Our lives are sometimes stretched to the limit; whether it’s online school, work, or family, for some people, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of things vying for our time and attention. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a full plate — on the contrary, many of us love staying busy and pushing ourselves to be productive while at home. But, it’s easy to push ourselves too much, and sacrifice our own needs for our goals and even the goals of others. While working those late hours might put you ahead of schedule, if your extra efforts aren’t met with extra self-care, you’ll slow down at just the wrong time when burnout strikes.
Burnout is essentially the straw that breaks the camel’s back; when we experience burnout, we’ve finally pushed too hard for too long, and our mind and body fight back and take the time out we’ve been denying them. Burnout is a major productivity killer because it forces you to slow down at a time you likely wouldn’t have chosen yourself. Preventing burnout is one of the best productivity hacks you can use because it keeps you able to perform at higher levels for longer. Here are some things you can do to prevent burnout proactively.
- Schedule a rest day or time in advance. If left up to your own devices, you’d probably end up working through the times that would have been for ideal burnout prevention. To keep burnout at bay, schedule time in advance, so your resting time is no longer up to chance but built into your schedule.
- Do a regular self-assessment. It can be easy to lose track of how we feel when we get focused on a goal, but not paying attention when it’s time for some self-care is a quick trip towards burnout. Don’t wait until you find yourself struggling to check in with yourself. By doing quick weekly or even daily self-assessments, you can keep track of how you’re doing and make sure burnout isn’t on the horizon.
- Make an “In Case of Burnout List” For Emergency Self-Care.If you find yourself on the precipice of burnout — losing motivation, feeling exhausted, not performing at your normal level — pull out the big self-care guns to recover yourself before you find yourself in full burnout mode. Think ahead of time about some easy and in-reach activities that feel therapeutic for you and help you reset; maybe it’s taking a long bath, watching your favorite comedy, taking a walk, or laying on the couch for a bit. Whatever helps you feel taken care of and refreshed, knowing that there is something helpful nearby can help you.
Keeping burnout at bay might seem like you’re just indulging yourself sometimes when you should be working instead — don’t fall for the trap. Making time for self-care is part of performing at your best levels.