Every productivity guru is out there to convince us that saying “no” is the only way to get what we truly want. But how much good can this advice do us when we are not pursuing minimalism?
A big part of urban work life and burnout comes not so much from doing more, but from doing more of what we find meaningless. If you are looking at the likes of Michelle Obama to live your purpose and be a maximalist at it, go ahead. But just realize this: You don’t have to say “no” to things to prevent burnout and prioritize well-being.
Here are the top ways to balance burnout and well-being while also saying “yes” to everything that matters to you:
1. Embrace the right things in all spheres of life
When you do what you love most, you thrive. Before professional commitments, say yes to the things that nurture your spirit. From a workout you love to cooking a satisfying meal, these personal passions have the power to transform your energy levels.
But even as you begin focusing on yourself, perhaps you can’t always make room for an extensive activity in the middle of a busy day. In that case, look for things that bring you joy but without the time commitment. Maybe you want to listen to your favorite artists for 20 minutes without any interruptions, or go for a quick walk on the rooftop, just do it.
It is important to go beyond one-offs; pepper your days with micro glimmers, and reserve the longer time-offs for the grander commitments.
2. Own your velocity
A top reason for burnout is because we don’t listen to our body and mind. For example, you may want to take on a certain role or project, but this often needs to happen at your speed and in your own way. There’s no shame in this, even in a professional, corporate environment.
If you are signing up for a project or additional responsibility that is aligned with your role, you are allowed to communicate how you want to go about it. Chances are, your manager will understand this and collaborate with you to arrive at a schedule that works for everyone. It might mean letting go of something else on your plate. Doing so will help you balance your work expectations, ambitions, and even personal limitations.
3. Invest in endurance training
Real heroes aren’t born overnight. It takes years of hard work at all levels, an unflinching focus, and a resolute spirit. Before you take on audacious goals, train your body, mind, and spirit for endurance.
You might even want to consider an endurance mentor or coach. This approach ensures you can see the value in your pursuits even on the toughest days, preventing a breakdown. It also teaches you to identify when you need to take a break, only to resume exactly where you left off instead of feeling burnt out.
4. Set boundaries around external pressure
Ever wondered how iconic leaders seem to do it all and never experience burnout? A huge part of this is because they don’t allow others to pressure them into doing things; at least most of the time.
When you don’t allow someone else to run your day or define what you prioritize, you send a powerful affirmation to yourself. This sets a positive momentum that only gets better and better, fueled by its own invisible force.
5. Surround yourself with relevance
You already know how much the right environment and people matter when it comes to positivity and well-being.
When you want to scale on one or multiple fronts at an outlier’s pace, what you need is energy that’s highly relevant. For instance, if you are your writing your first book while holding a demanding job, just a quiet spot to write and an encouraging set of friends can still cause you to burn out over a period of time. On the other hand, joining an aspiring writers’ community, working out of a buzzing publishing office, and interacting frequently with others from the industry can energize you to a whole new level. So, go as specific as you can with your environment and company while also dealing with demanding goals.
How can you effectively prioritize your tasks?
We explore above how, instead of saying “no” to the work that comes your way, it is important to say “yes” to the right things.
But how do you know what the right things are?
When you’re striving for ambitious goals, the first thing you need to identify is your list of priorities. Just jotting down the things that are on your plate can be a good start as you look to set the right goals.
Now, go through the list and ask yourself this:
- Is this a short-term task or a long-term one? For example: gaining 1000 followers on social media can be a long-term task which can then be broken down into realistic, short-term activities.
- Is this activity helping me in achieving my goal? If your aim is to create a business, but you’re spending far too much time finalizing the text on a single Google Ad, perhaps you need to re-evaluate it’s importance.
- Can this activity be done by someone else? Delegate! It’s the single greatest skill most achievers have. It’s the ability to simply oversee a task without getting their hands dirty, helping their whole team achieve more within less time.
- Is the goal I’ve set realistic? One of the biggest downers when you’ve set ambitious goals is when you don’t achieve your goal in time. So, before you put the goal down on paper, ask yourself this: am I being realistic?
When you’ve set ambitious goals for yourself, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. To ensure you stay on track without feeling burnt out, you need to take it one step at a time. Break down your big goals into smaller milestones.
Exercise focus. In the age of social media and quick dopamine hits, you need to exercise your focus muscle by training yourself to be focused and productive at work. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same is true for any big achievement.
Are you ready to say “yes” to the right things?
In the end, do recognize that you don’t have to choose between all or nothing. When you set out to do more, there will be good and bad days. Respect the journey and have faith. Balance your intent with action and detachment. This will help you see where you need to put more effort, what needs to change, and what should go.
While this might help you gain a better perspective of how to balance burnout and well-being, are you seeing your team struggle with the same problems?
To help your team be more productive and engaged, you need to first identify their pain points. Perhaps they’re bad at prioritizing, or maybe they’re uncomfortable advocating for their personal boundaries.
The first step to creating a business that is fueled by excellence is helping employees reach their full potential. So, send out a quick survey to better spot engagement gaps and understand employee concerns.