I was in my mid-20s the first time I went to see a doctor about how tired I was all the time. I was 99% sure, based off of an internet search (which is always dependable, right) that I had a thyroid issue. He looked at me after listening to my list of side-effects and said, “You’re working too much. Maybe don’t work 70 hours a week and see how that goes.”
I didn’t listen to him, built a successful insurance business that generated $50 million in premiums, and then officially burnt out at age thirty-three. I was able to walk away from my career gracefully because I achieved what I had set out to do, but I was just so tired.
If I had managed my energy correctly and followed a smarter plan, a completely different story could have been written. I now follow my Sustainability Formula and coach clients to do the same so they can have fulfilling and sustainable success. In my book Beyond the Board: How to Achieve Your Vision Board Goals in a Fulfilling and Sustainable Way, I walk you through both formulas.
But let’s talk about the Burnout Formula:
Work Hard + Play Hard = Fall Hard
There are mantras being thrown around “work hard, play hard!” with no mention of resting. The problem with burnout isn’t that people go all-in. It’s that they don’t rest and fill up their tanks. Success is the new addiction and the more addicted we get to it, the more accolades and attention is thrown our way. We don’t define what success is to us and so we end up working hard for other’s validation, playing hard to compete with the social media comparison game, and wonder why we aren’t happy or have any energy for our loved ones.
Working hard and playing hard are not bad or wrong. What causes burnout is when we forget to rest hard. We fall hard when we don’t take time to observe if our plan of attack is still working, and how we can level up so that we aren’t bored and just going through the motions.
Some tips on how to avoid the Burnout Formula:
- Work hard doing your most important work at your most energetic time of the day. For example, mornings are my best critical thinking time, and that’s when I have all my client calls and do my writing. Work smart so you can be more effective. “Get your work done and live your life” is one of my favorite mantras.
- Play, but realize that it doesn’t need to be extreme. Vacations and exotic experiences aren’t the only ways to play. You can find simple things to do that bring you joy and don’t cost a lot of time or money.
- Take time to rest. Resting can mean 5-15 minutes of mediation or prayer, or even a quick walk outside. Skip a few social functions; you won’t die because you missed out. Say no to things you don’t want to do anyway. (No means Yes in this situation.)
Create a game plan today that will incorporate your work, play, and rest. You’ll find yourself able to do more, and be more fulfilled in the process.