Overwork is the first problem that can lead to burnout.
Chances are you’re a workaholic if you feel pushed to work just for the sake of working. You may feel panic and anxiety when you aren’t working. So to remove this feeling of anxiety work becomes a remedy to your issues. However, what brings you joy can also bring you pain if it's out of control. Overwork can over extend you sooner or longer.
Imagine training for a marathon. Every day for months, you check your online training schedule, you map out your running course, you lace up your sneakers, and you hit the road. Rain or shine, you put in the miles – 3 miles, 13 miles, 23 miles. Over time, the mileage builds until it's the big day. With literally thousands of miles under your belt, you line up with hundreds of other runners, adrenaline pumping and sweat already starting to form on your forehead. It's time.
Three or four (or five!) hours later, depending on your pace, you cross the finish line. You did it. You're a marathoner. You grab your medal and finisher's t-shirt and hobble to your car, probably with the help of a friend or two.
The LAST thing you feel like doing is to run another mile or two. You're done. Spent. Exhausted. In fact, it may be a few weeks before you feel ready to run again. It's to be expected; you trained for months, you ran for hours, and you left it all on the course. Your reserves are empty and you're ready for a nice, long break.
Do you see an analogy here with work? Maybe you've been pushing hard for a specific project or goal, day in and day out for an extended period of time. You've pulled a few all-nighters, and you don't even recognize your kids because you haven't been home before their bedtime. You've been aiming for a product launch or some other hard deadline, and now it's done. You're exhausted, and rightfully so. Just like the marathoner, you've left it all on the course. Overwork can be dangerous.
Some of us may be lucky enough to have more predictable jobs where the highs and lows are minimal. You show up, do the work in front of you, and go home. There aren't big pushes around holidays or product launches, and your days are pretty even-keeled. If we should all be so lucky! Chances are, your job – whether you're in retail sales or software development – has large fluctuations due to external events. You have tax season, holiday season, or inventory season, and that makes your life crazy at times. Don't worry; that's normal. And it's normal to want a break after it's done, just like in the marathoner scenario above.
What isn't so normal, though, is a constant pressure that never abates. If you are always under the gun, always faced with a seemingly insurmountable deadline, always running at record-breaking pace, you're not going to last.
So here's the deal; if you're facing a natural downtime as the result of a big push, relax and enjoy the break. You'll soon feel like working again. But if you find yourself unable to relax due to internal or external pressures, you need to evaluate yourself.
You're on the brink of total breakdown. You may think you are a hero, coming in to solve crisis after crisis. You're working hour after hour and never happy about it. How do you change it? Well, that leads us to our first solution. I will release this article real soon on how to pace yourself.