I recently discovered the Inbox Zero technique and, without wishing to sound too over-dramatic, it has changed my life. In fact, that, combined with some other tweaks to my personal and work practices prevents me from reaching burnout.
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I’ve hit burnout before, and I’d liken it to Christmas, only the worst Christmas ever. Before you know it, it hits you and passes by almost as quickly, but it leaves a lingering mark which is tricky to shake off.
Odd analogies aside, there are a few key signs you’re approaching burnout and having spotted and decided to ignore them previously, I’d love you to learn from my mistakes.
1. You’re arguing more often with love ones
‘Never take your work home’. How many times have you heard that piece of advice? It’s advice I take with me every time I shut up shop for the day, because there is nothing worse than spoiling precious time with loved ones by inadvertently involving them in work issues.
If you’re arguing more with your spouse, partner or children, chances are work is the culprit.
2. You’ve developed an ailment which won’t go away
Stress can lead to emotional and physical health problems, and it’s important you don’t ignore them. If you notice a change to your body which hasn’t taken place before and you’re struggling to keep it at bay, having too much work on is probably to blame. Seek professional help.
3. You’re burping a lot
Bear with me. Anxiety belching is a real thing. If you find that you’re rather more windy than usual, it could be a sign of being overly stressed. It’s very similar to a nervous tic in that it can develop into a coping mechanism you simply become blind to. Others will spot it, though, so if you notice you’re saying ‘pardon me’ regularly, you are probably over anxious.
4. Meetings appear to come out of nowhere
‘Mark – we’re waiting in the conference room for you. Are you on your way?’ What meeting? What conference? A glance at the diary doesn’t provide any answers… Whoops.
If this sounds familiar and if it keeps happening, you’re likely the one at fault. You’ve probably been made aware of those meetings well in advance, but the level of stress you’re under has made you somewhat forgetful.
5. You’re completely deflated after exercise
Exercising is a brilliant way for both your body and brain to remain healthy. However, if the jog you take after work stops providing the feeling of elation afterwards and you instead feel completely deflated, you are probably too stressed.
Running a business, being responsible for a big team or simply working for yourself all share one thing in common: they are stressful endeavours.
Stress can be a good thing, but too much can wreck careers and dreams. Keep an eye out for the above symptoms before it’s too late. I now do that and devour any further burnout-avoiding tips I can find. It works.