The Hardest Way to Avoid Burnout

Whether you’re grinding through 80-hour weeks in order to get your startup off the ground, or just trying to get through the workday at a major corporation, you run the risk of burnout unless you figure out how to best manage your energy.

What’s the trick to avoiding burnout? Most experts recommend getting exercise—no matter how busy you are—and scheduling breaks, even in the middle of a startup “death march.” Eliminating stressors is also key; for example, learning how to diplomatically say “no” to every request that comes across your desk.

The Harvard Business Review has an additional suggestion: Don’t use your smartphone or other devices for work-related purposes once you leave the office for the night. By not checking your work email every five minutes, the theory goes, you give your mind some space to recover from the events of the day.

Of course, for many people, abandoning devices is much easier said than done, and the pervasiveness of scheduling and messaging apps that bundle work and personal data together make it even more difficult to isolate the work-related aspects of one’s life. But if your brain is truly fried, it’s probably worth a try.

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Image: Jamen Percy/