Dedicated employees and entrepreneurs brag about working long hours, sleeping less than four hours and avoiding personal life responsibilities. They think all these sacrifices leading them closer to their goals. However, in reality, they are closer to burnout. Burnout- A stage where you may lose your relationships, health and social life. Successful people know whether they are close to achieving their goals or burnout and they also know how to deal with it.
On 6th April 2007, something happened to Arianna Huffington that made her realize that the things that enthusiastic employees and entrepreneurs brag about are not the path to success but disaster.
The day she collapsed from sleep deprivation and exhaustion. She broke her cheekbone and woke up in a pool of blood. Was she going through with some disease? No. She was more dedicated and ambitious than you. Which is why she would work hard while avoiding personal life and ignore good sleep. In result, she burned out and she collapsed. This incident convinced her that burnout is not the path to success.
Arianna started caring herself, sleeping enough and cutting her off to all the electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops a few hours before she goes to sleep. Eventually, she noticed that she became more productive and achieve more in life.
A Gallup study says organizations are facing an employee burnout crisis. Nearly 23% of 7,500 full-time employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. Which is about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. You have to analyse your life if you are going through burnout.
Symptoms of burnout
- You feel exhausted all the time
- When you have a lack of motivation
- Frustration, cynicism and other negative emotions
- Reduction in job performance
- Not taking care of yourself
- Interpersonal problems at home and at work
- Being preoccupied with work … when you’re not at work
- Health problems
Why employees, entrepreneurs and business owners burnout?
Sleep deprivation happens when you are so dedicated and passionate about your work that you compromise your sleep with your work. When you do that you think your productivity is increasing. You are doing more than your colleagues or competitors. However, you live in illusion.
Pat Wadors, erstwhile LinkedIn’s Chief Human Resource Officer in 2015 said, “Trust me, it’s not a badge of honour to brag that you can get by on 4 hours or 5 each night.”
She further said, “you intimate that with fewer hours “wasted on sleep” you are more productive. Nope. Can’t buy that. When you brag about that, you are telling me that it’s ok for you to harm your health and not perform your best at work or at home. Is that something to brag about?”
You work more than what is suitable for your body and brain
Being passionate about your career is good but don’t harm your body and mind. It’s a fashion in companies, especially small ones. Owners/ bosses of the companies force their employees to work more than 10 hours. Might be because of two reasons: They don’t know how to handle more work and they also don’t want to invest in more employees for the works they have. I think that is the reason some small companies never grow.
“I didn’t have to be on my BlackBerry from my first moment in the morning to my last moment at night. I didn’t have to eat the majority of my meals at my desk. I didn’t have to fly overnight to a meeting in Europe on my birthday. I now believe that I could have made it to a similar place with at least some better version of a personal life.” Erin Callan, the former CFO of Lehman Brothers, writes in 2013 New York Times.
She would always put work before her family, friends and marriage — which ended just a few years later.
Successful people know this very well that is they don’t compromise on their sleep and relationships even though they are more passionate and successful than you. Dig into the life of successful people and you will get to know. It is not that they don’t work hard but they balance work-life while achieving more in their profession and making their relationship better than you.
Sometimes you have to spend more time on work and you lose some sleep and quality time with family. Which is quite understood and manageable if you are equalizing it by spending quality time with family and having good sleep when you need it. However, don’t try to win one while losing another or else you will lose both eventually.
The above two reasons are enough to know the reasons behind Burnout. It is obvious that if you are working 24/7 while ignoring good sleep, relationships and personal care you are going to get burnout. Now if you want to know how to avoid burnout then keep reading. If you think that you can’t succeed without burnout then go back and read the above discussion once again.
How to avoid burnout?
Take break religiously
There are two types of breaks. One is that you cut off from work and go on a trip for 2-3 days. Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy quality time with family. The other one is to take breaks while you are at work. At work, you can follow 60/10 or 90/10 rule. The rules say that you work for 60 or 90 minutes without any distraction and then take 10 minutes break. I mostly follow 90/10 rules but you can follow what suits you. This will help you to ward off burnout.
Listen to your mental chatter
Listen to yourself. There is a voice in you that tells you when to hold on and keep the work aside for a moment. If your brain is telling you that you need a break or you want some different environment then listen to it. If you ignore it you will be inflicted with burnout unknowingly. Always pay attention to your mental chatter.
Change your language
Sometimes it is not work but it is the language you use to address your work that invites burnout. Majority of you complain about work so much that you don’t want to spend even a single extra minute once the office-hour is over. Even if you don’t have much work during office-hour. It is because you don’t like your job.
In this case, you either have to find the job that you love or love the job you have. You need to be positive and passionate about your work to avoid burnout. Some time burn-out (no fire/ passion for work) is the reason for burnout.
Unplug at the end of the day
Being passionate about work is good but everything related to work needs to be unplugged for some time. You might have experienced that a short break or a change of environment help to find a solution that you were not able to figure out while working extensively. It is because your mind needs some break for refreshment that helps the brain work better.
Our body, as well as the brain, need some rest for re-energize at the end of the day. Unplug yourself every evening from all the devices and work. Involve in a family discussion, support your mother or wife in kitchen or go for a walk.
Figure out your purpose in life
Your purpose in life can save you from burnout forever. For instance, if your purpose is to write a book and get it publish then you will not burnout if you work even 10 hours a day while following 60/10 or 90/10 rules. Remember that, earning huge money should not be your only purpose. You need happiness in life. This can only be possible when you have a better relationship with family, chasing your purpose in life and exploring the world as per your will.
Become autonomous in your life
It is a little hard for employees but you need some sort of autonomous in your life. Nowadays we have handed over the key to our life to bosses and companies. That is why we face burnout, anxiety and some time depression. You have to make your own rule that aligns to your purpose in life and make sure you don’t allow anyone to break that rules. For instance, if your rule is to not to work on Sundays but your boss is asking you to work every Sundays then ask him or her to hand over the work to someone else. Become autonomous in your life.
Studies have confirmed the positive correlation between exercise and a reduction of psychological stress. Outdoor exercise is strongly associated with increased energy and revitalization, as well as decreased confusion, anger, depression, and tension. Make sure you go for morning or evening walk, hitting the gym or join a badminton team to play every day.
Do what you love or follow your hobby
You have to do what you love or love what you do to avoid burnout. However, if you are not able to do one of the two then figure out your hobbies and follow it after your office hours. For instance, if you love reading then make sure that you are reading for one hour every single day. This will make you happy. If you love spending time with friends then plan for a get together every now and then after office hours. If you do what you love you will rejuvenate every single day.
Change work environment
Changing your work environment like working remotely for some time can help to prevent burnout. If you are working in a company then get permission to work from out of the office and go some other place that can help you to immerse in nature while working. remote employees are not necessarily required to work a strict set of hours. They have broken out of the 9-5 shackles and live in a world where the lines between personal and professional are a bit blurred. Travelling and experiencing new countries and cultures can be a better way to deal with burnout.
Meditate and pray every day
It is a well-known fact that chronic stress negatively affects both the body and the mind. Meditation and prayer can help mitigate stress by promoting relaxation and helping you let go of daily worries. It also increases positive feelings and tolerance. Prayer is one of the best practices to avoid any kind of stress and frustration that lead to burnout because you connect to God and share your worries. You leave everything in God that is not in your hand. Practice meditation and prayer every single day.
Get better sleep
Sleep gives the body and mind a chance to heal from the day and to rejuvenate for the coming day. Better sleep can play a vital role to avoid burnout. You should get 6-8 hours sleep every single night and small nap in the day, especially after lunch.
Stop worrying and be happy
You have to choose one- either change the situation or leave the situation to God if it is out of control. This is the formulae for a happy life. If you are happy and away from all the worries then you are less likely to invite burnout in your life. You should read the book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Start saying no that is less relevant to you
Take it easy and say no to things that are not aligned to your goals so that you can focus on things are relevant to you. This will give you free time to spend with nature, sleep and be happy about a better life. That is the reason successful people say no to many things that they think are relevant to them.
Many are facing burnout while striving hard to succeed and compete in life. Follow the above remedies to prevent burnout before it gets too late.