Knowing when you’re about to burn out is not easy. It requires experience and for you to know yourself well.
After years of different entrepreneurial endeavors, burnout and I have become close friends, in fact, we see each other quite frequently.
The problem was that it always took me by surprise, I missed the signs of its proximity, and I paid a great deal for it. It often cost me days, and sometimes weeks of not doing any actual work.
And depending on how bad the burnout was, coming back from it was no play in the park.
As people from healthcare already know, prevention is better than cure.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
– Benjamin Franklin
After focusing on getting to know myself better, I was able to determine how I feel when I’m about to burn out. It wasn’t easy, and part of the difficulty was because it isn’t always the same.
You tend to feel tired, it doesn’t matter that you got your eight or more hours of sleep, you’re still exhausted. You depend on your preferred caffeine-packed drink to function and stay awake.
An awesome new project has started, it’s something that you’ve been looking forward to for a while, but all of a sudden it doesn’t excite you anymore. You find yourself making excuses and procrastinating.
Everything seems gloomy, you start complaining more than usual, you swear more often, and you find yourself getting angry out of the blue.
If some of the above situations sound familiar to you, be careful, you might be on the verge of burning out.
The consequences of burning out can damage you and your enterprises a great deal. Do not underestimate it.
At the very least you’ll lose days of work, maybe you won’t stop working at first, but the lack of focus and motivation will make sure you do sooner rather than later.
All those habits and routines you’ve worked so hard to build will go down the drain. You’re too exhausted to be bothered. They won’t be completely gone, but not doing them will set you back from your goals, whatever they are.
People might start avoiding you or getting annoyed by your attitude. They have to deal with their own problems and let’s face it, not many people are close to us to care.
Fortunately dealing with burnout is easier than it is identifying it.
There are multiple ways to deal with it, but it’s always best to dedicate some time each week to prevent it. Especially because it’s your health we’re talking about.
Do activities that relax you, things that aren’t related to your work. Go out and have some fun with friends or family, or just read that book that you’ve been meaning to read for a while.
In my case, I already have a process in place to prevent and deal with burnout, in fact, I just used it this week as I was on the brink of burning out.
Take a step back and relax for a while. I tend to do this one when I’m working, whether it is at my fulltime job or during my writing. If you’ve been stuck for a while making no progress, go take a walk or make some progress on a book, then come back and try to get at it with a clearer mind.
Get a small win before the big one. Sometimes I need a bit of motivation to start working on larger or boring tasks. Finishing a small task that I will enjoy working on will motivate me enough to then continue with the rest. Do not underestimate the power of small wins, sometimes that’s all you need.
Vent. Sometimes we have too much on our plate, and all we need is someone to listen to us. Meet with your partner, a friend or a family member, and share with them what you’re going through.
Write. This is exactly what I’m doing right now as part of my process. You don’t need someone else to vent, you can also write. If your writing is a rant and provides no value, it’s okay, just don’t publish it straight away. Writing will help you order your thoughts and see things for how they are.
Take a day off. If nothing else works, it might mean you’re already burnt out, and if you don’t do something about it, it’ll just get worse. So take a day or a couple off, you’ll come back recharged and ready to crush those dreaded tasks.
Learning how to detect and deal with burnout is crucial to achieving success, I can’t remember how many times I’ve burnt out, but I am well aware of how much it has cost me.
If you find yourself burning out too often, focus on getting to know yourself better, learning to identify when you’re about to burn out will pay off.
Don’t let things get out of hand. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by how much work you have, learn how to prioritise and focus on the few tasks that will yield the most value.
This is your health we’re talking about, burning out takes a toll from you, doing it frequently might cost you too much.
My process is still evolving, and as I mentioned earlier no situation is the same. So tell me, what do you do to avoid burning out?