In this fast-paced and demanding world, where certainty seems to be elusive and we are being asked to do more with less, it's increasingly likely that you may begin to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. However, it's crucial to prioritise our well-being, and take steps to avoid reaching that breaking point. Here are some practical steps to help you prevent overwhelm and burnout:
1. Manage your time effectively: Time is always a resource we feel we don't have enough of, and it's true to say we do only have 24hours in a day! Time management therefore is key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Begin by identifying your A list priorities and breaking down your tasks into manageable sized chunks. Utilise tools such as calendars, to-do lists, or even some of the easily available productivity apps to stay organised and focused.
2. Prioritise and delegate: Not everything on your to-do list is equally important. Learn to prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance. Use the Urgent / Important matrix to help you to allocate the correct importance to all that you need to achieve. (If you don't know what I mean by this, drop me a note in comments and I'll send you the tool!) Delegate tasks when possible to lighten your workload and empower others to contribute. Don't be afraid to delegate unpopular, dreary tasks to others if your time could be better spent elsewhere.
3. Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid checking work emails or engaging in work-related activities outside of designated hours. Creating this separation helps foster a healthier work-life balance and prevents burnout. This is, of course, more difficult in this era of hybrid working, however it is even more vital to create appropriate boundaries to avoid dropping back into 'work mode' as soon as you find yourself with some 'free' time, E.g when the kids go to bed, or after dinner!
4. Learn to say no: we think that by saying 'no' when asked to do something, we run the risk of upsetting people, or breaking the bond of a relationship. On the contrary, if your main focus is to preserve the relationship, rapport has been built, and you have created an environment of openness and honesty, it's important to say 'no' if you're priorities lie elsewhere. If your boss asks you to do something which takes you away from your key focus area, share your priorities with them and check with them to establish if they would like you to shift your focus, which may of course mean that you won't get other key things done. There is a saying 'Your yes means nothing, until you can say No'!
4. Practice mindfulness: Take a moment to breathe and be present. Mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help reduce stress and increase focus. Incorporate short breaks throughout your day to reset and recharge.
5. Engage in physical exercise: Regular physical activity is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it's going for a walk, practicing yoga, or hitting the gym, and make it a part of your daily routine.
6. Seek support: Don't be afraid to ask for help when needed. Reach out to colleagues, peers, friends, your coach, for support and guidance. Having a strong support system can provide valuable perspective and help alleviate the burden of overwhelm. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of self awareness and vulnerability, honesty and courage which opens up the opportunity for others to follow suit.
7. Take breaks and vacations: Allow yourself time to rest and recharge. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to step away from your work and engage in activities that allow you to have some down time. Additionally, plan and take vacations to disconnect from work entirely and focus on self-care. Leave your work phone, and laptop at home .. get used to setting your 'out of office' notification.
Remember, preventing overwhelm and burnout is not a one-time fix but an ongoing process. Regularly assess your workload, boundaries, and well-being to make necessary adjustments. Prioritise self-care and ensure you're dedicating time to activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. By implementing these steps, you'll be better equipped to manage your time, maintain work-life balance, and ultimately avoid overwhelm and burnout.
If you are having difficulties with any of the above, do feel free to take advantage of my 20 minute complimentary conversation and we can have a chat about what's working and not working for you.
This is your life, take charge of it. Don't wait for someone else to make a change for you, they're busy working on their own stuff!