How to Avoid Burning Out

Written by Eric C., MA., PhD Candidate (USA)

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“A good rest is half the work.” ~Buddhist Proverb

1. Remember why you started
What has inspired you to be on the path you are on? Anytime we forget our roots or the purpose for why we are in our current situation, it is easy to see our challenges only as difficulties. How many challenges have you overcome to get where you are? I am sure there are too many to count. It might be helpful to write down or say out loud the reasons why you started your endeavor. What was your intention? What was your goal? It is important for us to take a step back and remember who, what or why we decided to put energy into something.

2. You are not what you do
How do you identify yourself? Take a moment to reflect on how you describe yourself. Would you describe yourself as caring, generous or loving? Would you describe yourself as a writer, leader, son or daughter? Keep in mind that we can easily associate value to our description. If I describe myself as a writer, I might unknowingly wonder how good of a writer I am. Every moment we are instinctively processing our environment to determine whether we are safe or not. This evaluative system is also activated when we self-reflect. Remember, what makes you is not how you identify yourself. And, what makes you you is not how good you are at something. You are you because you exist in a space of reality that otherwise could have easily not existed. That is a really big deal all by itself!

3. Perfectionism 
There is no such thing as perfection. Why? Because we can always make things better! Look at technology. Every new advancement is amazing! But, it always continues. I am not saying to stop striving for your best. I am saying if you are only looking at progress you will never be satisfied. Find your satisfaction in the effort you put into something. Life is too short to wait for happiness to greet us at the end of every project.

4. Set and meet achievable goals
Of course, we have big goals and big dreams. But, set smaller goals that can be achieved on a daily or weekly basis. Every goal you meet will add to your confidence about your ability to overcome challenges. It is important to make meeting smaller goals a habit because then with time, patience and diligence you can achieve your bigger goals.

5. Don’t cut corners with your down time
How easy is it to skip an evening jog because you want to finish working on a project? I’ll speak for myself and say very easy! Even if it is difficult to step away from a project, we need to keep the big picture in mind. If you are always sacrificing your down time to push a little harder I guarantee you will eventually hit burnout. Balance is key!


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119 responses to How to Avoid Burning Out

  1. Floating Speck says:

    What a great post! I needed this today. I keep forgetting I am NOT defined by my Job!! I have a great life ( outside of work😁) and I am thankful for it!! Thank you thank you and thank you

    Liked by 15 people

  2. Nina says:

    I especially agree with number one. Sometimes, it is just too easy to quit when everything seems to be falling apart…

    Liked by 10 people

  3. Miriam says:

    All so very true. It’s definitely important to have balance between work and down time, too many people forget about the latter. I also agree with you about the goals and having daily objectives to knock off the “to do” list. Gives us a sense of purpose and resolve to achieve those even bigger goals. Great post.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Hi Viral, I appreciate your comment, but not that I feel like you are spamming me on my twitter and on here too. No need to promote me or my blog. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As someone who doesn’t work outside the home, burn out happens for sure when being with small children, household chores, meals, arguments, etc. It always helps me to take a step back, get some alone time outside of the home (which is where MY job is), remember that I chose this path, and figure out what I need to continue on with grace. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 9 people

  6. ssunshine14 says:

    Lovely informative motivating post!! Thanks a lot for these pieces of inspiration which are the energy boosters for everybody around 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

  7. eddaz says:

    Very motivating, at one point of our journey, one will definitely encounter this. Thanks for showing us the solution when it does come.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Paul Roberts Abernathy says:

    Wonderful post, especially, for me, 2. You are not what you do, for this, of the 5 is the one most difficult for me, not so much to remember, but rather to practice. I was raised by well-intentioned parents who taught, among many things, that I was only as good as my last good deed. Hence, doing mattered most. It’s taken years of labor (pun intended), including lots of therapy and loads of prayer, to arrive at a place of self-acceptance and appreciation for my beingness. I know I’m a human being and not, as a wise soul once put it, a human doing. Still, from time to time, I find myself caught up in self-evaluating (and worrying about) how much (or little) I produce. Again, thanks for your thoughts and goodly guidance.

    Liked by 9 people

  9. A Kinder Way says:

    Great post Eric. I’ve been feeling some blogger block lately and that brings a certain type of frustration with it. 😉 Had a good talk with my husband last night, which helped tremendously. Your points are similar to some that we discussed. I feel a bit refreshed now and ready to get back to what I love.

    Liked by 8 people

  10. A lot to take in but all so simple to action. Especially not cutting down on your downtime. I used to think writing a to do list weekly in my diary was a good way to plan my days. I was introduced to a way of planning your week so literally time management. Now down time goes in first like any other appointment and its amazing how that way I manage to stick with it and look forward to it 🙂 We under estimate how much its needed

    Liked by 8 people

  11. #3 remind me of the Apollo space program. Their mantra was “Better is the enemy of good.” They only made the ship good enough to do the job. Nothing more. They constantly had to reign in Werner.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Ah, thank you for sharing this insight. It makes me think of my dissertation and how a good dissertation is a done dissertation. Not trying to save the world here. Well, kinda .. 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      • You might enjoy the book that it’s from: APOLLO, The Race to the Moon by Charles Murray & Catherine Bly Cox. Out of print, but well worth tracking down a copy. It’s the whole story from the technical side. VERY exciting!

        Liked by 4 people

  12. I do like this but I also want to respond to some of your other posts in brief if that’s ok.
    I hated my exboss .
    I let my feelings about his unwillingness to say im sorry dictate my decision to leave his company even though I had the most financially successful day when he accompanied me for some of the day on my door to door charity sales / donation collection
    My next boss i was the one apologizing for saying it wasn’t acceptable that my co-workers could boss me around like a piece of trash and occupy my space preventing me from washing dishes and forcing me to occupy myself elsewhere
    I used singing to prevent myself from blowing my top or weeping at work when I wanted to block out his and others swearing and sick sexist sexual talk
    He tried to touch me up too by stroking my back and his sick wife spanked me but I told them it wasn’t acceptable behavior so they backed off.
    Yes I think about dying. Fairly frequently.
    For me death holds no fear cos when I die i will be walking and talking with Jesus.
    When im 70 or 90 I will hopefully be too busy looking after my future kids or grandkids to bother worrying with my current preoccupation of trying to make something out of my art, music and poems.
    I do worry about wasting my life cos time is a precious gift from God meant to be used wisely and like a baby or glass swan we must handle it with care

    Liked by 8 people

  13. Pratyusha says:

    It’s something I have been doing off late. Pushing myself at work and many things lay on the table sacrificed. Workout, writing, singing and every little thing I do out of passion and that keeps me happy. It’s very important to have balance in life. One big problem I have is how to manage or balance out time. I have many things I wanna do on a daily basis. Having a rough and tough time managing it.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Thank you for the reminder. It’s very easy to get stuck in the “now” and lose track of everything else. I’m thankful that at work I can have downtime between tasks because of the culture adopted by my company. At home I can forget to eat or sleep.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Steve D says:

    #1 hit home for me as I try to wrap up the first draft of my novel and keep telling myself that I’m not working hard enough. Mind if I link to this piece in an upcoming reflection post?

    Thank you for the inspiration, and for the follow!

    Liked by 6 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Of course you can! Happy to have connected with you!

      Like

  16. emilypageart says:

    I have recently resolved to take my art more seriously, with the goal that eventually I can close or sell my business and make the art the full-time thing. Historically, I burn out with every job, and I’ve realized lately that I’ll need to figure out how to keep enjoying making art even when it becomes THE job. I want to love what I spend the most time doing. Good post.

    Liked by 6 people

  17. judithreid says:

    Fab points, thank you.. Love Number 5 as this is something I have been guilty of in the past but I try very hard not to fall into it now.

    Liked by 6 people

  18. sargondorsai says:

    This is some really good advice, especially that first one and the last one. Always remember why you are doing something. That should be one of the biggest motivating factors in all that you do. And the last one… you absolutely need to take time for yourself. That down time is critical to allowing you the time you need to unwind, to decompress. To recharge.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. awabizda says:

    I just scrolled to see posts published while I was away and saw this! Just the perfect piece to keep me going. I feel I’m never going to hit burnout, thanks to this. Keep dping what you’re doing coz what you’re doing is great.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. I needed this reminder tonight as I sit here trying desperately to finish my book and the clock won’t hold still for a minute to help me…. Ahhh now I feel like my down time is calling and I should take it. Thank you

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Iman Refaat says:

    Very useful points and I truly like number 2. It took me many years till I learned to describe myself as a human being above anything else. And from this point my life altered.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. minettefit says:

    Love number 2 about what makes you you and definitely 3. The saying practice makes perfect, in my opinion, should be practice makes you better.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Thanks for point #5. I need to practice this. When I start a project I work and work until it is done. I exhaust myself. Often times I ask myself why, especially the time put in on the Internet. It’s not reality!

    Liked by 4 people

  24. NPetchuGetsU says:

    This is solid advice. Perfectionism is something I realize is an unachievable mental construct, yet I still fall victim to perfectionist tendencies and obviously I fall short of my own expectations. Thanks dude.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. avid reader says:

    You are not what you do: If only people would realise this small fact and not beat themselves down. Working in a school I often see children running themselves down on this. They seem to label themselves before others do so. Even I have beaten myself down only to realise its futility later. Beautiful articles. You should compile them and publish them as a book. You would really help many people.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Pitchforkin' says:

    Great article.

    I burned out badly teaching as it pretty much consumed my life for a time. Took a long recovery afterwards and I’ve learned the hard way to slow my pace somewhat.

    Sometimes perfectionism can motivate you too far to the point where you become wrapped in trying to do the impossible (I don’t draw currently because of that, but I’m getting there). It’s a very tough habit to break, especially with the perceived positives but you have to know when to be happy with the effort.

    Thanks again. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  27. wendylarson says:

    I have found over the years that I have lost work/life balance and have sacrificed doing the things I love and want to do. When I finally hit rock bottom, I changed my attitude and perspective and feel a lot happier. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 6 people

  28. Simran says:

    This is amazing. There’s always some inspiration lying around, all we need to do is be perceptive.

    This is pure inspiration!

    Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Wendy says:

    This is a very timely message for me.. I cut down on the ‘down time’ over the last couple of years and definitely felt the impact.. Thanks for this great reminder as always! x

    Liked by 4 people

  30. bacardi gold says:

    I have to hear this or, i have to read this to “avoid burning out”….I’m always traveling but this is still a helpful article. I still don’t know if traveling has a boiling point but I have to prepare myself for any untoward burnout. Great reminder! reblogging this….thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  31. weeklywoman says:

    Thank you for this article, I actually really needed it. It’s so easy to forget to stick to the plan even if you have it written down. I guess things get hard and repetitive when things take time, and all good things take time. Love reading your blog 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  32. OaktownVibes says:

    Another great post out of the park. I am very big on the first tip you gave…When I have a strong sense of myself and why I am doing what I do, I find that I can always keep going even when I don’t feel it. I think we all burn out at some point but I think its extremely beneficial when we refocus on the heart of what we do as opposed to the by-product. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. When I’m hitting burn out I like to step back and approach the challenge, task, or job from a the beginning again. Rebuild its framework and re-manage goals. Change happens, and resistance will burn you out faster than anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. This is exactly what I needed tonight! Thank you for your very simple yet easy to forget reminders. I just opened up my laptop after a veeerrryyy long hiatus from writing ( We had our first child 10 months ago so that is, of course, priority #1), it is so very easy to get drained from researching, writing, and other projects online. So thank you, my friend. Duly noted!

    Liked by 2 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed and thank you for your comment✨

      Like

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