Photo courtesy of Darius Soodman

Just Because You Can Do More Doesn’t Mean You Should

  1. Create space in the morning. So many execs relish every last minute of sleep before rushing off to their high-stress office, sometimes without even eating breakfast. If this sounds familiar, try creating a morning routine that includes your favorite beverage, a small meal, and some quiet time without worrying about work. Some people meditate, some exercise and some just sit quietly with a cup of coffee. Embrace this time so you can come to the office refreshed.
  2. Putting out fires vs important work. Problems come up every day that will distract you from your important work; the key is recognizing small fires that can be delegated or assigned to a later date. Taking a second to ask yourself “Is it critical that I do this right now?” before switching to a different task can eliminate stress and improve productivity.
  3. Cut out non-essentials. This is arguably the most difficult habit to cultivate because everything is seemingly so important. But if there is something on your task list that keeps getting delayed, odds are it can be cut or assigned to someone else. Getting realistic with what you’re actually going to do can prevent overwhelm.
  4. Schedule time off. Whether this means you book a 2-week-long vacation six months in advance or you schedule every other Thursday off, take the time to remove yourself physically from work. This goes a long way in giving you something to look forward to during stressful times and also refreshes you.
  5. Encourage open communication. Whether it’s company-wide or within your individual team, encourage people to discuss their projects, their concerns, and even to admit when they’re feeling overwhelmed. This level of openness will make people feel like part of a team and give them more opportunity

Why Preventing Burnout is So Important

Stress is the #1 cause of sick days in the United States and it’s also associated with higher healthcare costs and higher turnover rates for corporations. Meanwhile, other studies indicate that companies with higher rates of vacation time used are more successful and have happier employees.

If you’re in an executive position in a company where you experience extreme burnout, how do you think your employees are handling their workload? If you want to set an example that your work life doesn’t have to make you sick, you need to start integrating these small changes into your everyday routine.

Carl is a business psychologist and leadership development expert who focuses on the development of high performance leaders. www.leadershipconsulting.com

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