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The surprising benefits of being a person who burns out easily

The surprising benefits of being a person who burns out easily

All work and no play? With stress levels at an all time high, many of us have experienced the devastating effects of burning out. Burnout can crop up in a variety of different forms and it isn’t pretty when it strikes.

When you’re burned out you might feel high levels of stress and anxiety, have low energy and be exhausted, and feel like there’s “never enough time.” You may have increased negative feelings, feel overwhelmed, be irritable, and lack motivation. In severe situations you may even stop taking care of yourself, have trouble focusing, and experience a range of health issues.

But the good news is the exact traits that make you likely to burnout can actually be incredible assets…so long as you keep them in check.

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Learning to harness these strengths without overdoing it is the key to success, or what I like to call leaning in without burning out.

In the 1980s, Dr. Herbert Freudenberger was the first person to describe the syndrome known as burnout. Through his years of work with high-achieving patients, he uncovered the type of person most likely to burnout.

Here are the 4 traits common among those that suffer from burnout.

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1. You’re a goal focused overachiever.

Once you set a goal you’re tenacious about achieving it and nothing can get in your way. You’re capable of moving mountains when you’re focused and have your goal in sight.

2. You can always be counted on to do more than your fair share, no matter how busy you are.

You’re a team player, always thinking about what you can give and how you can help out. No matter how jam packed your schedule is, you always do your part and sometimes even fill in for others.

3. You’re a leader who has a hard time admitting limitations.

You’re effective at rallying the troops, and getting people to see that there is a way and that there is always hope. You rarely think of any challenges as insurmountable, and believe with enough effort you can do whatever you put your mind to.

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4. You push yourself hard and get results.

You know how to keep your eye on the prize and realize that hard work and dedication is required to accomplish anything meaningful.

In order to maximize your strengths and the enormous benefits of being an overachiever vulnerable to burnout, you’ll want to practice these 3 proven methods to add some space into your life and routine.

Here are 3 methods for keeping yourself from the edge of burnout.

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1. Practice meditation and mindfulness so you enjoy the journey and aren’t solely focused on the goal.

Start with a small, but daily, commitment to meditation. If you commit to just one, two, or five minutes each day, you are much more likely to stick with it. There are plenty of free meditation challenges available online to help you get started.

2. Take time to rest and recharge, especially remembering to double down when times are “crazy busy.”

It’s one thing to be in the zone, but if you notice you’re not getting up to get a glass of water, stretch your legs or use the restroom at least once every 90-120 minutes, you are putting unnecessary strain on your body.

When you notice that your schedule is starting to get maxed out, make a point to block off time on your calendar for self-care and treat it like an important meeting that you must attend. Your self-care activity should be rejuvenating, such as going for a hike, taking a bath, getting a massage, cooking a healthy meal for yourself, reading inspirational books, being in nature, taking a yoga class, working with a life coach, etc.

3. Practice self-compassion, and remember you’re only human.

Self-compassion is being kind and understanding toward yourself when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Practicing self-compassion is proven to boost your willpower so you’ll be more effective and feel great. You can practice self-compassion as a meditation, by thinking of a situation in your life that is difficult, and then saying the following phrases to yourself: “This is a moment of suffering. Everyone struggles, I’m only human. May I be kind to myself. May I give myself the compassion I need.”

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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