“My day began at 4:30 AM. I went to the gym, had some coffee and drove to the airport for a meeting in Atlanta. I conducted a conference call on the way to the airport, then another one when I arrived. We had a great session in Atlanta, landed some new business, and flew back to DC. After fielding some logistical emergencies on the drive home, I stopped to pick up some carry out for my husband and me, since the kids are both away at school. I arrived home around 9 PM, ate dinner, checked email and prepared for tomorrow. I finally got to bed at midnight and then tomorrow, I’ll do it all over again.”
Female business leaders in America seem destined for a life of relentless hustle.
Many ramp up their morning schedules, waking up before dawn to exercise, checking email, working on a project or side hustle—all before heading off to the office. Seven-day work weeks are standard and we can’t remember the last time we indulged in some self-care. Our smartphones enable us to work 24 hours a day, so we feel compelled to do so. Our “I can do it all” attitudes may make us feel productive, or accomplished, or secure in our jobs. We tend to define success by how much we achieve in our jam-packed lives—even if it’s at the expense of relationships and personal wellbeing. Let’s face it: many of us believe that if we aren’t clocking in 60 hours each week, we aren’t working hard enough.
When you try to do everything all the time, the only thing you’re setting yourself up for is burnout.
According to the World Health Organization, this emotional exhaustion stems from extreme workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed. In time, burnout can lead to serious physical, mental, and social consequences. The American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress Report revealed that 33 percent of Americans feel extremely stressed, and work was the number one cause. Burnout is especially common among high-level executives, who typically reach their positions because they’re chronic achievers. But here’s the good news: there are ways to avoid burnout and still grow in your job. In this blog post, we’ll share some helpful strategies that can help you prevent job burnout and find more balance in your life.
Explore other avenues to reduce your workload.
Effectively dealing with burnout will probably require some major shifts in the way you approach your work. Think about what might be possible financially. Are you able to take an extended vacation? Can you afford to take a step back in your role? Is a less stressful job an option? Are you in a position to retire and work part–time or in a consulting capacity? Open your mind and crunch some numbers. You very may find that with some trade-offs, you can make burnout a thing of the past. Many women instinctually claim, “There is no way I can do that!”, but after investigation they realize it’s more possible than they believed.
Consider the benefits of outsourcing.
Delegation can offer some major benefits both personally and professionally. But for many women in executive positions, it’s out of the question. For some, the reason is finances, although this may not be true when opportunity costs are added into the equation. Others may cling to the idea that they “should” be able to handle everything and that it’s the responsible thing to do. This attitude can keep women from achieving and performing at their best in areas where it really matters. For example, a personal housekeeping service or weekly meal prep at home can have a big impact, as can hiring someone to run personal errands or handle weekly administrative tasks. When business grows exponentially and time is at a premium, letting go of the reigns and sharing the responsibility with competent, trusted help can be the key to keeping your sanity and yielding better results.
Make time for presence.
Not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Chronic stress reduces cognitive function and performance, so living on the edge of burnout isn’t helping your career. Stress also adversely affects health in a number of ways, including the development of high blood pressure, strokes, depression and a host of other ailments which certainly won’t enhance your job performance. Give your sympathetic nervous system a much needed break and carve out time to relax each day. Just a few minutes of yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or nature walks can do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. A terrific recourse to explore further is Scott Elbin’s work, which is outlined beautifully in his book Overworked and Overwhelmed.
Smart organizations know that taking breaks is the key to better productivity.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking several months or years off may be out the question. But there are mechanisms in place for taking a respite for mental well-being. In the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants employees of one year of more 12 weeks of unpaid leave, while their job and health benefits remain intact. Although most commonly used for women on maternity leave, it’s available for anyone who has a qualifying condition, such as depression or anxiety. Many companies even offer sabbatical or paid time-off policies for employees who need a mental health break.
It’s time to be your happiest, most productive self.
Identifying the signs of burnout is a powerful way to arm yourself with the necessary strategies and resources to prevent it from bringing you down. FAI Wealth Management’s team of highly credentialed, compassionate financial planners has the resources and depth of experience to help you forge a bright, fulfilling future.
If you're seeking proactive expertise and caring, individualized financial guidance, give us a call at 410-715-9200 or email me, Lyn Dippel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About FAI Wealth Management, Inc.: Located in Columbia, Maryland, FAI focuses on helping clients create the financial future they desire by protecting their wealth, making the most of their assets, and planning for life's uncertainties. The firm combines fee-only, fiduciary-driven guidance with highly personalized, consultative financial planning and investment services that enable individuals, families, and businesses to navigate complex life transitions. Founded in 1987, FAI currently manages more than $350 million in client assets nationwide. For more information about FAI Wealth Management, please visit the website at https://www.faiwealth.com or call 410.715.9200.