Even before the pandemic hit, burnout was spreading through workplaces at an alarming rate. The overworked workforce and especially the overworked small business owner or solopreneur have been on my mind for the better part of the last two years.
It’s not sustainable for us to juggle so many tasks at once, I’ve been on a personal mission to get more balanced. At least, my own version of balance, where I can work hard and play hard.
It’s not easy, but the downsides of burnout are worse.
Burnout can have wide-ranging impacts on your health, personal life, and professional performance.
So let’s talk about how you can recover your time, gain control and find your focus again. ⏰ 💪 🔎
The “But I’m Busy” Trap
When you’re working a busy job with plenty on the line (which, let’s face it, describes most high-performing professionals and entrepreneurs), it can be hard to step back and assess the behaviors that are holding you back. I’m guilty of this and so are a lot of the entrepreneurs and busy professionals in my network as well.
Two common behaviors I’ve noticed among the “I’m busy” crowd are multitasking and context switching. Are you even working if you’re not responding to client emails, while on a video conference with your boss, at the same time as working out on your under-desk treadmill? 🤨
But no matter how productive you may think this makes you, the science shows you’re wrong. Studies have shown that multitasking makes you less productive, lowers your IQ by an average of 15 points, and potentially damages your brain function long-term. We’re just not built to multi-task and context switch so quickly.
It may feel like if you don’t multitask you’ll fall behind and never meet your goals whether that’s satisfying your clients, scaling your company, or just getting that project over the finish line.
I’m here to tell you, that is bullshit.
We need to let go of this excuse and figure out how to be less busy and get more focused.
Time to Reclaim Your Focus
Fixing the way we work is a huge interest of mine and is a motivating factor for me as we continue to develop Charli. As I’ve immersed myself in this topic, I’ve learned some things along the way, and personally tested out many approaches.
Here are some of the ways that have helped me find my focus and I think they’ll help you too. Try them out to avoid burnout and feel better in all areas of your life.
Break up with multitasking 💔 Breaking up might be hard to do, but it’s time to bite the bullet and retrain yourself to work on just one thing at a time. To get started, identify your common multitasking habits: once you’ve learned your bad behaviors, you can begin tackling them.
Kill the context switching 💀 Context switching is the (equally evil) cousin of multitasking. While multitasking involves doing more than one thing at the same time, context switching is jumping between different tasks and projects rapidly, not allowing adequate time to grapple with any task in depth. This is another major productivity killer and path to burnout.
Set your priorities ✅ We often fall back on multi-tasking and context switching when we feel overwhelmed by tasks. In a panic, we try and do everything at once. Instead, take a few minutes at the start of your day to identify your priorities. You can even rank them from “must-do” to “can wait.” While you have to expect the unexpected in business, you can build more control over the tasks you already know about.
Embrace time blocking 🗓 To stop yourself from falling back into bad habits, get granular about how you’re going to spend your time. Time block your calendar with different activities throughout the day: specific times when you’ll check and respond to emails; dedicated time for doing your deep work; and a good amount of time for breaks to recharge. We just recently introduced not one but TWO no internal meeting days at Charli AI. This is to help everyone focus on deep work on those days instead of the constant context switching between slack, meetings, work about work, and finally REAL work.
There’s a lot of demands on your time and it can be hard to do things differently. But if you can reset your habits and reclaim your focus, you can beat back burnout and feel happier and more productive at work.
There are lots of other strategies to help you focus, we recently reviewed 10 productivity systems on the Charli blog 👉 Check it out.
Want to stop wasting time searching for the files, links, or other content you need? Try Charli and tell me how it has helped your productivity.