5 Tips To Help You Avoid Burnout

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

Author Anne Hellen Anderson just wrote the book on Millennial Burnout. Compound that burnout with a global pandemic and it is simply a recipe for some insane times. I spoke a bit about burnout in a recent podcast episode, check it out here.

You should also check out this recent episode of On The Media where Anne Hellen Anderson speaks at length about what she calls The Burnout Generation.

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid burnout:

  1. Control what you can control. Whether it’s the pandemic, our unstable political system, our even our ability to work, there are many things are beyond our control. Try to keep your focus on those things that are within your power.
    Tip: As crazy as this sounds, try going on a low-information diet for the next five days. Don’t look at your twitter feed, avoid your online news source and forget watching the news. You might even try one of the many apps that help you limit your social media use. Instead, limit yourself to 5–10 minutes a day to check one reliable source for your news updates and call it a day. The news cycle doesn’t change that much over a period of 24 hours so I can easily get a quick update from my chosen news source in a shortened amount of time before diving back into my work.
  2. Focus on your productivity: One great way to avoid burnout is to take a look at your level of productivity. My productivity suffers when I try to do too much and ultimately get spread too thin. In extreme situations, I burnout, which moves me in the opposite direction from where I’d like to be going in regards to my productivity.
    Tip: Productivity happens when you come up with a plan and stick with it. For me, it’s not about working more, it’s about working smarter. If you’re feeling the effects of burnout and you don’t feel particularly productive, it’s time to hit the pause button and figure out why the work isn’t getting done. This article by Josh Spencer is a great place to start. I also recently created a checklist to help twenty-somethings like you stay motivated and productive. Check it out here.
  3. You deserve that drink: One of the biggest reasons I suffer from burnout is when my income doesn’t meet my financial needs, which forces me to cut spending (or go into debt) in order to make ends meet. The very things that help me avoid burnout are the first to go when I try to balance my budget.
    Tip: An occasional cup of coffee from Starbucks or a beer with a friend at a local bar isn’t going to be the reason you ultimately struggle financially. Quite often, these small moments of joy are the things that keep me from burning out in the first place. Stop worrying about the things that cost less than $10 and instead establish a “joy” line in your budget and reserve funds for things that bring you joy and, more importantly, help you avoid burnout.
  4. Lean into your tribe: I often notice that individuals who suffer from burnout feel isolated and overwhelmed by work. Establishing some ground rules that allow you to take a break from work in order to spend time with your tribe can play an incredibly important role in avoiding burnout.
    Tip: Your tribe can be the family you go home to, or simply your group of close friends. Regardless of how you define them, prioritize them for the next week and see if it helps you shift away from burnout. Especially during a pandemic, human contact is one of the most important ways to find balance.
  5. Recenter why you’re doing this: So often, I work with individuals who suffer from burnout because their expectations for what should happen in their work and life aren’t matching what is happening in reality. This is especially true today.
    Tip: Ask yourself this question: Do you find your current work meaningful? If yes, why do you feel this way? Jot your answers down on a piece of paper. If you don’t find your current work meaningful, why not? What do you need to do in order to find meaning within your work? Jot that down as well. Finally, where are you finding meaning in other parts of your life? Jot those down as well. Your goal here is to identify those meaningful reasons why you are on the path you’re on.

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Nate Zeisler

Nate Zeisler

My newsletter, 5 Tips For The Unrelenting Creative provides practical, tactical tips for creatives. Subscribe here: https://nathanielzeisler.com/subscribe/