She has now experienced burnout and is I'm glad to say on the way to recovery.
So on with the article...
Shine Bright but Don't Over Do It
I make no apologies for going on about balance and optimizing your performance rather than maximizing it.
I've seen the damage first hand that taking on too much can do. And I've seen it with my clients too.
BUT, being busy is a great thing right?
Most of the time that position is a great one to be in (especially if you're self-employed or want to be seen as capable to your employer) but equally - sometimes not!
You see, I've seen too many fab people take on too much and ultimately burnout.
Capable people are always in demand, and unless you know when to shut off that intake valve, you too could be heading that way.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is when the energy levels that you've tried so hard to maintain for so long finally give in.
It's not just tiredness or mild fatigue.
It's a mind-numbing and befuddling feeling that you have nothing left to give.
You might even paradoxically experience insomnia as your mind goes over and over all the things you're supposed to be doing but haven't got the energy for.
Your motivation dips along with your energy levels as your body and mind work together to give you the hint.
Time to slow down!
So, How Do We Prevent Burnout?
You can, of course, mitigate the symptoms of burnout with all kinds of methods such as meditation, eating well and exercise.
BUT ultimately, if you're using up more than you're putting in both physically and emotionally you will burnout.
It's time to hit the pause button.
We need to take some time to re-assess where our energy is going and where it might be imbalanced with what we're putting in.
Some ideas to help you keep a check on your energy levels
- Take a look at your working hours over the last month or two. If you're averaging more than 40 hours per week you're probably not doing your best work all that time. Here's an interesting article on this that quotes the latest research which shows that working over 40 hours per week is less productive and likely to be damaging: https://medium.com/@andrewmerle/this-is-how-many-hours-you-should-really-be-working-ff1e8a6ad958
- How much time are you spending out socializing with friends? This one is a bit paradoxical as social contact is one of the things that can re-energize us but equally can be draining your energy if you're working long hours too. Are you burning the candle at both ends?
- Are you sleeping well? As I mentioned above, sometimes having too much on your plate can leave your mind exhausted but unable to switch off. Sleep is important, so make sure you're getting enough.
- Are you eating more junk than usual? It may sound daft, but eating poorly on the run is a sure sign that you're both doing too much (and not having time to sit down and eat prop nutritious food) and that you're overworked.
How Can We Prevent Burnout?
As well as looking after your energy levels there is a range of things you can do to prevent burnout.
Here are a few ideas to get you started...
- Keep a journal. If you've read any of my other articles, you'll know I love journaling; it's simply the easiest way to keep a track of how you're feeling, what's working and what's not. (You can sign up for my free Journaling for Success online program using my 1-page template here)
- Delegate anything you can - outsource it if you're self-employed. If you are an employer or a manager remember you've got staff there for a reason. Use them! And if you can't trust yourself to do so, ask yourself why you employed them in the first place. ( A wee side note here; perfectionism and lack of trust are 2 major causes of people not being able to delegate. Ask yourself if that might be the case and adjust accordingly)
- Dump anything that doesn't serve you right now. Ditch the late nights for a while. Get rid of work that doesn't require your expertise or doesn't pay enough. If you're lucky enough to be inundated you're probably not get getting paid enough! Get rid of low-value work in favor of better-paying projects. If you're employed and thinking that won't work for me - remember - capable people are always in demand.
- Defer; Put some people/projects off to another day when you will have time/energy for it. Prioritizing what you need over the FOMO is going to be better for you in the long run.
- Get over the scarcity mindset: Both employed people and self-employed can suffer from the view that they can't say no to a project or task as they may never be asked again, or that there won't be enough work out there in the future. AS I've said before, capable people will ALWAYS be in demand. Learn your value in this world and you'll see that you have a lot to offer. (You can start right now by downloading my free Personal Fabness Audit from the homepage of my site.)
I'll wrap up with a warning about listening to anyone who talks about maximizing your performance/output.
Maximising is ok in the short term BUT optimising is for long term success
As always if you feel you need any help with any of the issues raised in this article, please feel free to book a FREE Breakthrough Clarity call to find your way to your optimal success without the stress