Avoid burnout: Make time for yourself before summer ends

Burnout can hit any of us at any time in our careers. It is easy in our society and in our lines of work to let summer sail past without sitting in one beach chair, taking one vacation with our families, or spending quality time with our kids before they start back at school. Was it that warm outside? Chances are we did not notice.  

If you swapped the desk chair for a beach chair, I am glad to hear it. If you did not get the chance, continue reading to convince yourself to take a break before the cold sets in.

Burnout Is Real — And Poses a Threat to You and Your Employees

You might have a salesperson or marketing professional on your team who works harder, stays later, comes in on weekends, gives it their all. It’s easy to uphold these values in today’s workplace. That man or woman is great, you are probably thinking. They usually do better work, see more results for buyers and business alike, and seem dedicated to your team’s success. You might even be that person.

But how much longer can that “gives-it-their-all” team member keep it up? How long will it take until they have given it their all with nothing left? And wouldn’t it be great if they could maintain their high-level work over the long run?

According to the American Psychological Association, employee burnout is characterized by both emotional and physical exhaustion, which can result in lack of interest in and negative feelings toward one’s work and/or workplace. Numerous factors contribute to burnout, including heavy workloads, lack of perceived control and workplace culture.

Given the demands placed on employees today, burnout has become increasingly common. As a result, many companies and their employees have felt its effects. In fact:

  • In 2017, a national survey found that 95% of human resource leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention and productivity (Kronos, Inc.).
  • This same survey revealed that, for 46% of respondents, employee burnout is responsible for up to half (20-50%) of their company’s annual turnover (Kronos, Inc.).
  • According to a national survey conducted in 2012, 63% of workers feel they have high levels of stress at work, often resulting in extreme fatigue and/or perceived loss of control (ComPsych Corporation).
  • Health problems stemming from long-term occupational stress (such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and decreased mental health) often lead to more serious conditions, according to a 2015 study (Harvard Business School).

Despite what the statistics say, you are not out of luck. In fact, you can take effective action against your own and your employees’ workplace burnout, even now in the final weeks of summer.

You Must Serve Yourself Before You Can Serve Your Buyer

Charge up to hit the fall season with full force by investing in yourself.

  1. Get Enough Sleep
    Self-care takes on many forms, but when it comes to preventing burnout, it turns out Mom was right: A full night of sleep really does make all the difference.

    According to research, getting less than six hours of sleep per night increases your risk for burnout. After hours at the office, sleep allows your body to replenish and recharge. Not only does lack of sleep impair job productivity and performance, but it also leads to fatigue, increased sensitivity to stressful events, impaired mental function and decreased motivation.

    In the next few weeks, take some time to catch up on sleep, as well as to establish consistent sleeping patterns.

  2. Take Some Time to Relax
    Beyond sleep, relaxation is a powerful tool to combat burnout. While the weather is still nice, spend time outdoors. Go golfing. Get out the fishing pole. Relax in a lawn chair to decompress from the office. With a clearer mind, you will be able to dive back into your clients’ needs with greater focus, attention and energy.
  3. Step Away From the Electronics
    Technology has revolutionized communication as we know it, making employees more accessible than ever before. We can check our email at the dinner table. We can Facetime with team members any time. Though this certainly has its benefits, there is a time and place to utilize such tools.

    The next time you are out of the office, challenge yourself to genuinely unplug. Establish clear boundaries for yourself regarding technology use at home, and designate specific times to answer phone calls and check email. While accessibility is important, balance should be a priority. Summer lasts only so long, make an effort to enjoy the nice weather and your family’s cleared schedules before they change.

  4. Get Organized
    When you organize your work life and your family life, you are more capable of prioritizing your time. Whether that involves updating your calendar, making a prioritized to-do list or even organizing your desktop, do whatever it takes to get your affairs in order before fall chaos ensues.

Make Time For Those Who Matter Most

Beyond self-care, it is extremely important that you prioritize the people around you that matter most. It is easy to immerse ourselves in sales goals, marketing strategies and profit margins. But when it comes down to it, we can find the most meaning and satisfaction by spending time with those who matter. Take time to connect with the people you care about, and actively tend to those relationships in a way that may not always be possible during the fall and winter when everyone else’s schedules fill up too.

While burnout prevention is important to your personal health, it is also vital in maintaining healthy client relationships. As the saying goes, “before you can help others, you must first help yourself,” and, in all reality, seeking to serve your clients is only possible if you are physically and mentally capable of doing your best.  

So, as the summer comes to an end, do yourself, your family, your company and your clients a favor by investing in you.