Simple strategies I use to prevent career burnout
I am not just a coach. I am a full time employee at an organization I love, where I manage a large team, oversee operations, and serve on the leadership team. I also have a high energy mini Aussie who is just over a year old who needs loads of attention, as well as an amazing husband of almost 12 years. And this is on top of my other goals of working out, eating healthy meals, having a social life, and maintaining strong family connections. All this to say, I stay pretty busy!
Given that I help women prevent career burnout, I am constantly thinking of new ways to be more efficient, to say no more often, and to live more intentionally.
Here are a few things I’m trying now to help me find more time and create more space in my life, to help prevent career burnout:
1. Minimizing distractions
I hate to say it, but we live in a world built to distract us: mostly in order to get us to want more and to buy more (which then makes us have to work more to afford it all…ugh!!). Over the last month I’ve been doing two things to minimize some of these distractions in my life:
- I’ve been using the Freedom app to block distracting websites and applications. You can set this up in two ways: You can create recurring sessions, like if you want to block them each night from 8-10 pm so you can focus on your family or your goals. Or you can start a session and choose how long it will be; this is particularly helpful if you want to focus in on an important task.
- I am keeping my phone in the other room when I’m at home. Did you know that just having your phone in the room with you reduces your focus — even if it’s off?! Most of us don’t need to be glued to our phones all the time. I was recently listening to an episode of the podcast “What’s This Tao All About?”, where host Tod Perry told a story about quality TV time with his wife — where the phones were on the other side of the room. And of course, the jokes ensued, because when did phone-free TV-watching become quality time?! Ha! It’s crazy to think about how our relationships with our phones have changed everything in our lives!
2. Hiring a Virtual Assistant
I have spent YEARS thinking I could do all of this work on my own. But I have BIG goals, and you know what big goals require? An investment. Not just an investment of money, but also of time, soul, and attention. And I needed help to get back more of my time and attention so I can focus on my business’s #1 priority: providing value for my coaching clients and potential clients.
When I was spending time creating images and formatting blog posts, it was taking time away from that priority. Plus, I get to support another entrepreneur and small business while helping myself; it’s a win-win.
Is there an area of your life you can delegate? Do you need a housecleaning service? A dog walker? To use InstaCart to deliver your groceries? How much is an hour worth to you? And for you entrepreneurs — how much do you charge for an hour of your time? Does it make more sense to get that hour back? Really consider how much your time is worth.
3. The Curly Girl Method
I know what you might be thinking: What does this have to do with burnout? But if you have wavy or curly hair and you live somewhere with high humidity (like me), it can take a LOT of time and energy to straighten your hair.
In mid-April, I decided to stop straightening and follow the Curly Girl Method, meaning no sulphates or silicones and no straightening/heat tools. Now again, what does this have to do with preventing burnout?
It saves me time. Period.
I’m also no longer worried about what my hair is going to look like once I got outside. And bonus: I have never in my life been able to go a second day without washing my hair, and now I can wash it every other day. When I wore it straight, I had to wash every day. Again, time saved (not to mention water and hair products!).
And finally, it’s part of just embracing who I naturally am. I have curly hair! And it’s actually kind of amazing! I have my first Devacut this week, and I’m so excited to see what my hair will look like in a year’s time of treating it so well!
and the one thing I’m giving up?
I am over feeling guilty about not working long hours or on the weekends. I was promoted seven months ago, and immediately found that my mindset had changed around work — completely unintentionally! — and I was staying later and doing some work on the weekends.
Just because I’m a coach doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to the same old school work BS that has a tendency to creep in. Luckily, I spend a lot of time being intentional and thinking about whether I’m living in a way that gets me what I truly desire. Working all the time doesn’t give me that! Not to mention, productivity goes down with increased hours, not up.
I’m now leaving work at a normal hour, being more productive while I’m at work, and not logging in on the weekends. And I’m much happier for it!
Don’t believe the lies; working more hours doesn’t mean you’re more valuable or effective. It generally means you’re more inefficient and prone to make mistakes.
If you can lessen distraction, find more focus, and hone in on the real priorities at work, you’ll be loads ahead of your peers AND you can work less hours.