So another holiday season has arrived and I’m feeling something familiar: burnout. It’s better this year. I made some significant changes in 2022 to achieve greater worklife balance. But as the “Ides of December” role around yet again, I’m limping to the finish line. I’m already fantasizing about taking naps over the holidays! Clearly, I need to eliminate even more things in my already pared-down life if I’m going to make the most of 2023. How about you?
“The holidays shouldn’t be a time to recharge. They should be a time to celebrate.”
So wrote Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and best-selling author, on LinkedIn recently. Grant went on to warn bosses against fostering a “burnout culture” in their teams and companies. But even in my own Company of One, where I’m the boss, employee, personal assistant and Chief Marketer all rolled into one, this quote really resonated this year.
Whenever my old boss needed me to focus on something unexpected that had landed in his inbox, he’d ask me the following question: “What *aren’t* you going to get done today so that you can do this?”
It was a great question. He knew that I was the kind of person who likes to wake up, create a To Do list, and execute it. What he was trying to suggest, in the kindest way possible, was that I wasn’t going to be able to deliver on that today.
I think it’s time to ask myself this question on a larger scale—not for the day, not for the week or for the month—but for the entire upcoming year. I feel so incredibly fortunate that I love my job. But I also know that if I carry on attacking my work as I have for the past three years—(Yes, folks! The clue is in the word “attack!”)—I’m not going enjoy this new life I’ve built for myself the way I really want to…or, frankly, deserve to.
This morning, one of my clients called to cancel a gig that was lined up for next week. Normally, I’d be really disappointed by this turn of events. When you’re self-employed, every piece of work contributes to the bottom line.
Instead, I felt a giant sigh of relief. Why? Because I’m burnt out. And not just this week. In the bigger picture.
So, I’ve resolved that 2022 really will be different. It’s time, as we say in the biz, to “walk the talk.” I’m conscious that I’ve made resolutions like this before: to prioritize balance, to free up “white space” for strategic planning, to do more writing. I’ve gotten better at all of those things. But it’s still not good enough.
Next week, I’ll tell you what I *won’t* be doing next year in order to live a happier, more balanced life. In the meantime, I’m interested in how you’re entering this holiday season.
Are you feeling like it’s a time to celebrate or to refuel? And if you need to refuel, what can *you* take off your list for 2023? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.