Burnout is not something that company leadership is immune to In fact, two out of three full-time workers wrestle with these feelings. The problems that arise when those in charge feel burnout can have a trickle-down effect and negatively impact overall team performance and morale. So, if you’re someone in leadership who wants to avoid a burnout, below are some tips to start executing in your schedule and daily work life.
Set up time to disconnect from work
Yes, you are in charge of multiple things every day, and all the deadlines for all of these projects vary, but you still need to disconnect. Creating a schedule and sticking to it will prevent you from overtaxing yourself. Instituting blackout periods for your full team will ensure that no one interrupts your quiet time, and helps your employees have time to recharge too. But it’s not just a time limit you should set up, you need to log off of work. Yup, put the cellphone down, turn off the computer and walk away from all of it.
However, if you can’t log out of work for extended periods of time, set limits for when you will check your messages. Maybe it’s between 8 and 9 after the kids have gone to bed. Or perhaps on the weekend you give yourself two hours each day to log on to work. But the weekend is meant to be a re-charge time, so turn off the phone notifications and shut down the laptop for some interaction time with people.
Remember to rely on your people
Speaking of people, they can help you out when you’re struggling. Although it’s a little lonely at the top, you still have people you can talk out problems with. It doesn’t matter if it’s your mentor, work buddy or other senior individual, find someone to discuss the hurdles you’re facing to see how they would solve the issue. Or perhaps they have tips for turning off the 24/7 work mentality you’ve become accustomed to.
If you don’t have someone at work to talk with, then find a family member or friend to speak to on a regular basis. It can be your partner, parent, grandparent, neighbor, sports buddy, whoever! Just find someone who will listen and provide answers or advice for how to get through a difficult challenge or know you well enough to shake you out of your downward spiral.
Find me-time if you can’t take a vacation
Vacation time accumulates quickly as you climb up the work ladder. People higher in seniority tend to have more vacation time, but often fail to take it. There are plenty of excuses: on a deadline, my team needs me or it’s not a good time. Throw those justifications out the window. Take your vacation, go to an island, the woods or another country. Just disconnect from work and give your brain a chance to reset and take a break from the daily grind.
However, if you can’t jet off to some place, there are other alternatives. Reward yourself when you hit a big goal or finish a project. Everyone has a local spot they like to spend time at or maybe you have a hobby or activity you had to set aside due to your career. Or maybe it’s just curling up on the couch for a binge watching session or some book reading. Whatever makes you happy, go out and do it. This small time away from work will help you brighten your mood and celebrate the wins.
Put things into perspective
If you’re feeling extremely burnt out from your job or you’ve lost all motivation to go into work, take a step back for a minute. Write a list of things you love most about your job. Client interaction? Team collaboration? Projects you work on? Put it all down on that list and look it over. Things might seem dark right now, but perhaps there’s a chance to get back into the things you like about your job. Meet with your team to see if you can delegate tasks to others to get back to your comfort zone.
But if you find that you don’t have anything on your list or there isn’t a way to get back to doing the tasks that bring you joy, it might be time to make a change. Perhaps this exercise helped you see it’s time to leave your job. Yes, that is very daunting for some people, but continuous growth and development probably led you to this initial leadership position. And if your current job isn’t helping you or has become stale, it’s time to move on.
Feeling burnout as a leader is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you’re overworking yourself. Following any of the ideas mentioned above will help you avoid a full burnout period, and get you back on your feet to job productivity.
Sara Carter is a co-founder of Enlightened Digital, entrepreneur, and Bostonian. She spends her days writing code, chasing her children and/or dog, and perfecting her brownie recipe. You can follow Enlightened Digital on Twitter.