In the middle of a week, I often realize that I am telling myself “Only a few days to go, and I can finally have some rest…!” I assume so do you. I think the readers of my blog are pretty busy people. (Thank you for taking your precious time to read my blog!) And the reason why we are always working so busy like this, is probably because we have something we want to achieve.
Today’s article is about the biggest concern I am having these days – that is “how to avoid burning out”.
It has been months since I’ve started a few new projects – blogging, running, and organizing music events at my favorite bar. Things have never been better, I truly feel I am so lucky to be able to do all these things, but I at the same time, I’ve never been busier in my entire life.
Since all of these projects mean so much to me, I want to continue doing them as long as I can do, and can’t wait to see where it brings me to. So, right now, burnout is the last thing I want!
I usually write only about what I actually tried and learned by myself, but today, since I want your advice so much, I would like to write what I am currently trying, hoping it works.
Here are the three things I am currently doing in order to avoid burning out, hoping they work.
3 Things You Can Do to Avoid Burning Out
1. Enjoy team work, and learn to wait.
As long as you are not working all alone but with somebody, enjoying team work will be the key.
I always liked working alone. Not that I cannot work with other people, I am totally okay if there is other people being the leader, and my job is supporting, helping, assisting them. What I am still a little scared of is me becoming a leader. I don’t think that I have ever been a good leader, who successfully leads other people.
There are a lot of reasons why I think I’m not good at working as a leader, but the biggest reason would be that I tend to do everything by myself, trying not to rely on others.
If I can make decisions by myself, and if I can work following my own decisions, I don’t have to wait for other people, so I can do things as quickly as I want. Also I don’t have to feel bad or sorry for asking other people favors. So, for me, working by myself always seemed a lot easier than working as a team.
However, what I didn’t know before is working by myself is most likely to make me burn out very easily, very soon. Because it must be tiring, lonely, and most importantly, just one person – especially someone like me – cannot think that much all alone.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb
This quote hit me in the feels, when I heard this for the first time when Aileen Xu talked about this in her video. (If you need some positive inspirations, please check out her amazing YouTube channel, “Lavendaire”!)
Working as a team is not easy. It seems time consuming, and there is more risks that someone in the team makes mistakes and that effects the whole team and the project. You will also have to listen carefully to other people’s opinions, and as a result you may not be able to do everything as you want to do.
However, you will get a lot more benefits by working with other people. Together with your team, you may come up with some amazing, creative ideas that you would never imagine just by yourself. You guys can be a lot more powerful than you could be individually. And knowing that you are not all alone, that you have people on your side, is the most encouraging, helpful, and comforting thing especially when you face difficult problems. Moreover, you can even ask for help when you feel like burning out.
So, don’t rush, learn to wait, and learn to be patient. Because going fast is not necessarily the best way to go. Having a team to work together is probably the luckiest thing you have when you have goal. Be grateful, and enjoy team work – so you can go far, together.
2. Know that you are already a success at this moment.
We tend to expect overnight success. We tend to expect to get the result we wanted very soon, especially when you are working your ass off.
However, we all should know – maybe we all already know this but let’s remind us once again – that overnight success is not real. Success takes time, and requires effort. Expecting overnight success could only harm you, but never helps you. It only leads you to burnout, because no matter how badly you want, it will never come.
I learned a very intriguing thing from Kelly Mcgonigal’s book “The Willpower Instinct” – that is “delay discounting“.
Delay discounting means that the longer you have to wait to get the reward, the less valuable it seems to you. For example when you compare two rewards, one is what you can get right now and another is what you have to wait for a while, you tend to feel that the former is more tempting, even though the latter is actually a lot more valuable.
That is why I tend to choose ice cream in my fridge, even though what I really want is getting fit by the end of the month. When I do this, I’m impulsively choosing the reward that I can get right away…
Having the nature of delay discounting, it is very hard for all us to keep prioritizing to get closer to our real goals in the future, rather than feeling a little good right away. This explains why we burn out from time to time. If we really prioritize achieving our goals in the future, we should keep going even if it can be hard. But we tend to stop working, in order to rest and feel good right now – and if we keep choosing such instant happiness, we will never achieve the real goals.
When you feel like giving up, know that now you have two options – stop working to make things easier just for now, or keep working so that you can finally achieve your goal in the future. And try as much as you can to choose the latter.
However, for a human being, especially for an ordinary person just like me, it seems too difficult to always choose the latter. So in order to make “keep going” easier, I am trying to see where I am right now is also a success. Even though I am still on my way working towards my goal, I try to believe this step I am taking right now is also a success!
Because the far we want to go, the longer the way to go. The longer we have to work hard, the harder it will be. Not every step you take will look pretty or cool. But even if you are still far from where you want to be, as long as you are working, you are already a success. I hope seeing each step this way helps me to work as happy and positive as possible.
3. Know that there is no such thing as a failure.
Feeling that you failed or worrying if you are going to fail are very exhausting. If you feel bad about your mistake, or if you worry about the future too much, that can crush you.
“I failed even though I worked so hard!” “I’ve been working my ass off, but for what?”
These feelings are more likely to lead you to burnout. “Failure” is one of the biggest enemies for everyone who has big goals.
So I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes that can change your view about failure.
“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.” – Karamo Brown from “Queer Eye”
Making mistakes or not getting the results you were aiming won’t keep you from your goal. Failing does not show you that you can’t succeed. Failure gives you opportunities to experience something new, and from that experience, you can learn – that is the necessary part of your journey to success.
Whenever something bad happened and that is about to crush me, I remember this quote, so that I can see the situation as something positive, something necessary.
These are the three things I am doing in order to avoid burning out. What do you think? Do you also have any tips to avoid burnouts? Please let me know in the comment section!