Why We Need to Identify Our Burnout Stage

I’ve spent several weeks writing about burnout. You may wonder why a website dedicated to inspiring women to pursue their calling and thrive in their purpose would focus on burnout. I’ve come to understand that to succeed in our calling fully, we must learn balance, including avoiding burnout.

We can’t avoid what we can’t identify, which is why we need to learn how to identify our burnout stage. And we also need to figure out how to cycle down from higher stages so we can continue to focus on the most important things in our lives. Identifying our burnout stage should be part of our checklist as we make decisions about our yeses and nos.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear writes, “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” Clear also points out that both successful and unsuccessful people have the same goals in many situations. Because of this, setting a goal is not what differentiates winners and losers.

Clear uses the example of two elite sports teams competing against each other and points out only one team will win. He asks,

“Now for the interesting question: If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still succeed? For example, if you were a basketball coach and you ignored your goal to win a championship and focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results?”

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Have a System to Thrive that Includes Identifying Burnout

If you’ve read Lessons from the Sidelines you’re aware that I’m a huge advocate of the block calendar. Below are two scenarios to consider as you evaluate your current stage of burnout before saying yes or no to a new activity.

block calendar

Scenario 1

  1. When a request comes your way pause to weigh the pros and cons.
  2. Consider if the request fits into your mission statement.
  3. Review what is currently on your calendar
  4. If your calendar is full and the request does not fit your mission statement then you need to really pause and pray. I advise that people say no in 99% of the situations where this is the scenario. The only exceptions are the times when God says yes and it’s clear you need to obediently move forward.

Scenario 2

  1. When a request comes your way pause to weigh the pros and cons.
  2. Consider if the request fits into your mission statement.
  3. Review what is currently on your calendar.
  4. If your calendar has space to add something the next thing to consider is where you are on the burnout scale.
  5. If you find that you are consistently in stage 2 or 3 or higher of burnout it’s unwise to add more to your calendar.
  6. If you are mostly in stage 1 of burnout you will want to then move forward again with additional consideration filters.
  7. Since this request fits your mission statement it’s worth evaluating what you have on your calendar that may be contributing toward your burnout if you are in stage 2. You may find that you can replace the activity that is draining you with something that fills you up. If this new activity request fits that option it’s worth considering.

Remember, just because you commit to something doesn’t mean you can’t quit in a few months. However, communication is always necessary. I suggest communicating upfront that you would like to commit for a certain timeframe. Maybe three or six months. And then you can re-evaluate how your new activity is working with your overall work/life balance.

When we identify our burnout stage and evaluate our yeses and nos based on where we currently are on the burnout scale we will set ourselves up for better success moving forward and achieving our goals.

Read More About Burnout

Remember, burnout isn’t something we can avoid. However, it is something we can acknowledge and minimize with the right support systems in place. This begins with taking the time to clarify what increases burnout in your life. When you identify burnout triggers it’s easier to establish boundaries around them.

Thrive in 2022

I’ve learned that there are seasons of life that are easier to walk through when we focus on taking the next step rather than looking for the end of the path. Ready or not, we’re entering a new normal. For many of us, we’re discovering that we have to re-learn how to juggle multiple commitments and daily life at home.

In the past, my solution to handle the intense seasons was to place my needs, wants, and dreams last. But do you know what would eventually happen? I would end up resenting my situation.

So, now, I take time to re-evaluate my commitments and goals. Then, I figure out how I can continue to thrive in my calling even if I have to reduce the energy and time I put toward that part of my weekly calendar momentarily.

I hope you’ll find the questions and activities I’ve complied here helpful as you consider how to thrive in 2022.

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