How to Prevent Burnout & Achieve Work-Life Balance

Last updated March 21, 2024

As I’m writing this piece, I’m realizing I’m either the best, or the worst, person to be suggesting this advice. 

The best, because I’ve been on the brink of burnout (or have been gone beyond there) many times my working life and have had to level it back a bit to avoid tipping over. 

The worst, because, well, I’m still a work in progress and may not have all the answers.

Better to be a work in progress than an ignorant fool. So, here we go!

Why Do We Burn Out?

Speaking on behalf of myself, as a type-A, traveling solo-preneur at the moment, I wear many hats. 

Even if you’re not working for yourself, it can still be very easy to burnout these days, as the lines between home and work life have been drastically blurred over the past year.

In addition, as entrepreneurs, burning out is almost inevitable. 

Avoiding it might not be the best approach, but rather, learn when we’re getting close to that breaking point and get better at acting prior to it happening, developing resilience and self-awareness, and become more proactive in ways to recover.

The Problem of Working Too Much

Zoom calls can be scheduled anywhere, anytime, and meetings and emails seem to have us on a 24/7 mercy and becoming call. While I’m a lead advocate for technology and its positives, it’s also opened up a bloodline for potential burnout for all of us.

Enough on the problem, Sara. What can we do about it? Well, here are some tips I’ve implemented in the past that have helped me stop, pause, replan, and implement in those moments I get a little too close to the brink of work woah.

How to Prevent Burnout at Home and in the Workplace

Getting back into the “do-it-now” list (because that’s what I’m all about—action!), here are some tips to balance work/life and prevent burnout before you dangle too close to that edge (advice, from yours truly):

1. Schedule in a Wellness Vacation, and Fully Disconnect

Block it off in the calendar, put on the out-of-office reply to your inbox, and set time to be around your family or friends who aren’t related to your work. 

Then, really stick to it, or plan out just an hour of the day to handle any fires that need immediate attention. 

The rest truly can wait and can give your team the opportunity to manage and take on responsibility themselves to shine.

2. Understand What Your Edge Is

The thing with burnout is, you don’t really know when you’ve hit it until you’re past being burnt out. As the saying goes, you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf them. 

Same here, we may not be able to avoid the workload, but we can learn to surf around the rougher tides or know when we need to stop paddling for a bit.

3. Schedule in Device-Free Time

Be it at the gym, at the dinner table, or the two hours in the evening before bed, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and not be 24/7 “on” or connected. 

One of the best things I ever started doing was removing the plug for my phone from the bedroom and pausing any emails that were coming in until the morning.

4. Travel and Switch Up Your Work Space

Be it for work, leisure or bleisure, having a fresh atmosphere to do a virtual call or meeting can reinvigorate your creative thinking. 

In addition, this can spark new ideas and add fresh energy to your work and your team to create better overall productivity and team collaboration.

5. Take a Siesta to Prevent Burnout

12 minutes a day to close your eyes without a phone near you can do wonders. You don’t need to actually fall asleep, but just giving your eyes and mind a break from a screen or switching from task to task, can really give you a restart.

6. Make Movement a Daily

Dedicate 4% of your day—that’s one hour—towards working out of some sort. Walking on a treadmill, lifting weights, a yoga class…any one of those counts towards a 4% movement goal 

Plus, with limitless options today to practice online, there really are no excuses that you can’t make it to a class.

7. Learn The Power of Saying “No”

Boundaries can be your best ally as a leader. In fact, a majority of successful business owners and entrepreneurs say “no” more often than they say “yes.” 

Get comfortable with declining offers or projects that aren’t aligned with your future goals to prevent burnout, or one’s that you intuitively know will tip you over the edge.

A tactic I use, instead of flat-out saying “no” to someone, offer a suggestion you can commit to instead. 

So, instead of “No, I won’t meet you for this photoshoot Wednesday for free in the middle of my day when I’d have to reschedule my paid client calls,” I’d suggest, “While I would love to work with you on this shoot, how about we look into the following months when my client load is a bit lighter?”

The above was a bit dramatic of an example. However, on that note, I’m personally not in the habit of explaining myself, and sometimes “No” truly is a full sentence (depending on the receiver).

8. Meditate Daily

An over-shared, yet under-valued statement. Honestly, add meditation to your daily schedule. 

Further, implement visualization as a tactic if that helps you. 

In my morning daily meditations, I visualize my goals actually happening and how I want the day to best play out. 

While this can sound a bit lofty, it actually does help to start the day on a positive note and be able to strive to create that “best-case” scenario in the moments that work and life throw a few zingers my way.

9. Create A Routine and Stick To The Schedule

This is the third time I’ve referenced the word “schedule” in a topic headline, and with reason. When you make a schedule, just the thought that you’ve mentally committed to doing it already fires off a portion in your brain that you committed and geared towards that intention.

Have you experienced burnout before? We empathize with you and hope these tips will help prevent burnout from happening again, to pull back and restore.

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