Don’t Burn Out: Keys To Avoiding Hitting Zero At Work


Let’s face it, people get burned out after the work day. There’s too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it. When you burn out, your productivity plummets, creativity dwindles, and your passion for your work becomes practically non-existent.

So how do we remedy this situation? Drinking more coffee or 5-Hour Energy is like slapping a band-aid on a broken gown — it just won’t work. Attempting to mask your fatigue with bad habits (caffeine, etc), blinds you from how to actually fix the problem. Here are a few easy steps you can take to get yourself back in the game.

Face The Facts: You’re Over-Extended

The first step towards getting yourself out of the energy gutter is to be honest with yourself. When you try to be a “yes” person and take on too many tasks, you overextend yourself and burn out by trying to do more than you should. It’s good to be “go to” person, but in the end, you’ll be the one who can’t finish anything.

Cut What You Can

Ask yourself, “Are there any low-payoff activities that I can cut out to create space for my most important work?” To get back to a place where you can be most productive, you need to weed out not only the activities but the commitments in your life that don’t bring high value. To do your best work every day, you must be vigilant when choosing which commitments to actually commit to. However, make sure that you don’t skip out on opportunities that will open up new possibilities for you. Building a strong network often means being generous with your ideas, time and energy to help others. This is where many people think a cut is necessary, but the energy you spend helping others today could turn into opportunity tomorrow. Make sure to consider these decisions extremely carefully.

Occasionally, Be the “No” Person

Having time is not the same as being available. Being able to focus and have the right energy is what people expect when you say that you’re available. That said, it’s important to manage each of these resources regularly if you want to stay in a place of productive capacity. try defaulting to saying “no” to any new commitment, unless you are given a quality reason to say “yes.” If you do the opposite and say “yes” too frequently, you limit the amount of future yes’s you can use for bigger, better commitments. As such, I’ve learned that I have to create the space necessary to be able to explore, re-direct, and even fail. That margin is often not available when I’ve said “yes” to too many other things.

If you want more free tips on how to be more efficient at work, catch my course “Being Creative Under Pressure” on creativeLIVE September 30th.

Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that works with people and teams to foster creativity. He speaks frequently on productivity and leadership, is a creativeLIVE instructor, and is the author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice and Die Empty.


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