How to Fight Burnout: Part II

There are 1000 flowers in a garden, each one is different and unique. And you are only allowed to pick enough to fill a small vase. Which ones will you pick? (Photo by  Carlos Navas  on  Unsplash )

There are 1000 flowers in a garden, each one is different and unique. And you are only allowed to pick enough to fill a small vase. Which ones will you pick? (Photo by Carlos Navas on Unsplash)

Note: This is Step 2 of my three part series on fighting burnout. If you haven’t read Step 1 yet, click here!

How To Fight Burnout, Step 2: Prioritize

In order to prevent burnout, prioritization must happen in all aspects of life. It's easy enough to decide you need to prioritize and use your time wisely, but it’s hard to get in the habit of actually doing it on a regular basis. When you start prioritizing, inevitably some things will need to be scaled back, or even cut completely. For someone who is driven and trying to achieve, that can be really hard. But in order to avoid burnout, I firmly believe prioritization is necessary. This includes at work and also at home with family and social obligations. In order to prioritize, you'll need constant focus on your goals and self-reflection on what you really need in your current situation and to lay the groundwork for long-term goals.

One memory in particular stands out in my mind that illustrates this dilemma. I was in my early-mid-twenties and had to work late one night at the office (this was a common occurrence). I had also scheduled a date for that evening, which I was really excited about. I ended up working late and pushing back the date to some ridiculous time. I think it might have been 10 PM by the time I met up with this guy. When I look back now on that experience, it seems crazy. Just thinking about going on a date at 10 PM after an extremely long and harrowing day at work gives me burnout. Oh, and I had to get up and be at work by 9 AM the next morning too.

What I was doing at that point was looking at the various aspects of my life separately and non-holistically, and I was trying to excel in all of them—including trying to get ahead in my career and find a serious boyfriend. This led, inevitably, to burnout. I tried to give 100% to everything, but when it all added up, I simply didn't have the 3, 4, 500% to give.

I no longer expect myself to constantly excel in every aspect of my life. Instead, I try to prioritize my goals and then focus my time to achieve those goals, whether they are small daily goals, like getting 8 hours of sleep, or long-term goals, like finding a life partner. When I decide what to focus my time on, I assess another area where I can scale back. I use my time efficiently and don’t separate my days into various categories.

In order to prioritize effectively, I like to ask myself these questions:

  • What are my actual goals and priorities across all aspects of my life?

  • What am I currently spending time on?

  • Is what I’m spending time on matching with what my priorities are?

  • If not, what do I need to do to ensure I’m spending time on my priorities?

You can definitely have several different goals and priorities, but just make sure that they can all fit into your life at the same time. If not, don't stress—you don't have to abandon them. Figure out what to focus on first, and then once that goal is reached, you can start to phase in something else.

Also, goals don’t always have to be these grandiose proclamations. And by the way, if they are, you will need to break them up into smaller, actionable goals that you can achieve step-by-step.

For example, maybe you are feeling stressed out and just generally unhappy. Perhaps, after some self-reflection, you identify the source of this unhappiness is because you aren’t getting enough sleep. So perhaps that is something that you need to prioritize, and arrange your evenings or clear your schedule so that you can get to bed at a certain time every night.

Alright, this is the end of Step 2. I hope you that you all found this helpful! The next (and final for this series) step will be posted next week on Sunday morning. See you then.

Are you feeling burned out? What are some ways that you fight it? Message me here!