The 6 steps tech workers should take to go from burnout to balance

A few years ago, I ended up in the hospital from workplace stress. I had been miserable for months, working insane hours and googling "am I burnt out" 9 times a day.

One thing I am grateful for in that experience is that it made me radically open minded to trying new things in the way I ran my day because what I was doing was failing me miserably. 

One of the biggest realizations I had is that I was constantly tethered to my email, so I introduced some digital boundaries in my life with work. This has helped me gain a sense of balance, get more done in less time, and be more present in life. 

Here are a few of the steps I have taken to go from burnout to balance. 

Kill your notifications

Notifications let anyone get your attention at any time. 

What happens when you get interrupted? It’s harder to focus, work takes longer, and you get frustrated. Just like you wouldn’t let a coworker interrupt you every 5 minutes, you shouldn’t let your phone do it either. Try checking your phone at the end of the hour or during breaks. When you do that, you get more done without having to put any more effort in. 

Don’t start your day on email:

Starting your day on email not only makes you miserable, it kills your productivity.

When you start on email, you set yourself up for distraction, become reactive and tend to get bad news before you have done anything. Instead, if you can start your workday on something YOU need to get done, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment, which often translates into a better mood and serves as momentum for the rest of your day.

Proactively communicate:

One of the biggest fears people have is thinking that they will appear rude if they take a step back from the norm of hyper responsiveness. The easiest way to do this is to let people know why and how to reach you in a work emergency.

If you let people know “I am trying an experiment where I will check email less frequently in order to do better work and solve bigger problems, if you need to get in touch with me for an emergency, give me a call”

Think big picture:

Life is all about tradeoffs. The one I advocate here is that you trade being tied to your phone to enjoy your life and be more productive. As humans, our brains are wired to seek danger, so we typically end up thinking of all the things that will go wrong when we make a change instead of the benefits. So think of it this way: if you could only have one, would you rather be known as someone who adds tremendous value or someone who responds quickly? 

Start small:

I’m not telling you to abandon civilization and live off the grid. It’s spending an hour or two a day away from your tech so you can do your job more efficiently and have a life. I hate to break it to you, but the world can go on without you. Look at Apple after Steve Jobs or Microsoft after Bill Gates. They found a way, and I’m sure your company can live without you, too. Go off the grid for one hour at a time, and then slowly you will be humbled that the world can go on without you. 

Life is too short:

The first job I ever worked at was tough. I started as a temp, doing the mail and answering the phones, and worked my way up to become an outside sales rep with the company. I worked 12-hour days regularly, and work was all I cared about. 2 years in, I won top rep for the month, and a few days later, the company shut down. By putting all of my happiness eggs in the “work” basket, when that fell though, it was devastating.

Jobs come and go, but your health, family and happiness are more important. Put work in its place, do your best, but don’t let it take over your life. 

If you're looking for help in this area, book a free strategy call to go form burnout to balance.