An interviewer recently asked for some advice on a weekly work routine to help prevent burnout. There are dozens of different strategies and tactics you can implement to help make life grand, but here are three simple steps to start with.
Get crystal clear on your priorities.
When we’re not clear on what our work and personal priorities are, we tend to address questions and requests in the order that they’re received instead of in priority or due date order. This is part of what leads to overwhelm and burnout. When you’re totally clear on your priorities, you’ll knock the high-value items off your list instead of spinning your wheels on low-value items. This will help prevent burnout.
Create your “Focus 60 List” at the end of each day.
When you formulate your plan for the next day before “clocking out,” your brain has just received permission to relax during the evening and not feel obligated to work. When you unplug and decompress from work, you arrive fresh and ready for anything in the morning, instead of dragging in because the last thing you did before you went to bed was work – or think about work. Choose your highest priority tasks that can be completed within a total of 60 minutes.
Front-load your Focus 60 List.
The majority of so-called fires tend to crop up throughout the day. In most industries, the beginning of the workday is the quietest time. Get as much completed from your Focus 60 List within the beginning of your day before humans and technology begin to throw wrenches your way. Make an appointment with yourself for the first 15 minutes of your workday to complete one task (or one step in a task) on your Focus 60 List. Your next appointment with yourself can be for 10 minutes to triage your email and determine in which order they need responses. Then you can finish the remaining 35 minutes from your Focus 60 List. If you already have appointments and meetings scheduled, work in small chunks of time in between your appointments to get these high priorities finished.
When you follow these three steps as a part of a weekly work routine, you’ll understand how to better negotiate time with yourself, which will decrease your overwhelm and stress. Once you accomplish this, it will become much easier to lower your stress levels even more by negotiating your time with others. This is how you prevent burnout.