Most cubicle driven offices give their close-to-indentured-servant employees free coffee, hot water and if they are lucky a small powdered package of hot chocolate. Many of us who lived in drip coffee cube land adopted the creative daily routine of making a “poor man’s mocha”. The recipe is simple – bitter sometimes burned drip coffee that has been kept semi-warm for over five hours, mixed in with highly processed artificially flavored hot chocolate mix, stir in gently, sip and pretend you are living through a Zombie apocalypse – that will somehow settle in your soul making your drink tolerable.
Once upon a time in a far off land there was a belief that working hard at a job for as many years as you could stand then retiring = happiness. Yes, there are cases where this is still true. However, the curse of that assumption was broken by entrepreneurs. Their ambition, big ideas and action taking attitudes is the kind of magic I believe in. That magic is what many startups, small business and self employed people have found gives them a satisfying job and allows them to have a life full of twists and turns keeping them on their toes.
For those poor souls who have adopted the poor man’s mochas, find themselves in meetings preparing for the next meeting, and are begining to resemble a zombie clocking in then groaning they are suffering from burnout.
This is not a rare condition, and from my research 90% of people say they at one time or another suffered from burnout. The other 10% – they are liars.
Draining yourself to the point of burnout is avoidable.
Feeling stuck in a soon-to-be-burnout inducing situation isn’t mandatory. Whether you are working a 9 to 5 job, living the startup life, or juggling a mix of family pat yourself on the back and breath. You are doing a great job! However, it is time to refresh
- Get away and review
- Schedule regular and small breaks
- Hang out with Family
- Lock down a vacation
- Do something outrageous
5 ways to avoid burnout at work by CNN Money
Ever notice how an oddly irregular day that shakes up the routine snaps you out of a rut? A little whirlwind can put things into perspective and spark what I call the cure to burnout: curiosity.
It might be time to signup for an REI Adventure, read The Art of Non-Conformity or do some deep cleaning of randomness. While the saying “light a fire in your heart” sounds fancy, it’s really more like light a fire in your head. What gets you thinking? You might be surprised to find your curiosity leads to doors opening in more directions than you thought possible. It starts with a inquisitive positive thought which leads to bright eyes, a refreshed perspective and attitude.
“To make it to the top, you will have to put in long hours. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer used to put in 130-hour workweeks at Google, including regular all-nighters in which she slept under her desk. She managed to avoid burnout by being invested in — and keeping a positive attitude toward — her work. As she told Joseph Walker, “I don’t really believe in burnout. A lot of people work really hard for decades and decades, like Winston Churchill and Einstein . . . Burnout is about resentment. It’s about knowing what matters to you so much that if you don’t get it that you’re resentful.” – 3 Ways Successful Women Entrepreneurs Apply Work Ethic, Liz Strauss at Successful Blog
When burnout has consumed you, time for an action plan:
“If you are feeling stressed out or exhausted, this means it’s time to pull back, recharge, and consolidate your energy. Scattering your energy all over the place is unproductive and will cause you more harm than good.” ~ Tonya Sheridan, Life Coach
- Check in: What is it exactly that is causing you to resent your work? If you find your blood pressure from the throbbing vein in your forehead you might want to do this after you have relaxed. That is why bubble bath was invented.
- Step back: Take a deep breath and put on your “outsider” hat. Taking a different perspective might give you some clues on how you can approach the situation differently.
- Pick out an element: Is there one particular element to your work that gets you out of bed in the morning? Maybe you love planning events, speak up and you might find yourself told to start setting dates, booking venues and picking out decorations.
- Pros/Cons: Make the pen talk. Two columns pros and cons – ready go! This can really help you decide to make some BIG decisions.
- Life balance: Are you balancing heads down time with R&R? Remember your time and energy are limited. Don’t wind yourself up so tight and spread yourself so thin that other things aren’t enjoyable anymore. Put a recurring breakfast date on the calendar with a great friend. Book a weekly time to get out and about, even if it is just an hour or so of Library perusing.
- Set boundaries. Stop glorifying being busy. Set aside time to tend to those things that spark your interests. Twelve hours rarely if ever mean twelve hours of productive time. Learn how and when you work best, don’t add in extra hours that you end up being an internet-surfing-office zombie.
- Change your mantra. Or adopt one. If you find yourself saying and thinking, “this is malarkey” time to your inner voice. Think, “Things are tough, but I have got what it takes to make it work!” or “I am capable of making positive change, and that’s what I am going to do.”
While the easy way out of feeling drained, squeezed and burned out is to quit. However, the attitude of “Fine! I am taking my ball and going home. I am NEVER going to share again!” is not how you got to where you are now. So, if you have found yourself stuck in a rut, check in, step back and phone a friend. You might find that something might just be in the air and you aren’t the only one feeling the squeeze. A fresh perspective with curiosity at its core will give you a breathe of fresh air, new ideas and new opportunities.