How To Prevent Burnout In A Multitasking Life
Written by Donna Cameron
The world is a different place now more than ever before. We have had to make a lot of changes and adapt in so many areas of our life. A common trend I have seen is that even with all the changes we have seen, instead of us having more time, we seem to have less. More and more clients I see are working longer hours and are trying to fit more into their day. Now is the perfect time to stop and consider what impact this busyness is having on us, and to identify how we can get our life balance back on track.
These days, families do a lot more multitasking with all members of the household working, parenting, cooking, and cleaning. Instead of having one role, or one job description, such as the house parent or the full-time worker, we seem to have at least two full-time roles that compete with each other.
For the single person, the list of expectations for what needs to be achieved in a day has also increased. There are high expectations to look perfect, eat well, go to the gym, have a social media-worthy social life and be an entrepreneur in their work life.
Employers are expecting a lot more than the traditional 9 am-5 pm workday. Often we do not believe that we .....have any option to say we are not available as our phones are on us 24 hours a day. It is not uncommon for people to be answering work emails at 9 or 10 pm at night, just to get ahead before the new day starts, or to catch up on what wasn’t achieved the day before. With the extra hours being spent on the workday, self-care and that much-needed downtime has been reduced or is no longer seen as a priority.
You are not robots, and eventually, when your body has had enough it will shut down when you least expect it! It will not wait for that report to be handed in, or wait until after your child’s birthday party.
Early signs of burnout are fatigue, memory loss, forgetfulness and making errors at work. If these symptoms are ignored, they will escalate. Eventually even stringing a sentence together will be difficult and as we are talking to the reader will just feel the need to escape, retreat and sleep.
You cannot put 100 percent effort into every category, so work might get 40%, kids might get 50%, thus leaving you with only 10% to invest in your personal relationship, your friends, the household responsibilities and yourself.
Top 5 Tips For A Balanced Life
No matter how busy your day or week is, you must have time for self-care. This can be as simple as having a hot bath or taking a 20-minute walk. You might finish work for the day and sit out in your garden with a book for 10 minutes or cook a meal that you enjoy. It does not have to take hours or be anything costly, but it does have to be regular.
2. Work Boundaries
Your workday must have a start time and an end time. In the end time, you have to step away from all of it, including those 8 pm emails that you think it would be quick and easy to answer.
3. Be Realistic
Identify what you can achieve in a day. I often get clients to draw up a weekly hour by hour calendar and write in each hour what they “have to do” - for example, work might be shaded from 8 am-6 pm and then dinner from 7 pm-8 pm and so on. After adding in time for sleep, meals, and travel time to events, you will be able to see exactly how much time you have available in your day. Once you have this you can then set realistic expectations for anything else you want to achieve each day.
4. Plan For Busy Weeks
We all have busy weeks where those work pressures will be greater. You may need to prioritise your time to spend some extra time in the office or be available to attend extra family events. To avoid burnout, identify these weeks and plan ahead. Accept that you will have less time for other household tasks or family commitments. To balance this, grab some precooked meals so you do not have to cook that week, or leave the laundry until the weekend. Sacrificing tasks that can wait will allow you to focus on what is important.
Bonus Tip - Use technology to help you become smarter with your time management
5. Have Some Time Off
Be a sloth, stay in your PJ’s, watch Netflix, or read a book but have a day off. Your body needs it to recover from the busyness of the week. This is not laziness - this is you recharging so you can then be productive the following week.
Let's face it life is busy! We have a lot that we want to achieve and only 24 hours to get it all done. Recognise and acknowledge what you can and cannot achieve with what you can and cannot achieve. Remember you can and should outsource tasks you do not have time for or reschedule the non-urgent tasks for the following week.
Always make self care your priority to ensure you are the best version of you.
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