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How to Avoid Burnout When You’re Trying to Get Ahead

By Robyn Parets
August 16, 2017

If you find it challenging to pay bills while saving for your goals, you’re not alone. You may even be burning the midnight oil to start your own business.

While working long hours may help you save money faster, it can also lead to burnout. This stress-induced mental and physical exhaustion can result in a lack of motivation and affect job performance, according to a 2016 study by the Academy of Management.

Indeed, when you’re trying to get ahead, the last thing you want to do is sabotage your financial health – not to mention your physical and mental health. “Burned out people will continue making the wrong decisions,” said The Huffington Post and Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington at a 2016 NYC event hosted by The KIND Foundation and Venture for America.

So, what can you do to avoid burnout while still getting ahead financially? Take a look at our 8 top tips.

1. Rise and shine

Sleeping in is something many of us wish we could do daily. However, waking up with the roosters will pave the way for a more productive and stress-free day. For starters, early risers are more proactive and better positioned for career success than their night-owl counterparts, according to one study. Not only that but many people, including myself, concentrate better earlier in the day.

You can use your extra morning time to answer emails, set appointments, check your Twitter feed and do other busy work that will free up time in your day for other tasks. You can also use your morning time to have a relaxing cup of coffee or even go for a brisk walk – energizing you for the day ahead.

2. Disconnect from technology before bed

For some of us, it’s hard to unplug at night. But, if you’re checking your emails late into the night, this can prevent you from getting enough sleep.

Daytime exhaustion means you won’t function at the top of your game – affecting your productivity and earnings potential.

Thrive Global’s Huffington recommends starting a nighttime ritual by putting your phone to bed at night and then going to sleep yourself. Sounds a bit corny, but Thrive believes in this premise so strongly that it even sells a Phone Bed Charging Station that is designed to look like a bed. The goal: To infuse a bedtime ritual that promotes unplugging, quality sleep and increased productivity.

3. Schedule breaks throughout your day

Regardless of what type of work you do, it’s important to remain focused so that you don’t waste your time on distractions.

To help you get going, pour your energy into a block of work and then take a 15-minute break. Continue this throughout your day. These breaks will energize you and help prevent burnout, according to the Harvard Business Review.

4. Take vacations

In order to truly unplug, it’s a good idea to get away from work and take a vacation at least once a year. Time away from work helps you recharge and return with renewed focus and passion for your job or side hustle.

In fact, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2015, vacations can result in greater productivity at work. Among other things, spending less time at your desk forces you to work more efficiently, according to the article.

To help you prepare to go on vacation, organize your work ahead of time by creating a master list of tasks with deadlines. Then, set up an out-of-office auto responder message on your email and allocate tasks to someone else in your absence.

Once on vacation, consider only using your phone for emergencies. In fact, while at your destination, you can leave your phone in a hotel room or a safe, or perhaps turn it to airplane mode so you can only use it as a camera. If you’re worried that you may have a difficult time ignoring work emails, try installing the Thrive Away app. The app does the dirty work for you and deletes new emails while you’re away, letting senders know when you’ll return to the office.

5. Automate your savings

Every little boost in your savings will help you reach your money goals faster. So why not get a little-added help that won’t stress you out or cost you a penny?

To get started, check out Chime’s “Save When I Spend” feature. This automatically rounds up your Chime debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the round-up amounts into your savings account¹.

Don’t think this will make much of a difference for you? You may want to think again. According to Chime data, those enrolled in the bank account’s automatic savings programs saved over three times more per month than those not enrolled in an automatic savings program. Now, that’s a good way to stress less!

6. Exercise

When do you have time to exercise? Here’s the truth: You probably don’t have time. You’ve got to make the time.

It’s important to add physical fitness into your schedule because a lack of exercise can make you feel run down. Increased exercise, on the other hand, helps reduce anxiety and depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Better physical health can also lead to improved financial health.

7. Set boundaries

We get it. Earning and saving money is important. At the same time, your health and sanity depend on declaring an end to your work day and a start to your personal time. This takes discipline and requires setting boundaries.

This is easier said than done, especially if you work for a company that expects you to always be “on” and reply to emails late at night. If you find yourself in this situation with your employer, you may want to discuss your boundaries with your boss. For example, you can talk about times when you won’t be available to answer emails. These days, most employers recognize the importance of work-life balance and will respect you for coming forward.

When it comes to your side gig, setting boundaries may be a bit easier as you make your own rules. On the flipside, time is money and you may feel it’s imperative to respond immediately to a client or manager – even late at night or on a Sunday morning. If this sounds like you, you can choose to inform your clients that you’ll respond to their requests during regular business hours and then put your phone in another room so you can enjoy your downtime.

8. Stay balanced

There are indeed other steps you can take to reduce your stress and maintain balance, like getting more sleep, eating healthy, and starting a meditation practice. Regardless of what you do, remember not to let your work life consume your entire life. You worked hard to get to where you are today. You certainly don’t want to lose this momentum by burning out.

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1 Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your Savings Account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your Savings Account.

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