Blogging is interesting because sometimes you research and report, other times you give pure opinion. Today is an opinion day, and it’s a fine line between doing that and becoming “preachy”. The truth is that there have been times when I’ve been nearing job burnout during my career. Face it, we all have those times. It’s important to think about ways to head that off instead of waiting for things to get to that point.
One of the most stressful, and best, moves I’ve made has been working for myself. I have to generate all the sales and then deliver to my clients. That alone is enough to keep me up at night. The strange thing is that as soon as I started working for myself in a position that fully aligned with my values, I began sleeping through the night again. That had not been the case before. I wondered what was different, because the workload and stress certainly was not less.
I came up with several things I had changed to make my working experience better for me. I find these work, and I hope they work for you.
5 Keys to Avoiding Job Burnout
Focus on your health- First and foremost, I learned that all the bad habits I had working for other people carried over to working for myself. For example, I realized I am not good about taking breaks to eat lunch or a snack. I’m bad about making time to exercise or even move around much during the day. The first real change I made was to adopt a clean eating strategy. This is not about weight loss or being on a diet. It’s about telling myself every day that I mean something. I’m important. I don’t know why this has been such a revelation, but I feel that dedicating that extra time to cooking good food for myself instead of skipping meals has had so many benefits. For a great guide to start eating clean, check out the Clean Eating online magazine. There are some great meal plans to get you started. Surprisingly, you’ll start to feel exponentially better within a week.
Prioritize and purge- We’ve all heard, ad nauseam, that we need to prioritize our workload. Well, when you work for yourself, you are suddenly plunged into not having enough hours in the day. Literally. So, the only option was not only to prioritize my work, but to purge anything that didn’t align with those goals. Looking back over the last 11 months I’ve been my own boss, I can see how beneficial this has been. The main result is that I really feel less stressed.
Reward yourself- Sitting back and seeing all the companies that give employee recognition makes me smile. For example, Globoforce is doing great things to bridge that gap for companies and employees. I buy into this whole idea of making work “More Human” and as I’ve followed Globoforce and their efforts in this arena, it really makes sense. The difference for me is that now, I’m the only person who can choose to recognize me. At first, it seemed a little half-baked, but as I’ve started doing this, it really works. I don’t have a regular schedule, and some weeks are more hectic than others. I’m finding that even running out for a frozen yogurt in the middle of the workday is a nice way to treat myself. The real difference is that now I am mindful that I’m rewarding myself. Whatever the psychology, it works. So….how are you going to treat yourself today?
Make friends at work- For years, working in HR, you learn that HR is no one’s friend. Sure, I have managed to make a few over the years, but for the most part, working in HR you have to be a lone wolf. Now that it’s just me at work, you’d think I have no hope. Quite the opposite. I’ve made a point to partner with industry colleagues who not only are smarter than me in many areas of HCM, I can rely on them to have my back. What an awesome feeling! For example, in this past year, I joined forces with some HCM colleagues in forming the HR Federation. By having a trusted group of people, it’s amazing what it does for your psyche and your productivity. Point being… get a friend!
- Take a retreat- This is another tip I never bought into in my corporate life. I boldly took my first retreat this past January and I cannot even tell you how many great things have come from taking this time. Much like a reward for myself, I felt that as a working Mom, it would be selfish for me to go away alone. I also travel for work, so taking a separate trip seemed unfair to my family. I WAS WRONG! I spent a long weekend at the beach by myself. I didn’t keep the TV on. I walked a lot. I thought a lot. I enjoyed eating alone and just observing the world. The beauty of this was that I not only had time to be quiet and uninterrupted, I was able to make some major business and personal decisions because I finally made time to listen to myself. For more about the benefits of a personal retreat, check out this HR Happy Hour episode I recorded with Laurie Ruettimann. She also took a retreat this year and shares some great learning from her journey.
All these actions lead to a more human work experience for YOU. Take a moment today and think about what you can do for yourself.
Originally posted on the HR Ringleader Blog.