Burnout is a serious epidemic. It will affect most people at some point in their life. As someone who burnt out herself, I’m passionate about educating people on how to avoid it, or at least lesson it’s impact.
In my new book Beyond the Board: How to Achieve Your Vision Board Goals in a Fulfilling and Sustainable Way, I go into two formulas: The Burnout Formula and the Sustainability Formula. I wanted to share the latter with you in this post.
Here is the Sustainability Formula:
Work hard + Play hard + Rest hard + Observation + Level Up = Sustainable Success
Work hard means doing the work you need to achieve your goals and saying no to anything that doesn’t align with your most important work. It means smart work. I don’t like to attach a number of hours to the definition of work because it doesn’t matter. People run around like there is an award for those who spend eighteen hours a day working. We know that most people are less effective, not more, the more they work. Get your work done, do work that makes you proud, and get on with your life. When you are scheduled to work, go all-in with work.
Play hard means do the things that you love to do. Bring some joy into your life. Play time needs to be scheduled! Do activities that bring you joy that aren’t work-related.
Rest hard is the same as the burnout formula. Rest how you are wired to rest. I lean towards more of an introvert and having time alone, mediation, and reading is how I restore my used energy. If you get energized by being around people, do that. Your gas tank needs to be refilled. Whether you need leaded or unleaded in your tank is based on how you are wired. Give your brain and stress a break and park it once and awhile.
Observation and level up are two added parts to the sustainability formula. Observation is about paying attention and being aware of what you are doing. When was the last time you took a vacation? How can you adjust the tasks you do and your skill level so that you don’t need to be spending so much time doing them? When was the last time you re-evaluated your work approach? How can you create more endurance and increase your overall energy? What are you starting to get bored with that you can get better at or transition out of so you can ward off burnout? Listen to how your body and mind respond to rest. Once you observe what you need to do, you can level up.
Level up means making the appropriate adjustments to your energy. If you want to go further, you have to move further. If you want to be fast, you have to go fast. If you don’t have the stamina to get through ten hours of work but now you’re the CEO, you need to figure out how you will do it. (Hint – you make gradual increases in work output followed by periods of rest. It’s the same way you would increase your physical endurance. If you can currently lift fifty pounds and want to bench press one hundred, you slowly increase your tolerance and weight, followed by rest.) We get small wins and confidence and then we go one step further.
Leveling up also addresses the need for continual improvement. We must schedule personal and professional development into our lives. We need to schedule time to think. If you can’t level up, you become bored. And boredom leads to burnout. Part of the reason I burnt out in insurance is that I had “figured it out.” There was nowhere further for me to go. Most successful people aren’t energized by going through the motions. What are areas you can find to improve on that to make you a better co-worker, spouse, parent, friend?
How can you implement the Sustainability Formula?
How can you work hard?
What is your favorite way to play hard?
What is the best way for you to rest hard?
How can you observe your approach to work and be present to what is working and not working for you?
How can you level up? What areas can you improve upon?
If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can now preorder the ebook on Amazon here. If you’d like to get the FREE workbook that accompanies the book, you can download for free at beyondtheboardbook.com. The paperback and ebook will be available for sale on February 29th, 2020 on Amazon. Contact Rebecca at risewithrebecca.com.