It’s easy to dismiss the possibility of burnout. When you’re young and firing on all cylinders, you feel like you can conquer the world. But burnout isn’t something that happens all at once. It creeps up on you and, before you know it, those cylinders are getting stuck.
Here are a few tips to help college students and young professionals keep that from happening.
Maintain Yourself & Your Stuff
Prioritize your health to keep yourself in shape for the long haul. Remember, this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. And like any good marathon runner, you have to prepare ahead of time.
- Set a regular sleep schedule.
- Go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol in the evening.
- Stay off electronics a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Eat right. Carbs and sugar can give you short-term energy, but they can also cause you to crash. Mom was right: Eat your veggies.
- Exercise. Shoot for 30 minutes a day, and it doesn’t have to be strenuous. A brisk walk, stretching, or a bike ride all work great.
- Take care of your equipment. Just like your body and mind, it’s important to keep your most necessary tools in good condition.
- From your car to your computer to your clothes, cleaning your items regularly and according to instructions helps them last longer.
- Invest in protective cases for your electronics.
- Keep up with your car’s scheduled maintenance.
- Assemble an emergency car kit, and keep it handy in case you need it.
- Take breaks. The temptation to “power through” is real, but you’ll actually get your work done sooner if you take breaks periodically. Your brain can only focus for a limited time, and your body can only sit in one position for so long without getting antsy, achy, or both.
- Set milestones. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Mini-deadlines, or milestones, can help you feel like you’re making progress on your way to your ultimate goal.
- Reward yourself. If you’ve accomplished a task, do something fun to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive — if you’re a student or just getting started professionally, you’re probably on a tight budget. Listen to some of your favorite music or watch an episode of your favorite show. Or get out of the house and go for a bike ride.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking seems natural, but did you know it’s actually impossible to think about more than one thing at once? It can also be exhausting. Set priorities and focus on one thing at a time.
- Make a schedule. If you’re working and going to school at the same time, it’s easy to let one interfere with the other. Plus, you’ll always have other interests competing for your time. Maximize your efficiency by making a schedule and sticking to it.
- Avoid distractions. Once you’ve made a schedule, take steps to block out distractions so you can get things done:
- Set up a home office and put a do-not-disturb sign on the door.
- Let family and roommates know when you’ll be working and that you’ll be out of touch during that time.
- Get a set of noise-canceling headphones.
- Do something completely different. On your own time, recharge by doing something completely different than what you do at work or school. Learn something new, and switch things up.
Work and school are important, but your physical and mental health is important, too. Remember that, and you’ll be on your way to an even brighter future.
BIO: Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com