Burnout to Breakthrough

When you’re working to drive positive change, sometimes the obstacles in your path can be big and daunting. A complex stakeholder landscape or deep resistance to change.

But, just as often the barriers are smaller. More mundane, but just as insidious. Too many meetings. Or too many items on your to-do list. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could vault over these barriers and replace burnout with breakthrough. But how? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Time management coach Elizabeth Saunders believes it’s possible to slay that to-do list in spite of meeting overload. Her most relevant tip for change-makers: “Waiting for a slice of project nirvana (uninterrupted time) keeps you from getting started. A better approach is to accept and work within the reality and break the larger item into smaller parts.”
  • Speaking of smaller parts, research suggests that just a few minutes of idle time each day can have a big impact—improving your ability to process and internalize new information while boosting creativity and problem-solving skills. Neuroscientist Loren Frank suggests starting with a 15-minute, distraction-free walk whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • The line between kind-of-overwhelmed and completely burned out can be a little fuzzy sometimes. So check in with yourself often and watch for signs that your stress levels are getting too high, like irritability, inattentiveness or feeling physically rundown too often.
  • When you’re verging on burnout yourself, it can be challenging to guide your team through an intense period. Rebecca Knight has some simple dos and don’ts for leaders trying to walk this line. Highlights: strive to exhibit compassion and set a good example. And make your own wellbeing a priority.
  • Speaking of your own well-being, Chiefmartec’s Scott Brinker (originator of the anxiety-inducing martech landscape infographic) is also a bit of a Buddhist: “The principles of mindfulness can help bring clarity and perspective to the frenetic pace of change happening across our industry and within our own organizations.”

  • Here’s an even simpler tip for finding calm in the midst of that storm. We’re a big fan of Andreas Wannerstedt’s soothing, meditative animations. Two-minutes on his Instagram feed should be enough to drop your heart heart rate, no matter what obstacles you’re facing.

Related Tool

The Eisenhower Matrix helps you to focus on the work with the greatest payoff over the work that makes you feel effective in the moment.


Wise Words

Let’s close out with a quote from Henri Matisse to put it all in perspective.

Issue #66
Apr 7, 2019

Further Reading