During a bachelor party a while back, one of the attendees who is a close friend of mine said, “burnout is real and not fun.” If you look up the definition of burnout on google.com, there are 4 definitions listed. I am talking about the 2nd definition, which says physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. This friend of mine was talking about a time in his life when he focused on nothing, but his career. Although we are often told to work hard to achieve our goals, we do need downtime to relax and restore energy. Similarly to working out at the gym, we cannot workout the same muscles everyday because those muscles need time to rebuild in between workouts. I have personally found myself in phases where I was draining myself of everything I had both physically and mentally and not letting myself rest. This typically ends up badly and is not good for anyone.
If I did not have enough time in the day to eat, sleep, and get all my work done, then I was searching for activities I could remove or reduce. For me, I usually reduced the hours of sleep I was getting, which I now know is one of the worst things you could do. The other area I would look to reduce is amount of time eating. Typically, I would look to combine my meals with another activity to feel as if I was being more productive. Today, I realize it is crucial to allow yourself downtime to relax and rebuild. We can perform much better when we have more energy to think and move the way we want to. We may feel as if we are getting more done when we are exhausting ourselves, but this is not always true. There are plenty of people who are more effective by doing less than other people who are less effective by doing more. For example, if you are someone who has 20 objectives and are spreading your time between all of them, then you are probably not going as far as the person who only has 5 more focused objectives and spreading their time between those. We can knock out the more focused objectives quicker and move onto better things. This is something I never really understood until 8 or 12 months ago under a new manager that taught me this.
Lastly, if we focus on the bigger more impactful items that will put more value into our lives, businesses, or other area of interest, then we are more valuable. For example, you are more valuable to a company if you are providing value to the company. Do not think you are just there to take a paycheck. You are there to help run the business in your area of expertise and get the company to the next level. By doing so, you can be rewarded with promotions, more money, and more responsibilities. By burning yourself out too early, you will not be able to perform your function as effectively and are useless to the company. Imagine being walked out the door because the company felt you were useless, even though you felt you put your heart and soul into it. Your perspective was that you put so much time and effort into achieving your objectives. You may also have thought you were not getting paid enough. The perspective of the company was this worker is not getting the results we desire and we are paying them too much.
We can solve some of these issues by simply not burning ourselves out and making sure we are aligned with the focus of our employer. If you own your own business, then make sure you are aligning your objectives with your employees and customers. Transparency is key to proper communication in many scenarios. Customers love transparency and we need to give our customers what they love. Similarly, burnout will induce poor performance, which customers do not love. There is no upside in burnout or at least I cannot think of any upside in burnout. Make sure you are taking care of yourselves, so you can perform and provide the results to your employer, employees, customer, family, and so on.