I love goal planning, dreaming, and then totally kicking my goal in the face! (Yeah, I get extreme!) I obsess, I tweak, I tweak again, and then obsess some more. Then there comes that inevitable crash and burn. I don’t want to sew or write. I don’t want to read another article about healthy eating, etc…
I have never been one for doing things in a small way. To quote Gloria from Modern Family, “I live up here!” Living up “here” also means I fall from pretty high-up and the crash is usually hard. I’m working on living somewhere in the middle and trying to only bust out my high energy when it is actually needed. Here are five tips for avoiding burnout:
1. STOP THE “ONE MORE THING” SYNDROME
We are all guilty of saying “Just One More Thing.” I will sew this one last thing, write this one last paragraph, change up this graphic, edit this photo…whatever! We all do it, but for some of us it really doesn’t end with that “one last thing.” We keep going and before we know it is 2:00AM and we are wired/tired like a crackhead. Stop the madness!
If your friend or colleague saw you about to walk out the door, and started in with “oh, could you do one more thing” or “can I ask you a real quick question,” but you know this “thing” is going to cost you two hours. You’d be pretty pissed and resentful. Your body reacts the same way when you do it to yourself.
Respect your sleep, body, brain, creativity, and stop giving into the “one more thing syndrome.”
2. PRIORITIZE AND REMOVE ITEMS YOUR TO-DO LIST
I can hear it, “But Judith what if I really need to get this done?” Then, my answer would be, “Why didn’t you begin with the thing you needed to get done first.” A lot of times our burnout is a result of poor planning. We putter at things that are really unimportant only to frantically attempt to run through the really important stuff. Look at your to-do list and really think about your priorities. Ask yourself:
- Why is this item even on my list?
- Can this be a next week, tomorrow, or next month problem?
- Is their a deadline involved? Is the deadline real or self-imposed?
- Is this item here because I am being a people pleaser?
- Is this item on my list to meet a real need?
I’m sure there are items on your list that really can come off. You don’t need to do “all the things” and you don’t need to do them all in one day.
3. GET RE-INSPIRED
If you are a creative, blogger, sewer, maker, then you understand there comes a time when you hit a block. The ideas won’t come. You hate everything you make. You even go so far as to tear a dress into tiny little pieces after working on it for three hours. (GUILTY!) Put down the project, walk away, and go get re-inspired.
- Take a walk
- Watch a show
- Watch an old movie. (Nothing like an Alfred Hitchcock marathon to get my fashion juices flowing.)
- Meet up with other creatives
- Make Merry
Do whatever you need to do to get the mojo flowing again. Don’t keep pushing through if it is not working because you will definitely fall victim to burnout.
4. LOOK UP
I know this sounds a little like fooey, but sometimes I get so concentrated on my computer, tablet, phone, work table, tiny sewing stitches, that I forget to actually look up. Last week I left my office and looked up at the sky. A thought then occurred to me, “when was the last time I looked up?” I am sure I am not the only one who zones in so hardcore, but it is to my own detriment. Look up from your screen or your work. Take time to look up at the sky. It lends some perspective.
5. GO TO SLEEP
I schedule everything else in my life by half hour increments, but fail to account for sleep. If I really did everything I hoped to do everyday, I would need a 40 hour day. The best way to avoid burnout it is to sleep. Put it down. Come back to it later. Prioritize and organize where you can. After that, go to sleep.
Are you stuck in burnout land? How do you avoid burnout? How do you recover from it? Would love to hear your thoughts!