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5 Antidotes for a Burnout

5 Antidotes for a Burnout

Most people don’t like to admit it, but every once in a while we get burnt out. It’s only natural after long periods of being busy with work and fun. A burnout can manifest itself as lack of focus, desire for naps, inability to work for extended periods of time, irritability, and more.

Sometimes it’s in your best long-term interest to take a break from work. Yes, time is money, and it’s always tempting to try and be a hero and get stuff done as soon as possible but working more can actually be detrimental to your productivity in the long-term. It sounds cool and tough to say you’ve been working non-stop for days on end, but the reality is, it’s probably not the smartest way to work.

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Sometimes working less will help you accomplish more. Take a break every once in awhile to re-fuel. Your body and mind NEED that break so you can be function at your very best.

Below are five antidotes for a burnout.

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1. Spend time with friends and family

Spending quality time with friends and family is always fun and important. For many people it provides energy. It allows you to take your mind of the stresses of work and on to fun and relaxing issues. Friends and family can also provide motivation and support to get back to working hard again. Sometimes a little encouragement will help us get out of a slump. Being social and having fun can be a great source of energy.

2. Get a change of scenery

Sometimes a change in physical location is what we need to change our head-space. If you’re in an urban environment, things can be quite chaotic and may be overwhelming for some people after a while. Getting some fresh air in a rural or suburban area every once in a while is very relaxing and can change your frame of mind from the routine.

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3. “Digital detox”

In the age of always-on mobile devices, it’s hard to ever really clear your mind from work. A “digital detox” means zero cellphone or computer usage for at least twenty four hours. You must turn them off and completely check out from work and emails. I was surprised by how strange, yet great this feels. It enables you to truly take a break from work. At the end of the digital detox you’ll be eager to check those email and get back to work.

4. Catch up on sleep

If you’ve been spending a lot of time working, it may be in exchange for sleep time. Lack of sleep can cause burnout. Try giving yourself a day or two to sleep as much as your body asks for. Adjust your schedule so that you can get some sleep, even if it means postponing obligations. Lack of sleep causes lack of focus and you certainely don’t want to be over-fatigued at an important meeting or event.

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5. Preemptive actions

Taking actions to improve energy levels and endurance can help avoid a future burnout. Taking short breaks periodically, before needing a much longer one, can postpone the onset of fatigue. Exercising enough to get energy but not too much to cause more fatigue can be helpful. Sleeping enough and eating well are also great sources of energy. Planning your workload according to how you expect energy levels to be can also be helpful.

Conclusion

Once a burnout takes hold, sometimes the best thing to do is take a break, even if it sacrifices production in the immediate term. The antidotes above can help us refuel, eliminate burnouts, and help us get back to work stronger than ever. I hope the above will help you come back completely rejuvenated and stronger than before!

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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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