I recently started watching he Netflix-original “royal-em-up” drama The Crown. The drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times. She tackles royal responsibility as she attempts to balance exceeding family demands.
Royalty or not, it reminds me that we all have demands on our time. This can lead to significant burnout, whether you’re running an empire or a small business. Shakespeare espoused the same notion as he penned, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”
Simply put, there is often a burdensome responsibility that comes with being a leader. And with the added stress, burnout can quickly follow.
For example, a UK Labour Force survey indicates that 37% of all work related illness is due to stress-related issues, while as many as 11.7 million workdays are lost as a result. Meanwhile, a top Japanese firm proposes a three-day weekend as the country attempts to reverse their long-hours culture (to the tune of 80 hours of overtime a month).
If you’re time-crunched and on the brink of burnout in business, consider these tips.
1. Disconnect before bedtime
There is increasing evidence that spending too much time glued to a screen can lead to sleepless nights. Some are even calling the way we treat our sleep schedules the new smoking. We increasingly disregard (and perhaps even celebrate) our lack of a good night’s sleep.
Despite countless studies that show long-term sleep deprivation has extreme negative effects on our health and productivity, many of us don’t get enough sleep. Instead, give yourself a one-hour window before bedtime and disconnect from all tech. Give a try! Your body will thank you for it.
2. Practice emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence requires you to understand your emotions and use them to handle relationships with more empathy. Sometimes we are stressed because of the perceived expectations of others.
When you practice emotional intelligence you can better understand the intentions of those around you and improve communication, which will combat stress and business burnout.
3. Remove office distractions
The days of the open-plan office may be numbered. Studies show that teams in open-plan offices are far more distracted than their private office counterparts.
These interruptions can cause serious workplace frustration. Researchers have found that “about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task,” Lifehacker reports.
Distractions quickly add up. They often lead to project delays, rushed work, low morale and burnout. To preclude office distractions, keep a work diary for 5-7 days and identify all distractions. Next, consider ways to remove them in the form of delegation and set expectations with top well-meaning offenders. Create a distraction shield in order to stay focused and productive.
4. Put on your gym clothes
Exercise has a positive impact on the body, but what about the brain? According to the NHS, people who exercise regularly are 30% less likely to suffer from depression and report increased overall mental health. So put on your gym clothes and sweat your way to a more positive outlook on life and business.
5. Take up a hobby
Creativity can reduce stress. Hobbies are good for entrepreneurs. A new hobby can reveal a more relaxed and fulfilled you. Use the internet to pick up a skill on Youtube with lessons on everything from music and cooking to how to make a robot. So dust off your guitar, frying pan, or garage workspace and get creative.
6. Take a holiday
Sometimes the best remedy for stress is beach therapy. A cocktail in your hand and the sun on your face can reverse the effects of business burnout quickly. Delegate key projects to your team. Bury the phone beneath a sandcastle. Take a well-deserved break.
This article has been edited.
Martyn Newman, PhD is a clinical psychologist specialising in Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Mindfulness. He is the author of the best selling book Emotional Capitalists and newly released The Mindfulness Book. And coauthor of the Emotional Capital Report™. Connect with @rochemartin on Twitter.