Sustaining Motivation and Drive Over the Longhaulby Tiffany Crosby on 04/17/16
Burnout is a very real issue whether in a for profit or not-for-profit organization. I see it all the time. People start that new job so much energy and drive. They are gung-ho. They are on fire. They eat, sleep, and breathe the mission and vision. They fully embrace their roles and responsibilities. But somewhere along the way, they fizzle out.
How do you prevent this from happening to you or your team? I'm going to suggest something completely counter cultural. It may even sound rogue. I'm going to suggest that you step away. That you slow down or even stop to reflect, to organize and to plan. Stepping away forces you to reevaluate your priorities. What's important? What do I value? What's consuming my time? What can I or should I let go of? Stepping away forces you to focus on where you're actually focusing your time. It's your time to think about how your thinking and behaving.
Stepping away is not something you can do once. Stepping away is something you need to make a habit so that you can make better decisions on a regular basis. You don't want to just make good decisions today, but over the course of your life. Stepping away is not just critical for maintaining margin in your life. It's not just important for your health - mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual, but it's also necessary for you to have vision, to be productive, and to be able innovate. It's necessary for you to be able to do all the things you need to do to accelerate your performance, and the performance of your team and organization.
If you're experiencing burnout or
If you have no time for anything else on your calendar or
If you have no time for reflecting and planning
Then this is for you. You may not think you can afford to set aside time to reflect and plan, but I'm telling you that you can't afford not too set aside time. So, start small.
- Set aside 15 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on the day and prepare for the next day. It takes longer than that to read up on the latest Facebook updates.
- After three weeks of daily reflection and planning, add a weekly reflection and planning time. Set aside an uninterrupted hour each week to reflect on the previous week and plan for the upcoming week. Protect this time like you protect the time for anything else that matters to you. And by the way, 1 hour is far less than the time spent watching a football game or other sporting event. It's also less than the time required to watch you're favorite television shows even if you fast forward through the commercials.
- After 1 month (i.e., you're about 8 weeks in), add a quarterly reflection and planning time. Plan to set aside a 2-4 hour chunk of time where you can reflect on the previous quarter and upcoming quarter. While this seems like a lot of time, it's really not much different than going to a movie once a quarter.
- By the end of the year, you'll be ready to do the same for the year.
If you do this, you'll be amazed at how much time you suddenly find to do that which matters. Yes, you'll be forced to delegate some work. And yes, you'll be forced to let go of some commitments. But in the end, you'll find yourself reconnected to the mission and vision and to the passion and energy that fueled you in the beginning. The sacrifice of disciplined focus will be worth it. I promise you.
To read more about establishing a pattern of rest, check out "The Power of Rest". You can purchase this book on Amazon.com.