You’re used to managing your colleagues and the work environment in which they operate, but how much attention do you pay to managing yourself? In particular, how well do your manage your energy levels and your specific needs both in and outside of work? If we don’t ask ourselves these questions on a regular basis-and answer honestly-it’s all too easy to get to the point of burn out without even realizing it.
If you find yourself exhausted in the office, surviving off regular doses of coffee and collapsing when you reach the weekend, your work is already affecting your health and it’s time to make changes to your work routines and general lifestyle before you become completely burnt out.
The further up we climb on the career ladder, the less time we seem to have. This really boils down to time management. As a leader or manager, you rightly pay a lot of attention to your team’s time management skills-but are you yourself using your time as efficiently as you could be?
Inefficient uses of time are often also energy-drainers. For instance, an accumulation of late nights out eventually affect our ability to get up early in order to tackle important tasks, and when we do finally get up, we feel fatigued for the rest of the day. As well as limiting the nights out, you can also manage time more efficiently by preparing everything you will need for the next day the evening before and creating to-do lists in order to help you stay on top of things.
Flexible working is becoming more of an option for more and more individuals aiming to avoid career burn out. Don’t feel like you too can’t flex your working hours just because you’re in charge of a team or department. Talk to your superior. Explore whether working from home is an option. Having just one day at home every now and again can genuinely boost your energy levels by sparing you the commute just for one day and giving you more control over when and how you work.
Another strategy to try is getting into work slightly earlier and leaving earlier, or getting in later and staying later in order to avoid rush hour traffic. You can reduce the time needed to travel and hence save a lot of energy. See if you can manage your timetable to help avoid longer travel journeys.
A vitally important management skill is that of delegation. If it feels like your workload is overwhelming and too much to handle, it may be that you need to delegate more to your team. Be smart in how you spend your time and what you prioritise. It is also important that you communicate what you are doing with the members of your team. Making them aware of your priorities, tasks and workload will help them in identifying the direction you’re steering the team in and will inform them as to help you achieve the goals around that.
If you are on the verge of burning out or are perhaps already burnt out, then anything you can do to help with your energy levels is crucial. Looking after yourself and not just your team will put you in a much better position to handle the stress and strain you may be under. Leadership takes a lot of energy, but that doesn’t mean it has to drain you completely of energy.
[Image: Flickr user John_2]
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sofie Sandell