I see you working so hard over there!
You’re hustling nonstop every single day to get stuff done…how’s that goin’ for ya?
Maybe it feels utterly exhausting, draining, gruelling. Like you’re constantly trying to keep all the balls in the air, and if you stop for even a moment they’ll all come crashing down.
Isn’t it supposed to feel exciting and energizing to work towards your goals and dreams? Not like a daily grind where you can barely keep up?
When we work nonstop or pull ourselves in too many different directions, burnout can happen.
Here are 3 common causes of burnout and how to get your sanity and sense of balance again.
1) Unrealistic Expectations
This is about expecting yourself to, and choosing to do #allthethings.
You just keep adding more and more to your plate. You have so many amazing ideas, tons of inspiration, love helping others, want to try and experiment with so many new opportunities and projects….
But you end up overcommitting, until you feel weary, depleted and maybe even unappreciated – you’re doing and giving so much and no one seems to notice. And sometimes you can’t even follow through on what you’ve promised yourself and others you’d do, because you’re stretched so thin.
You might think “I am a strong and independent woman – I should be able to do it all!” or “It would seem weak / unprofessional / embarrassing / ________ [fill in the blank], if I didn’t do all these things myself!”
But imagine a friend of yours was putting all of these expectations on themselves. What would you say to them about their constant push to do more and more, to the point of exhaustion and not being able to keep their promises? Hmmm…
How to manage expectations
—> Look at each thing on your to-do list and ask:
- What are you telling yourself you “should”, “must” or “have to” do?
- Why is it so absolute?
- Why are you doing it in the first place?
- Is it actually necessary for you to do this?
- Is it possible that you don’t need to do the thing?
—> Delegate and outsource those things that you don’t like to do or aren’t good at. Allowing others to help you with these things is going to relieve you of a huge burden and open up more time and space for you to work on your area of expertise, and the things you love doing most. Not to mention give you more down time!
—> Set realistic timelines and deadlines for yourself. Consider how much time you actually have to complete something, while taking your other obligations, commitments and goals into account.
2) Aiming For Perfection
Aiming for perfection is a natural extension of setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Ideas, projects and to-do’s keep piling up, as you’re stuck still working out, planning, tweaking and revising that one thing over, and over…and over, again.
#truthbomb: there’s no such thing as perfection. It’s all in our head.
Perfection is a subjective idea that’s really about thinking everything is more important than it really is. Being imperfect is human and relatable – who the heck do you know that’s truly and utterly perfect?
Even something that you feel is 80% done can change a life, provide support or otherwise help someone. Don’t hold back on helping friend, colleague, client or fellow human, just because you think it’s not perfect or good enough.
Remember that we’re always our own worst critic, and others almost never see the “imperfections” that we do. They’re usually just happy and grateful to have what we’ve given them.
And everything can always be tweaked, improved or enhanced later on. I’m not saying save the perfection for another day – the point is to only do this when you get constructive and honest feedback from others about how you can improve things for the receiver.
Instead of trying for perfect, do this instead:
—> You may feel like you have a really good reason for perfecting things (ie: “I just care about excellence and quality!”), but consider your answers to these questions honestly:
- What is your own personal definition of “perfect”?
- What does being “perfect” give you? What do you get out of it?
- Consider if it’s 80% done, is that OK?
- If it’s not OK, what is the worst case scenario? What’s the outcome of not being perfect?
- Who else’s opinion matters here? Why?
—> Set good, better, best goals. No matter which one you reach, celebrate your accomplishments and all you’ve done!
- Best: Let the “best” goal be your perfect and ideal goal. You’d be bursting with #allthefeels and screaming from the rooftops at the outcome.
- Better: You’d be super stoked with the outcome of your “better” goal, knowing that it’s at about 80% and putting it out there is helping others and that’s the most important thing.
- Good: A “good” goal means you’re satisfied with the outcome, and done is better than perfect. You can move on to the next project or goal, knowing that you can always come back later, when you have time, to tweak, adjust or rework it (only if necessary!)
3) Lack Of Boundaries
When we’re not clear about what we want, how we want things to look and what’s important to us, things can get harry.
Other’s priorities and demands end up dominating our day, taking up more and more of our schedule and to-do list. Because what we’re willing and not willing to do is fuzzy, we lose control of our time and end up reacting to whatever happens to come up.
Boundary setting 101
—> Define how you want things to look:
- How do you want your days to flow? Consider business and personal.
- How do you want to be spending your time?
- What are your priorities?
- Remember what you’re working towards and why, so you can plan, structure and manage your days the way you want to.
—> Say no more often. With a clear picture of how you want things to look, it will become easier to identify what and who you want to say “no” to.
If you’ve always said “yes”, saying “no” can be a challenge. Start with one small thing (like checking your email every 2 hours, instead of every 5 minutes) and build from there. Check out my Say No More Often blog post for more how-to’s on this 😉
—> Schedule personal, family, fun, social and down time in your calendar. Without the fun, relaxing, down time, you’re ultimately going to be less productive and get less done (plus it’s just unhealthy!)
Get that fun and personal time in your calendar, because it’s just as important as everything else. Take it seriously, commit yourself to it, and don’t let anyone take that time away from you – schedule your work around it!