I will be the first to admit that I am a workaholic. I absolutely love my job and I really enjoy the work that I do. On top of that, I am also a bit of a perfectionist and someone with very ambitious goals. Because of all of these things, I have a long relationship with burnout - constantly pushing myself a little bit too hard, and then paying the price for it.
The most frustrating thing about burnout, for me, is that there is no cure except rest. You can't get a course of antibiotics from your doctor, drink some herbal tea, or go sit in the sun for a few minutes and then be fine. When you're burnt out you need to take a good chunk of time to just rest, recharge and let your body recover.
As someone that has burnt themself out again and again over the years, I've spent a lot of time chatting to people, reading articles and doing small self-experiments to see how I can snap myself out of the spiral that is 'work hard, burn out, repeat' and find a healthier way to achieve my goals whilst also prioritising my health.
Whilst I am by no means perfect, I wanted to share some of the strategies that I've found most effective:
#1 - Schedule Recharge Time: If you're a bit of a workaholic like me, approach your downtime as you approach your work. Set yourself goals and schedule rest into your week.
I am someone that will live and die by their calendar and because of this, I will schedule my weekend in my calendar as I would my working week with blocks for reading time, movie nights, and catchups with friends. As someone that needs structure in my life, I find this is a great way to ensure I'm taking time adequate time for myself to rest and recharge. If you struggle to take down time, try scheduling it into your week.
#2 - Turn Off Your Notifications: Quite possibly one of the best things I've done in the past eight years since starting my business was turning off my slack and email notifications on my phone. There were so many times when I would get an email, message or notification while out with friends or relaxing on the couch that could ruin my night of relaxation and throw me back into work mode. Now, all my team and clients know that if something is urgent they can reach me over text or call, but otherwise, I'll check my emails and slack notifications when it works for me.
#3 - Treat Your Body Well: I know you will see this one on every wellness blog, but I know I have seen a massive difference since starting to do this. During COVID I was definitely someone that put on a few COVID kilos as I wasn't exercising and was eating out all the time. Because of this, I noticed my work suffered and I was much more lethargic, constantly had a slight cold, and really lacked energy.
In comparison, over the past 18 months, I have been exercising regularly and making sure I'm eating more of the good stuff. The change I have seen in my productivity, health, and happiness has been remarkable. Make sure you're treating your body well and taking care of your health.
#4 - Indulge Your Guilty Pleasures: I am a big believer in really disconnecting when you aren't working to ensure you can really recover. For me, I do this by refusing to read any books or listen to any podcasts that relate to anything I do for work outside of work hours.
Instead, I have a love for LGBT romance novels and will spend hours each week reading these cheesy books that I adore! Whilst the over the top plot lines might be a bit much for some readers, I find these novels a great way to fully detach from work and immerse myself in a totally unrelated world.
It can be easy to feel like you need to be always working to be a better version of yourself, and with the rate of change today it can feel like if you take your finger off the pulse of your industry for even a second you'll be behind. I do, however, encourage you to indulge your guilty pleasures in order to really disconnect when you aren't working.
#5 - Find A Mentor For Your Personal Life: In the corporate world it's standard practice to have professional mentors. People with the work ethic, job title, or skills you aspire to have one day, and people that will coach you through various challenges you may face in your professional life.
What I would encourage you to do, as well as finding professional mentors, is to also find personal mentors. People who you want to be more like as a human, and who you think have an amazing life outside of work. Keep these people close and use them as your personal mentor to help you develop your life outside of work.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am by no means perfect and I am still working to refine these strategies myself, but these are the five most effective pieces of advice that I have been given, and five pieces of advice that I hope help you as you work to battle your own burnout.
About The Author:
The tech-head prodigy behind BOP Industries, Scott Millar is a young entrepreneur taking the world by storm. Compared to a young Steve Jobs after turning a year nine business project into a thriving business, Scott finished high school and deferred university to run BOP Industries full time, now with a growing presence around the world. As a now 22-year-old, Scott has recently been named one of Australia’s top 30 under 30 in business, Asia Pacific’s Inspiring Youth Leader for 2019, Queensland's Small Business Leader for 2021, Griffith University Entrepreneur In Residence and an LGBT advocate and leader in Australia and overseas.
To find out more about Scott and to see if he's available to speak at your next event, head to: www.iamscottmillar.com/speaking