Beat Burnout With Your Why: How to Keep Your Purpose in Sight
So you over-scheduled your week. It felt great to be so productive and help so many people but now you’re tired. And cranky. And this overcommitment has caused you to miss your kiddo’s soccer game. Argh! ( Cue Charlie Brown yelling “argh” as he lands flat on his back after being tricked for the umpteenth time by Lucy.)
Burnout arrives without a grand announcement. It feels like depression, irritability, fatigue, apathy, or trouble focusing. In fact, burnout can be so painful, that it is sometimes mistaken for clinical depression.
You can get out of burnout, and one tip is to remember your Why.
Consider the woman who over-scheduled herself. Why did she overschedule (thus losing sight of her Why)?
Her reasons for over-scheduling may have been to help more people, earn extra money, or show characteristics of leadership.
Not terrible reasons.
She forgot that her motivation for taking this job was to allow more flexibility. To see her kids more. She wanted to control her schedule, thus allowing more time for family time and self-care.
Her good intentions for scheduling more hours negated her Why, leaving her resentful and tired.
The benefits of overwork did not compensate for the loss of her original purpose.
Tip: Remember Your Why
1. Keep fresh reminders in your workspace to keep it top of mind. For example, this could be a picture of the place you plan to visit because of the success of the project (purpose being to travel), or a picture of your kids (purpose being to pay for college).
Idea: Move the visual reminder regularly so that it doesn’t become a piece of the environment and lose its significance.
2. Keep friendly accountability. That might mean a friend regularly asking you if you got to your child’s basketball game. It might mean a friend asking if you’ve chosen your retirement date yet.
Idea: Be specific when you ask your friend to keep you accountable. “Girl, please ask me every Monday at the end of the day if I’ve planned my next date with my husband. Knowing you’ll text me every Monday at 5 pm will prompt me to prepare an answer–and a date for me and the hubs.”
3. Add a “consequence” for working too late.
Idea: Set the timer for the lights to go out at a time that is far later than you prefer to be working. It’s an in-your-face reminder to take a break.
This is just one tip. Burnout occurs for other reasons besides losing track of your Why. For more information about burnout and how to free yourself from it, check out this article on Psychologytoday.com