One of the things I found out when I was doing research for Do Less, Get More that impacted me the most was what a huge effect stress has on people — the majority of people report being at least ‘relatively’ unhappy for most of the middle part of their lives and the NHS estimates that 40% of all work-related illness is caused by stress.
Yet, so many of us still fall victim, at least occasionally to seeing our stress like a badge of honour. Working hard all the time is associated with being successful, being wealthy, and with being a high performer.
That’s just bullsh*t.
Enough — this dangerous belief that you have to run yourself into the ground to create a life that you love doesn’t help anyone; in fact, far more often, it just leads to burnout.
I believe we are entering a new era for business and it’s time for a new way of working. Here’s how you can avoid burnout and still run your life and your business on your terms:
Be very clear on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
There’s nothing worse than running yourself ragged working on something you don’t really want, so make sure that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. If your big why isn’t aligned with your values, then it will be really easy for you to burn out.
Focus on your one thing.
If you try to do everything, you won’t accomplish anything properly. So spend the majority of your energy doing the one thing you’re naturally amazing at, and outsource other tasks as much as you can. Of course you probably won’t be able to get rid of every task that’s not your forte … but as much as you can, stick to the things that you’re best at.
Do things other than work.
This seems incredibly obvious, but if you don’t actively develop hobbies, an exercise routine, or anything that’s not work and also not taking care of your family, then it becomes really easy to always carry your work around with you in the back of your mind. It’s important to find things that you really enjoy doing and that can really absorb your attention — and there’s no right or wrong answer as to what that is for you! For instance, I would hate knitting to relax. But TRX training? Sign me up!
Take care of yourself physically.
It’s amazing how much a difference your physical activity and surroundings make to your work. Having a regular exercise routine, even if it’s just taking a walk every day for 20 minutes, will help clear your head and keep your energy levels up. And don’t forget about your workspace. Get rid of any clutter, get as much natural light in as you possibly can, and surround yourself with things that inspire you.
And if you do feel burnout coming on … get out!
Take a break, even if it’s just for 24 hours. There is no business in the world that will fall apart just because someone steps back for a day or two, so no matter how stressed you’re feeling, you’ve got to take time for yourself when you need it. Investing the time to take care of yourself when you’re starting to burn out will give you huge returns on your productivity, not to mention your happiness, so don’t try to just push through the tough parts — ask for some help!
I’d love to know … what are your best tips and strategies for avoiding burnout?