How Do You Prevent and Bounce Back from Burnout

Hustle and dedication are viewed as keys to success, but on the flipside is burnout – a bad word in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

Everyone has their own experience with burnout, whether it’s grinding to a halt or hitting the wall out of nowhere.

These days, we all need strategies to bounce back from burnout – or even better – prevent it from happening in the first place.

We asked some top business leaders how they deal with burnout and maintain high productivity over long durations.

Set a Steady Pace

The “marathon/sprint” analogy is played out at this point, but the message remains true. Nobody can work at a million miles an hour and expect to keep up that pace over the long run.

Remember what the tortoise and the hare taught us – it’s always better to work slowly and consistently so that you cross the finish line first.

Everyone has their own techniques to ensure a steady pace, but scheduling and task segmentation is a good place to begin.

“To prevent burnout in the first place it is always best to pace yourself and your workload,” said Steve O’Dell, CEO and Co-Founder of Tenzo Tea. “Look at things from a week-to-week standpoint where goals are met in chunks rather than large proportions. The biggest mistake people make is that they go for projects fully rather than separating them. Map out bigger projects into smaller ones and you will find yourself burnt out far less.” 

Know Your Limits

Business is fundamentally one big competition. Companies compete for market share, teams compete against one another within organizations, and individuals compete with themselves on a daily basis to outperform their previous efforts.

The danger here is getting in over our heads with responsibilities and failing to set boundaries or limitations on what we can realistically accomplish. Ambition is admirable, but goals should be attainable and structured so that burnout is avoided.

“Keeping yourself organized will help you properly map out what you need to get done each day,” said Andrew Pires, Owner of The Maskie. “Never overload yourself to the point where you are drained day in and day out. Find a balance and listen to your body and mind. What are your limits and how can you work productively without reaching them? Finding that balance is the first step and then planning around it to properly exude your energy properly.” 

If you’re in a supportive work environment, supervisors and teammates will help you navigate these issues and figure out a reasonable solution.

Plan Some Leisure Time

Way too many people these days find themselves in the unfortunate position of “all work, no play.” This is due partly to the high-octane culture of business in the 21st century, but there are also personal decisions that factor into the equation.

At the end of the day, individuals need to set aside time to relax and have some fun so that they don’t get consumed 100% by work.

The ability to close the laptop, shut off the phone, and enjoy life is very underrated in the current business climate.

“Finding time for leisure is a great way to keep yourself in balance and prevent burnout,” said Jack Klauber, CEO of Everyday Dose. “A lot of people will say to plan out your weeks to ensure high volumes of productivity, but what they forget to tell you is that you need to plan leisure activities each day to refresh your mind and soul. Life is not all about work and it never should be. Put your mental health first and always keep alone time as one of the highest priorities on your list.”

Stuck in a job that dominates your life and not sure what to do? Think about ways to maneuver and set forth a plan to make some much-needed changes.

Be Transparent with Teams

For those in leadership positions, the tendency to keep things under wraps is a common cause of burnout that many of us don’t want to acknowledge.

Leaders are meant to be stoic and steadfast in the face of adversity, but this doesn’t mean they should withhold information or try to accomplish everything on their own! That’s a recipe for fiery burnout that must be prevented.

“Communication is key to keep yourself from burning out at work,” said Kamron Kunce, Senior Marketing Manager at 4Patriots. “If you can communicate to your boss at work what you are and are not capable of doing, then you can properly map out with them what needs to be done so your work gets done, but you do not crash. A good boss will understand this issue and seek out help for their employees. In a workplace, mental health plays a major role in productivity and should be seen as a priority. Making sure that everyone is able to come forward about issues that are dragging them down is key to keep yourself happy at work.” 

Communication goes in every direction, remember. Back and forth between peers, up and down between higher-ups, and direct reports. More communication, less confusion, and crashing.

Reject Perfectionism

Want to burn out in just a few days? Put yourself under intense scrutiny for every task you do, every word you say, and every interaction you have with coworkers, clients, and everyone else.

Perfectionism and burnout go hand in hand, which is why we all need to avoid falling into this common trap. High standards are great, but they shouldn’t be out of reach.

“Sometimes we burn out because we are simply too hard on ourselves, said Roy Ferman, Founder & CEO of Seek Capital. “You will never be perfect, nor will your journey be perfect. Do not scrutinize your mistakes and more importantly do not allow your mistakes to hold you back. The only way to tackle your daily challenges is to view them as stepping stones as opposed to stumbling blocks, that way you won’t feel so spent and defeated.”

Managers must also keep in mind that staff members under too much pressure will run into similar problems. Make sure they are avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism and working in a flow state that produces steady results.

Embrace New Workstyles

We’ve watched the business world change in many ways this past year, and remote workers have come up with unique ways of working to overcome burnout while maximizing output.

Some workers like to stick to the classic 9-to-5 format, while others prefer to tackle work in chunks throughout the day.

Many employees are taking the show on the road these days, working from different parts of the country in rental apartments or staying with friends and family.

“COVID has altered our work styles, to say the least,” said Rishi Kulkarni, Co-Founder & CEO of Revv. “While in remote work, we have seen our organization perform at increased levels of productivity. With all of our attention primarily focusing on work, we are finding ourselves blurring the lines between work and life which have caused us to feel fatigued and burnt out. As the leaders of the team, we have taken measures to accommodate for more time for self-development, family, and recharging.”

Gone are the days when we all need to be working side by side, simultaneously. If this new approach works for everyone on the team and limits burnout, why not embrace it?

Set Strong Boundaries

Does work seem to be creeping into every free moment of your day and preventing you from enjoying the present moment? This isn’t necessarily your employer’s fault or the fault of your teammates.

At some point, it’s up to you to draw the line and say “that’s enough” – even if it feels uncomfortable to do. It’s the best choice for yourself and your loved ones.

“Set clear-cut boundaries between your work and personal life,” said Olivia Young, Head of Product Design at Conscious Items. “A wobbly work-life balance usually leads to overworking and overhauling your mind with business and, oftentimes, stressful problems which lead to constant exhaustion from work. You should clearly delineate how much of yourself, your time, and brain capacity will be devoted to work and hold yourself accountable to this standard. This way you have paved out the section of your day that you allow yourself to recuperate and recenter.” 

Boundaries will help you in all areas of life, so make sure you have them in place at work first and foremost.

Innovate and Inspire Yourself

Don’t leave the innovations for the rocket scientists and mathematicians of the world. If you can find a way to accelerate, automate, or optimize your daily routine, why not do it?

Use tools like email organizers or schedulers to make sure you get on track and stay on track every morning. Delegate tasks if you need to and don’t get bogged down in excessive administrative stuff.

This will help you especially when coming back from a very strenuous stretch of work.

“To optimize your energy after a burnout, set specific intentions; that could be starting a new project, improving an area that needs work, or increasing production,” said Brent Sanders, CEO of Wicksly. “Try to figure out a solid work innovation so you can foster some excitement. If we are honest with ourselves, the tedium of our day-to-day work lives can weigh us down, so pivoting your focus could inspire a burst of productivity.”

Designate a Reset Day

Let’s be honest – very few people actually avoid work all weekend long. An email here, some project work there. It adds up. Before you know it, it’s Monday again and you don’t feel rejuvenated. This is how burnout happens.

The answer is to set aside at least one full day now and then to steer clear of work 100% and do something that relaxes and refreshes you from the inside out.

“I started a female founders and leaders wellness day one Friday out of the month,” said TeLisa Daughtry, Founder and CTO of FlyTechnista. “In addition to doing this, I made an intentional effort and commitment to unapologetically reinvest in my wellness and self-care weekly by booking 30-minute therapy sessions, meditation, and 20-minute massages. Additionally, I block out time on my calendar for rest, creativity, procrastination, and no work or meetings.” 

You’ll feel the pull to keep working even when your schedule says rest. Be sure to follow the plan and give yourself a break.

Revamp Your Nutrition

Food is food, right? Calories are calories? This is far from the truth.

In fact, poor quality nutrition can accelerate burnout and leave you in a major energy deficit that impacts all areas of life in a negative way.

You don’t need to be a total health nut to spruce up your diet and trim out some of the worst offenders. Just some simple tweaks can go a long way.

“Burnouts can be a direct result of the food you’re consuming to power through your week,” said Jeff Goodwin, Sr. Director of Marketing & Ecommerce at Orgain. “Clean, organic food-based ingredients are crucial in ensuring the body is fueled with the best nutrient-dense calories. I start my day the smart way with a nutrient-rich plant-based smoothie using organic plant protein powder and loads of other powerful foods that keeps my energy levels up to par with what work requires of me.”

Once you feel the amazing difference from an improved diet, you won’t run the risk of eating junky food again.

Reach Out and Connect

It’s a growing problem in the world of remote work that needs to be addressed – isolation from friends and family can increase the frequency and intensity of burnout.

Think about it. So many people working from home offices and not getting enough social interaction or playful conversation. That’s going to take a toll on anyone, both mentally and emotionally. We’re only human, after all!

Reaching out is so powerful and must be a priority.

“Sometimes we burn out because we get stuck in our own heads and forget to connect to the people around us,” said Liz Eddy, Co-Founder & CEO of Lantern. “Especially in the work-from-home world, it’s important to reach out to others and make a connection now and then to remind ourselves that we’re not in this alone. Dedicate a chunk of time each day to send texts, make phone calls, or visit friends or family in person so that you keep a positive perspective at work.”

Keep Your Health in Check

Some aspects of business culture are just so backward. People chug energy drinks, eat junk, and overdo the alcohol at the end of the day to unwind all the tension.

While these things may offer the occasional boost in a pinch, the long-term toll is far more damaging. Health should always come first, and burnout just isn’t worth it.

“You never want to find yourself in a position where work takes precedence over your mental or physical well-being,” said John Scheer, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Herman-Scheer. “You might think it’s okay to hustle hard in the short term and sacrifice work/life balance, but it’s going to come back to bite you at some point. It’s better to maintain an even keel and pace yourself appropriately to accomplish your long-term goals.”

Know the difference between healthy outlets and crutches to make sure you’re staying the course of sustainable output. For businesses who let their employees work from home or even working onsite, the owner can set up daily fitness challenge ideas for them to avoid burnout and keep their body healthy.

Cut Out Distractions

It’s the classic paradox of the modern world: so many opportunities to succeed, but so many distractions standing in our way.

Remember: unfocused work isn’t working at all – it’s simply a path towards burnout. The world’s top business leaders know this best.

“If you can identify bottlenecks and sticking points in your work process, that will help you tremendously when fighting against burnout and lack of motivation,” said Derin Oyekan, Co-Founder of Reel Paper. “Figure out what is distracting you from getting things done and try to rewire your brain with better, stronger habits for productivity. You’ll be happier, healthier, and accomplish more each day.”

The internet is the ultimate blessing and curse for productivity. Social media must be used very sparingly and has no place in our daily work schedule – unless it’s part of the job.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

It seems simple, but consider this: it’s way harder to burn out while doing something you enjoy. With that in mind, look for ways to have more fun during your daily routine to combat burnout.

Not all of us have the luxury of loving every minute of our jobs, but surely there’s some enjoyment to be found. Rather than dreading each and every task, find a way to appreciate the moment rather than indulging in mental resistance.

“These days, we all work long hours and push ourselves to the max to hit deadlines and quotas,” said Jason Wong, CEO & Founder of Doe Lashes. “That’s just part of the game, but if you aren’t having some fun in the process, burnout is simply inevitable. Find some healthy and sustainable ways to have fun off the clock too and be comfortable with not thinking about work while you’re enjoying life.”

Enjoy Some Zen Time

There’s no shortage of evidence to support the power of meditation, but there are still so many people who don’t give it the chance it deserves.

No need for pricey therapy sessions or crazy retreats to the woods. Just a few minutes of focused breathing each day with all distractions removed. This is a powerful way to center the mind, ward off anxiety, and keep burnout at bay.

“Meditation saved me,” said Shaina Connors, COO of Global Sisterhood. “There was a meditation group that met in my office every week, and I started going. Nothing can help you recover better than taking out time for yourself to be still and reflective.”

Actively Combat Stress

Everyone deals with stress differently, and some have better strategies than others.

Unless you live a completely stress-free life (unlikely), it’s worth analyzing your plan of attack against stress and make sure it doesn’t get the best of you.

Better yet, use it to your advantage if possible.

“Here’s the thing about stress: it’s not always your enemy,” said Alex Keyan, CEO & Founder of GoPure Beauty. “A little bit of pressure can propel you to achieve great things, but you can’t let it get out of hand. If stress overwhelms you at any point, find a healthy way to relieve it, like hitting the gym or making a nutritious snack. Keep your stress in check with good habit loops and you’ll never fall victim to burnout.”

When stress piles up, don’t try to just “power through”. Step away, find an outlet, then come back to work when you cool down.

Reward Yourself Occasionally

When’s the last time you were rewarded for a job well done? Unfortunately, modern work culture doesn’t focus enough on recognition, which is why employees sometimes find themselves dissatisfied or burnt out.

Nowadays, workers should learn to give themselves rewards for their efforts, even if it’s just a small token of self-appreciation.

“With traditional office and scheduling setups rearranged post-2020, we need to find ways to reward ourselves for all the great work we do and the challenges we overcome,” said Aylon Steinhart, CEO and Founder of Eclipse Foods. “Socialize when you get the chance, head out into nature, or just make your favorite food once in a while as a pat on the back. This will make it so much easier to get back into the groove when it’s time to work.”

Laugh and Love

Things took a very serious tone with the events of 2020, and everyone is in need of some laugh therapy by this point.

Whether you hop on a phone call with a funny friend, watch a streaming comedy special, or listen to a goofy podcast in the car, these things can all help you resist burnout and stay lighthearted during challenging times.

“There are many surprising ways to refocus and destress,” said Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, CEO & Co-Founder of Dr. Brite. “Laughter is still the best medicine, literally. In a series of studies conducted at Loma Linda University by scientist Lee Berk, laughter from watching comedy shows was linked to a statistically significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. The decreased stress along with an increase in infection-fighting antibodies and immune regulating cytokines from laughter proves that a good belly laugh helps keep people happy and healthy.”  

Granted the content is work-appropriate, share some laughs with coworkers as well!

Find the Perfect Routine

With so many celebrities and influencers talking about morning routines in magazines and online, there are plenty of good ideas floating around for how to start your day.

Routines don’t have to be complicated or lengthy – the point is to get your mind and body in gear for the day ahead. Jump too quickly out of bed and into work, and you may find that your productivity takes a hit when things get tough.

“We’re all creatures of habit, and it benefits our minds and bodies to repeat the same proven processes every day,” said Darren Litt, CEO of MarketerHire. “Map out your ideal morning routine, try to eat and exercise at the same time each day, and experiment with different regimens while observing the results. Taking the guesswork out of your daily routine frees up your mind to get more done and reduce burnout.”

Maintain Motivation

What motivates us to work, aside from the obvious need for food and shelter? This is a question that often gets set aside, but it’s important when thinking about ways to beat burnout.

Sometimes we need to dig a bit deeper and look at our internal motivations for why we’re pursuing a particular goal or lifestyle. This can help us find that extra fire in the belly and stay focused when facing a looming deadline or pressure-packed meeting.

“Working from home is no easy feat, and keeping employees engaged during this time has been challenging,” said Omid Semino, CEO of Diamond Mansion. “It’s in human nature to be comfortable at home, and comfort does not generally equal motivation. To mend this issue, we have made it a top priority to do everything we can to work with our employees to prevent any loss of productivity, as well as be understanding of everyone’s difficulties with remote work. I also find that what works best for me is compartmentalizing my tasks each day. Lay it all out in front of you, remind yourself to not get intimidated by the amount of work you have to do, and give it your all. Take some breaks to go for a walk (even if just around the house), scroll through your phone, read for a little… just do anything to take your mind away from work a few times a day. Allowing yourself to take breaks to recoup is imperative to maintaining focus. I like to pass these tips onto my employees to keep them engaged in their role.”

Burnout is a part of life that can’t be completely eliminated, but these insights should help people at every level of business stay the course and enjoy the process. 

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *