Ask the Coach: I am finding myself overworked, stressed and exhausted. How do I avoid burnout?

June 15th, 2018

Burnout can be a common challenge among employees, managers, leaders and business owners. Left undealt with it can wreak havoc on you, your family and your work. The good news is that if you can recognize it, you can deal with it. Here are some ideas to help you sort through the situation and change it for the better.

1. Self-awareness begins the process
Remember the saying “you can’t change something you aren’t aware of?” – well that applies here. The keys to knowing you are burning out are your stress level (emotional and physical symptoms), your attitude (are you cynical, critical, or disengaged?), lack satisfaction or energy, or just plain don’t want to be there? Your body will give you clues, however you will only see those clues if you are paying attention. Physical and emotional changes are a sign to pay attention to.

2. Prioritize yourself
Often when under stress, we work longer or ‘harder’. Put yourself first at this time to help you prioritize, manage your stress and remain clear on what’s important. Take a dedicated amount of time every day (1/2 hour or 1 hour in the morning/evening) to do something for yourself. This could include exercise, journaling, reading – it’s whatever will help you focus on something else, relax and reset your mind.

3. Prioritize your day
During times like these it is also very important to take a few minutes each day to prioritize your day. What is most important? Keep it simple with a list. Whatever sorting you use, the end result is deciding what you’re saying yes to that day, and more importantly what you’re saying no to or choosing to deal with later.No one gets any more time than someone else – the day is 24 hours for everyone. We make choices all day long about what we do with our time. During times of stress and burnout it is even more important that you think through your choices and choose what you are saying yes to and no to. It’s easy to add to our plate, but it’s a lot more effective if we make room for it beforehand. Lastly, remember that doing nothing is a choice and often the one with the biggest consequences.

4. Assemble support
Assemble a support team for yourself. Who can you go to for advice or help? Who can you delegate or engage to help? What options or solutions have you not considered? What beliefs do you have that are limiting your options? What if……………?

5. Get real
We (our ego included) often have a way of rationalizing or pretending things are different than they really are. Burnout and stress could be telling you something – maybe it’s time to get real about what’s really getting in your way.
Is there a decision you’re avoiding that is making things worse or allowing a problem to continue?
Are you over or under matched for the job or skill?
Have you made a decision that isn’t working out as planned?
Asking yourself the tough questions and getting real will help a great deal in solving the underlying problem.

For more career, sales, and leadership advice please contact our coaches
Joe Micallef – Sales Coach – email, or call (773) 329 0066
Donna Flynn – Career/Management Coach – email, or call (630) 624-4319