A Guaranteed Guide to Burnout

4 min min read
Updated on September 14, 2021
A Guaranteed Guide to Burnout

A Guaranteed Guide to Burnout

I’ve taken a few thousand flights in my life, and every time I do, they tell me that in the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask will come down, and I’m supposed to put mine on first before I help one of my kids with theirs.  And if there aren’t enough masks for them, to just pick the one I like best and go with that.

I think I did hear that actually on a Southwest Airlines flight.  Some very funny people work there btw.

The oxygen mask principle holds true for burnout.  If you’re going to help anyone else, you need to be in decent shape yourself.

But if you’d rather ignore your own oxygen mask, here’s a quick and guaranteed guide to burnout for you to follow:

Surround yourself with all the wrong people

This is an easy one.  Think of those people who drain you.  The ones who make your heart sink when they enter the room.  Those people who help you decide to eat at your desk rather than risk catching them in the lunchroom.

This is a major cause of burnout.  One of the biggest ones in fact.  When you have people around you who are positive and productive, they help you get through busy and stressful times.

But when you’re working a lot harder than usual AND having to work with these people, at some point it just isn’t worth it.

People problems don’t get better on their own.  They get better when you take action.  Do so!

 Eat (whatever you want) drink (to excess) and be merry (instead of sleeping)

Willpower is like a bucket of water.  If you pour out your bucket at work, there’s less water left over for your personal life.

But a big part of burnout is dropping the habits that make you healthy and happy.  Drinking moderately, eating properly, and getting enough sleep.  Which are you missing?  Do a quick inventory and make adjustments.

 Forget your priorities: live exclusively by someone else’s

When things are busy, it’s easy to lose track of priorities and to forget that you run your life, not someone else.  This is a key part of the guide to burnout.

Every morning ask yourself:  what is my top priority today?  What do I need to get done before I go home for dinner?  When you’re getting important stuff done, you’re more in control of your life, and you feel better about it too.

When you live exclusively by everyone else’s priorities, you feel out of control and burned out.

By the way, if you don’t know your own priorities, check out my free course on building your own personal plan here:


Listen to the news as much as possible

If the CNN doom loop isn’t going to make you feel better, then I don’t know what will.

Seriously, do you need to be spending time taking in more negative voices in your life?

In the salad days of youth, I assumed the media was there to objectively inform me about the happenings in our world.  The truth is of course that the media is a business like any other, and they make money by getting you to click on their headlines, not by objectively informing you equally about the good and the bad.

If it bleeds, it leads.  Bad news sells.  Keeping you in a state of fear is great for the news business.

Why not try an encouraging podcast?  Find someone who helps you be a better person.  Changing yourself is a lot tougher (and more rewarding) than changing society.

Listen to positive voices.

Embrace the amazing truth that YOU CAN DO IT ALL

Chuck your limits!  They aren’t for you!  Ignore the warning signs like:

  • The sense of dread in the pit of your stomach when you think about work
  • The cynicism you feel when you go to a work meeting
  • Laying awake rehearsing your day over and over again
  • The hopeless feeling you have when you suspect that nothing will ever change

Okay, we’re all human, and we all have limits.

If you’ve reached the end of yours, take action or get help.

What are your limits?  Enforce your boundaries.

Getting ahead begins with getting started!

Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at gettingpeopleright.com https://gettingpeopleright.com/

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068


Vikram Singh 14.09.2021, 13:21

I love the funny nature of this post. Great tips!

[email protected] 14.09.2021, 13:29

Thanks Vikram, glad you found it funny!

Darielle Pettem 20.09.2021, 07:38

This made me laugh, Trevor! I may be guilty of some of them. I really enjoyed your presentation at our last community call – avoiding ungracious assumptions is great advice.

[email protected] 20.09.2021, 08:29

Thanks so much for your comment. Avoiding ungracious assumptions makes life much simpler!

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