Struggling with burnout?
You’re not alone.
Burnout is a very real problem for many professionals, but it can be especially prevalent among female executives. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some strategies for overcoming burnout and getting your career back on track so you can finally start enjoying the success you’ve worked hard for.
First, it’s important to understand what burnout is and how it can manifest itself. Burnout is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that can be caused by prolonged stress. When you’re burned out, you may feel like you’re unable to keep up with the demands of your job. You may also feel cynical or negative about your career, and you may have a hard time finding the motivation to continue working. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take proactive steps to overcome your burnout.
When you’re beginning to feel apathetic and self-critical in your position and dream of an escape, it may seem like better controlling your time is an easy solution. Many time-management tools promise to help improve your productivity and, in turn, reduce some of the stress that causes burnout. However, this is rarely the case. While calendar management and time blocking are effective strategies to an extent, they are not good long-term solutions for avoiding burnout.
What is Time Blocking
It almost goes without saying, being able to manage a calendar is essential for professional women with huge careers & even busier lives. With many meetings, tasks, and deadlines to meet each day, many individuals turn to time blocks to help them during the working day.
This popular time management technique is as straightforward as it sounds. Individuals block out a chunk of time on their calendars to focus on one task. This may be spending fifteen minutes on a specific task such as answering emails, or longer periods, like 2-4 hours, dedicated to deep work on a specific project.
Essentially, time blocking is meant to help individuals get through both smaller tasks and important projects during the day by dedicating periods of time to work on them. With tools like Google Calendar, it’s even easier than ever to break up days into different blocks of time.
Why Does Time Blocking Fail for Overcoming Burnout
While blocking time and color coding tasks can feel like the pinnacle of organization, it often doesn’t help with productivity or burnout in the long term. According to BBC, time blocking is a short-term solution because it focuses on pursuing productivity for its own sake – which is often counterproductive.
As an executive, your schedule is often more unpredictable than not. The self-imposed pressure to spend a certain amount of time on different tasks can be adding to your stress. Especially when an unexpected but important phone call or deadline comes up during the day.
Similarly, BBC explains that uncritical productivity often makes people lose track of their real motivations. This goes hand in hand with burnout, creating a negative cycle that can feel difficult to escape.
Also, when you’re in the throes of fighting burnout these strategies are often too rigid. Feeling like you have to stick to a strict schedule can actually lead to more stress and anxiety. And, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you need is another thing to worry about.
**Instead of following a rigid schedule, try being more flexible with your time. This will allow you to better manage your workload and avoid feeling burned out.
Another reason why these methods don’t work is that they don’t take into account your personal life. If you have young children at home, for example, you may not be able to stick to a 9-5 work schedule. In this case, time blocking can actually make it harder for you to get your work done. Instead of trying to fit your work into a set time frame, try to work around your personal life. This will help you be more productive and avoid burnout.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help or better yet identify areas you can resource yourself. Take a look at all the tasks that eat into your time with an eye towards outsourcing any work that doesn’t have to be done by you. For example, hiring a housekeeper to help keep your house tidy takes tasks off of your plate freeing up precious time.
So, What Works for Burnout?
If you’re beginning to feel the effects of burnout, it’s time to put down the calendar management tips and advocate for yourself and your time. As a woman, especially, it can be easy to continue to do more and more work to prove yourself as an essential team member. Time blocks don’t help with this feeling.
Instead, you need to recognize your value for what you bring to an organization as a whole, not by how much you can cram into a day. Your knowledge, skills, and expertise can simply not be measured by a calendar.
While calendar management is an important skill to have, it’s important to not lean on time blocks to counter burnout. Find a method that works for you and ensure there’s no trade-off between your career and your personal life.
One way to avoid trade-offs is to make sure you make space in your life for activities that are unrelated to work and that can help you relax and recharge. Don’t underestimate an afternoon off to enjoy lunch with a friend or the power of an hour-long spin cycle session after work.
This leads me to my next point which is, to avoid burnout, you have to take superb care of yourself physically. This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. When you’re physically healthy, you’ll be better able to handle the stress of your job.
I hope this helps you see that if you’re struggling with career burnout – there are things you can do to get back on track. By taking some time for yourself, prioritizing your health, and resourcing yourself, you can overcome burnout and finally enjoy your success.
Learn more about effective strategies for overcoming burnout and how to revitalize your career in our latest masterclass.