you foster business connections in a part of the world you love to travel to, and bring your partner on some trips?

Step 4. Know your value

Knowing your value is about understanding your own skills and strengths, and valuing your time properly. Then you can focus on doing the things where you offer the most value, and let other people fill in the gaps where you don’t bring as much to the table. 

When you have a conflict of priorities, ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time?” You don’t have to cook dinner every night, attend every conference, say ‘yes’ to every speaking request or iron your own clothes. Prioritise the activities where you exercise your maximum value, and let go of the rest.

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Step 5. Communicate expectations

Assessing your values and your value might lead to some really exciting changes in your life. You might schedule more travel into your year,end some toxic relationships or decide to implement a new flexible hours policy at your company. 

Consider the people that need to get on board if these changes are going to work. Think of implementing your personal vision and values the same way you would in an organisation. Your ‘team’ might include your life partner, business partner, close family members, the babysitter and key colleagues and employees.

Have an expectation-setting conversation with the people involved. Express your vision for your life, your business, your family and your relationships. Ask if you can count on their support, and give them space to express their needs too. Make agreements about how you’ll navigate this together moving forward, and promise to keep them until next time you renegotiate.

If change feels overwhelming, frame it as an experiment. Explain that you’d like to try doing your life a bit differently this year, and invite people to try it with you. 

Step 6. Keep hitting the reset button

Periodically sit down to check in on each area of life. You’re allowed to change your goals and priorities as often as you want to (as long as you communicate expectations with the people who are impacted). As circumstances adjust around you, you might need to adjust your behaviour, but you can always operate in line with your values. 

Look out for warning signs that you’re getting off track. Are you feeling burnt out by work you used to love? Are you avoiding relationships that you usually enjoy? Are you making choices you don’t feel good about? 

Don’t fall into the trap of putting personal priorities on the back burner because you’re in a crucial phase with your business or career. Keep a list of activities that rejuvenate you and restore your sense of self, and take regular breaks to do something from the list. It’s counter-intuitive, but investing in the ‘self’ portion of your life is the most important thing you can do for professional success.

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