Burnout can feel like a never-ending cycle. Most creatives run their energy reserves dry, hit a wall, and then suddenly go on vacation. After some mai tais and instagramming, they return with fresh energy and hit the ground running. The problem with that approach is that it’s not a sustainable one. After hitting burnout and finding a bit of recovery, the best thing you can do for yourself is take the time to establish new ways of working that will help you avoid it in the future.
1. Get to know your energy levels.
We all have things that help “fill up our tank” and create more energy throughout our day. There’s also the things that we need to get done that can be a huge drain. What activities and tasks create energy for you? What depletes your energy? It’s important to track these over time and make sure you’re getting a mix of both so that you’re not draining your energy reserves too quickly. For instance, if one-on-ones are very energy depleting, can you reduce the number you complete in a single day and balance it out with more energizing activities? If you’re not sure about your energy creation and depletion,, take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on how your day went. Mark each activity as a + or - to start to get a better sense of what works for you.
2. Establish and commit to resilience practices.
Some of us bounce back from adversity and stress far more quickly than others, but often it’s because of the resilience we’ve built up over time. Investing in activities like quality sleep, regular exercise and meditation are critical in long-term resilient individuals. A lot of creatives find solo making time to also be a really important activity to build resilience.
3. Hire a coach or find an accountability partner.
One of the biggest challenges with any change is sticking to it. Coaches are a great advocate and partner in establishing structures to help you move forward and achieve your goals. Or, find a buddy at work that can check in and help you stay aligned with the new boundaries you’ve set for yourself.
4. Establish regular check-ins and communication with your manager.
As you start to get a better hold on what works for you, start to establish a line of communication around what you’re learning. Together you should be able to find some solutions that will help you maintain your boundaries all while shipping awesome stuff.