(Originally written for The Concept Agency)
It’s been a busy week. You closed eight sales, you sorted out your marketing strategy for the next quarter, you researched three potential vendors, and you FINALLY finished completely re-organizing your filing system. You’re feeling really productive right now, right?
What if I recommended that your next step is to do NOTHING AT ALL?
“That’s crazy!” you might tell me. “I’m on a roll! I need to DO ALL THE THINGS!”
I totally get it, I do. I used to be the Queen of the Workoholics. You could find me in front of my laptop at 9pm most nights, finalizing projects or brainstorming new ones.
And yes—I got a lot done.
For a while.
YOUR BRAIN IS A MUSCLE
Even the most musclebound gym rats know that you can’t keep working the same muscle group day after day without taking a break. Imagine if every day were leg day—you think you’d be able to walk after about a week of that, let alone lift any more weight?
Rest days are actually a vital part of your workout. They let your muscles take a break to recharge, rebuild, and get ready for the next round of work.
You need to start giving your brain the same consideration!
BEWARE OF BURNOUT
Feeling tired? Overwhelmed? Unmotivated? Maybe even a little depressed?
Congratulations, my friend! You’re experiencing burnout!
Burnout happens when you’ve worked too hard for too long without taking any downtime. Everyone’s brain is different. Some people can work for a week and a half straight without needing a break, while other people need to take some time for themselves almost daily. There is no universal answer for how often you should take a break—that is totally between you and your brain!
4 DAILY TIPS FOR BEATING BURNOUT
It’s not always possible to take a day off when you need to, especially for solo business owners or entrepreneurs. And that’s okay! There are still small things that you can do each day to combat productivity fatigue!
Establish an evening wind-down routine. Stop bringing your laptop to bed with you. In fact, start shutting it off an hour or so before you tuck yourself in. That hour is YOUR hour now! Use it however you like—take a bath with scented candles. Do some yoga. Read a book, make some art, call a friend, pet a cat. Do whatever it is that relaxes you! And guard this time—if you can avoid dealing with unexpected work emergencies until the next morning, do it. Your evening routine is your mini rest day from now on.
Enjoy your meals. Instead of working through lunch, put away your papers and actually enjoy your meal. No more dripping burrito sauce on your keyboard. No more mindlessly munching your rice bowl while writing emails. Bonus points if you can actually get out of your workspace and eat outside (or at least in a different area!)
Get human contact. Being stuck in front of your computer all day every day can drive you bananas. If you’re usually working from home by yourself, try working from a cafe for a few hours. Or call a friend for a brief chat. Or even make a Tinder date (no judgment here!) The point is that humans are SOCIAL creatures. Yes, even introverts! Make a point to enjoy some social time a few times per week. Isolation is not your friend!
Sleep well. People tend to brag about how little sleep they get as a way of proving how hardworking they are. I’m here to tell you there is no pride in getting only five hours a night. Do you really think that getting less sleep will help you do your very best work? Quality over quantity is the way to go! Schedule an adequate amount of sleep. I mean it—actually block off that 7 or 8 hour stretch of time in your calendar each night. Your brain will LOVE YOU for it!
Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding burnout? Drop them in the comments below!