You know all about the dangers of burnout. You even know that working too many hours, like multi-tasking, clobbers your productivity. And yet. There's always that one more task that needs finishing, one more email to write, or one more impatient customer or boss who doesn't want to wait till Monday.
So you work a little bit harder, and then a little harder than that, to get it all done. And you do this week after week. Pretty soon you're soured on your job, jittery, sleep-deprived, and irritable both at work and at home. You're suffering from a bad case of burnout. But try as you might, you can't make your job any easier.
Here are the tactics that may help you to push through high-stress times. Try them out, and see if they do help you during your own burnout times:
Don't stint on sleep
Not only does a good night's sleep improve your mood and cognitive ability, it actually helps you grow brain cells. Whereas sleep deprivation is associated with a whole host of mental and physical ailments, and will actually make you age more quickly.
Whatever else you have to forego to accommodate the demands of your crazy job, make sure getting a good night's sleep every night is one of your priorities.
Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is a known mood elevator and stress buster, as well as something that your body needs to remain healthy. There's evidence that a daily two-mile walk can help your cognitive function. So fit some exercise in your schedule every day, or follow Steve Jobs' example and conduct meetings while walking.
Take brief breaks during the day
Even a few minutes between meetings and phone calls will make a big difference. And also, go outside during these breaks. A dose of Vitamin D and fresh air can do a lot of good.
Put a vacation on your calendar
Having a vacation on your calendar will give you something to look forward to. And as the date approaches, resist any temptation to reschedule. Taking a vacation will give your mind a rest. You might be surprised at how reinvigorated and inspired you'll be getting back to work.
Schedule evening and weekend activities
This will give your week some variety--it won't all be about your job. Extra points if your off-hours activities involve other people you care about, such as your spouse, partner, kids, or friends.
Have times when your mobile devices are off or out of sight
There are many great reasons to turn off your mobile phone and put away your tablet during at least some of your off hour.
Attend a seminar or conference
When you're feeling played out at work is a great time to head to an industry conference, or entrepreneur's event. Being around other like-minded entrepreneurs can inspire you.
Join a group
Join an organization of those in a similar situation as you, you'll have the encouragement and support of your peers in good times and bad.
Review your accomplishments regularly
If you keep a drawer full of cards and a folder on your computer with emails you've received from clients over the years and read their praises and testimonials about your work will remind you of your purpose. Oftentimes, it re-engages you.