If you’re running a growing business, then you know that it takes hard work and dedication to see it succeed. As days turn to weeks, and weeks turn to months, we see ourselves becoming very busy — with meetings, client calls, projects, travels, and team training consuming our working hours, not to mention the fact that it often gets stretched until late. The price of success? A toll on time and mental strength.
Being always overworked should not be something you should just accept as a condition of your job. It should be something that you need to know and work out on so you can avoid it in the future.
How do you know if you’re experiencing burnout? And how can you overcome it?
How Do You Know You’re Burned Out?
These are the five signs you need to watch out for in order to tell if you’re extremely tired at work and probably need a break.
- You’re irritable. When you’re overworked, you have little patience for all things mundane, which can be a cause of conflict between you and your employees.
- You’re becoming forgetful. Because there’s so much on your mind, you tend to forget things and find it difficult to think clearly. Stress hinders our capacity to take in new memories.
- You isolate yourself from others. If you notice that you’re creating distance from others, you’re probably stressed out. Burned-out leaders don’t have the emotional and mental capacity to have in-depth conversations or even to motivate others.
- You run from new challenges. Solving problems, brainstorming for creative innovations, and new challenges take too much of your mental energy. So you deprive yourself, and the company, the opportunity to learn and grow.
- You are not rested. If you have tried sleeping all day on the weekend only to wake up feeling more tired — or worse, you had difficulty staying asleep — that’s because stress and overwork is messing up your sleep satisfaction.
Proactive Ways to Avoid Burnout
Burnout is a physical or mental collapse due to overwork or stress. To avoid this occupational hazard, here are simple practices you can do right now.
1. Take short regular breaks during the day
The goal is to keep your mind fresh and focused. So if you’re in the middle of deep work, step back for 5 minutes after 25 minutes of real work.
At lunch, make sure to eat away from your desk. At the end of the day, perhaps you can book a time to get a massage or hit the gym to relieve yourself of the workday stresses.
2. Take control of your schedule
Establish — and most importantly, stick to — a routine in your week. Reserve a time to do regular, routine tasks — like admin work, paperwork sign-offs, and returning phone calls. Do this while also leaving room for flexibility to address urgent matters when they come.
The more you have control over how you go about your day, the less stressed you are likely to feel. If you haven’t already, use Google Calendar or the like so you get a clear picture of what your day looks like and it will be easier for you to manage your workday.
3. Take advantage of your hidden down time
While travelling to your next client meeting that’s 30 minutes away from your office, make use of that 30-minute window to review your presentation notes or make a business call.
Maximising your downtime saves you from unnecessary stresses. There are only so many minutes in a workday, so consider these moments as time-savers.
4. Have a support system, professionally and personally, you’ll actually listen to
Seek out mentors — those who’ve “been there and done that”. Know their insights and their perspectives. Discover how they deal with workplace challenges. Pick on their brains (in the proper manner), and know their thoughts on issues that concern you at work.
You can achieve this by joining an organisation that brings together leaders and provides leadership and business coaching, like The Executive Connection. From there, you can know about their struggles and victories and take inspiration from them.
A Business Leader’s Winning Mindset
Whenever life brings in wave upon crashing wave of challenges, be proactive, not reactive. Being reactive is when each wave catches you by surprise. This causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress.
On the other hand, being proactive means anticipating the waves and being in tune with them. In the face of physical and mental challenges in the business, a leader with a proactive mindset stands superior.