Can Leaders Avoid Burnout

By |Published On: May 2, 2011|
matches in a row, one match is burnt

I recently read an article about how “high achievers” can overcome burnout. It assumed (and I happen to agree) that people who work at a fast pace and under significant stress (call them leaders) can sometimes tire from their work and if they don’t deal with the exhaustion properly, may become ineffective.

Overcoming burnout at work

man writing on a paper the words burnout or balance

In order to avoid or overcome burnout you have to be aware of what increases your level of stress during your working day and what steps you should take to reduce that or try to manage it more effectively.

A few of the author’s suggestions for overcoming burnout included:

1. Delegate more.
2. Take breaks between big projects.
3. Control your electronic devices (turn them off more often)
4. Socialize with people outside your work life.

I think these are all good suggestions. Not sure I can do all of them – especially turning off the devices – I find myself checking email on my phone at the strangest places sometimes; my daughter’s soccer games, while at stop lights, and even on the way out of church this morning.

Rethink how you are managing your time

An open agenda and half of the computer showing time, 14.47 hrsAnother subject I think it’s incredibly important when you’re a leader is not to confused “being busy” with the lack of time management. Time management is a crucial skill for any leader. Most leaders have many responsibilities, many tasks to accomplish daily and weekly, and many people reporting to them. As a result of the economic challenges many businesses have faced over the last few years, leaders are now challenged to do even more with limited resources and, of course, limited time. It is also confused at times with multitasking, which is the performance of more than one task at the same time and topic that we’ve discussed in the past. Can leaders really be effective while multitasking?

When symptoms of burnout start to arise, many individuals focus on short-term solutions like taking a vacation as a way to cope. This will help short-time but it’s not rooting out the problem. By this point is necessary to focus on strategists that will have a deeper impact and create different habits.

Our personal suggestions for overcoming burnout

After having read several articles, speaking with colleagues, having my own personal work experience, and researching about how leaders lead balanced lives and how they handle adversity, these are the points that I can share to overcome burnout:

Find something you enjoy doing and do it often. I love to play golf and basketball. I try to hit balls on the driving range or play basketball instead of eating lunch a few times a week.
2. Do something physical. Most of us get burned out mentally but physically we haven’t even exercised our body. Go for a run or a bike ride. Lift weights. Do something to break a sweat.
3. Go home one night and force yourself not to even think about work. Find a good book (that has nothing to do with work) and read it.
4. Go for a long walk.

Please feel free to share your own personal tricks to avoid burnout and how your deal with time management. Would love to read!

One Comment

  1. Steve Rausch May 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Great advice Rick, I find that concentrating on flying my airplane mandates that I forget everything else going on in my life, that could apply to many other (cheaper) hobbies. Anything that gets your mind totally off of the day’s normal activities and completely focused on what you are doing right then and now. For me it means total relaxation even though I am focused and working hard on flying the plane.

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