Simple Tricks Top Executives & Managers Use to Avoid Burnout
In the day to day tasks of work and life, regardless of position or status, you are subject to potentially experience the exhausting effects of burnout. Burnout can be described as "A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations." – Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson.
This state of exhaustion and confusion is always a result of our actions - or lack thereof - so it should come to no one's surprise that making changes in the way you organise and plan your day can reduce the risk of experiencing burnout. This is why we created a list of the most important tricks top executives use to make the most of their day while avoiding burnout.
Get enough sleep
Sleep has been shown time and time again to play a huge role in both our cognitive function and decision-making mechanisms. This means that having a satisfactory amount of sleep alone, could potentially stop you from experiencing burnout and increase your effectiveness both at work and at home. Coupled with a balanced diet, sleep is the easiest way to regain your energy levels.
Even though exercise is really nourishing for your body, it has also been found to reduce stress and increase your energy levels. The chemicals released in your brain while exercising help you relax and prepare you to get back to work more concentrated and focused.
Meditate in the morning
Meditation, while misunderstood by many, has found itself at the top of most executives lists. It is the most common self care strategy among top performers. Even though there are many types of meditation, mindfulness meditation has the ability to clear your mind and prepare you to take on every day's new challenges. You achieve that by having a single point of focus such as your breath or the sounds around you, which forces your thoughts and stresses to leave your conscious thinking space and enter a state of rumination, further processing the information and coming up with solutions.
Remove toxic people
On many occasions, our relationships are what causes us stress and burnout. Even though running away from your problems is not a good solution, many times when others are involved, walking out of a relationship is the only solution. You are not able to control others or their actions but you have the ability to control your reactions and emotional responses. If a relationship is what causes you to function badly, focus on your own happiness, and move on.
In our professional lives, where we might need to work with toxic people, Larry Kim gives us "tips to deal with toxic people in the workplace" in this article.
Give to others
There are many ways to give to others. You can spend time with them, help them solve a problem they are facing, or just simply pick up some healthy snacks on your way. What all of these shares in common is the amazing benefits of giving. Providing for someone can temporarily fill us with accomplishment, connection, and a sense of belonging, all of which are essential to a healthy social life.
Schedule your breaks
Taking breaks both from work and your social life is important. If you don’t spend time with yourself, you will not be able to process the day to day information you are acquiring. This resolves to overwhelm and later on, burnout. Scheduling your breaks can help you avoid this. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly breaks are as important to schedule as meetings and dental appointments. This is especially important in these times of remote working.
Reimagine your purpose
Feeling unfulfilled by your job is very likely to cause burnout. Work is meant to provide us with more than just money. If you feel like your needs are not met by your job then you should try and reimagine the reasons and purpose of the work you are doing. Even though it’s challenging, changing your perspective can make a big difference.
Communicate your needs
Good communication is crucial in any kind of social situation. At work, poor communication can result in overloading our schedule with meetings, projects, and overdue deadlines. Making sure, to be honest, and clear about the amount of work you are able to take on at any given time, reduces your risk of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
Focus on happiness
On both a professional and personal level, many of us tend to be focused on the results of our actions such as money, products, and services, while we often overlook how important it is to focus on our happiness and satisfaction. Spending more time on your happiness as well as the people around you, will provide you with a strong sense of direction and help you make better and more confident decisions. In addition, it is likely to completely bypass many of the problems that cause burnout.
Prioritise when you can
Prioritising according to urgency and importance is the easiest way to organise your projects and ideas. Avoiding burnout is easy if you have an order for everything you need to do. You just start.
Compartmentalisation is a technique that is mostly used by people who are forced to wear many different hats throughout the day. Mastering this technique will allow you to take the role necessary for the action at hand while leaving everything else temporarily to the side. This will also help you have more meaningful relationships with the people around you as you will be leaving your work hat at the door.
Limit your time
The effects of setting time limits on everything you do can be seen both in your work and personal life. Deadlines are a great motivator for many projects and a healthy level of stress caused by the deadline can even push some people to create their best work. Time limits can also be used as an expiration date. You can set a date after which you are allowed to stop working on something which means if the project proves too time-consuming or does not fulfill your expectations, you have an exit strategy. This will also stop you from quitting too early. Finally limiting your time can help you organise your day better and allow you to spend more time on the things that matter to you the most.
Make time for things you enjoy
Of course, what a better way to let off some steam and relax than spending time on an activity you enjoy. Having time for fun and relaxation is really important for your mental health. As they say, “Work hard, play hard”. Just don’t forget to have some rest.
Stick to a good routine
As creatures of habit, we tend to repeat behaviours on a daily basis according to cues in our environment. Carefully changing and engineering these cues and behaviours can make a massive difference between waking up tired and lost and waking up rested with a sense of direction and purpose. This can be crafted through setting good routines that you can rely upon daily.
Learn to manage stress
Stress management can be done in many ways such as taking part in various activities, spending time with friends, or having some ‘me’ time. Find out what works for you and regularly at it to your schedule/ routine to continuously manage and regulate your stress level. Healthy stress can help motivate you towards a goal but chronic stress will only hold you back.
Additional facts about burnout
A 2013 survey of human resource directors in the United Kingdom found that nearly 30% reported that burnout was widespread within their organization.
The World Health Organization has a new definition of Occupational Burnout: “A syndrome resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed.” This new definition of burnout will be published in the International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11, which will go into effect in January 2022.
Nearly 70 percent of professionals believe their employers are not doing enough to prevent or overcome burnout within the organization.
Our writers spent 48 hours researching for simple and practical tips to avoid executive burnout. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.