Mutiny on the Team (hint: It has to do with burnout)

A couple of weeks ago, I was in my third session with a large corporate team. I asked how things were going and whether anyone could share how they were using the tools I’d been teaching.  

A lot of silence, then one guy shifted in his seat. But a big, floppy, slightly angry shift. So I asked, “John (not his name), how’re you doing?”

And John said, “Not great. I haven’t even looked at the stuff you sent. How are we supposed to do a bunch of self-improvement when I can’t even get my work done? The big promise of saved commute time was eaten up last April and since then it’s been a non-stop grind. My whole team is burnt out.”

Aaaaah. Thank you John. There’s nothing better than a courageous participant. If I can’t get the group’s attention, then nothing that I’m teaching will be absorbed.

And if you can’t get your team’s, or your boss’s, or your kids’ attention, then the hard work you and they are doing is mostly going out the window.

I know I’ve written a lot about burnout and self-care the last few weeks, but with spring and vaccinations so close, it feels even harder right now. We are in a lull. The worst is over, but we haven’t regained our energy. In fact, we need to treat our burnout. To that end, I’ve gathered some of my favorite resources. And I’ve arranged them so you can jump to what’s interesting and leave the rest.

Burnout – How it works and how to ease out of it

HBR Podcasts on Burnout:
How fatigue affects our memory:
Shifting the impact of stress:
Time Management for Energy and Balance:
Last year I did a webinar on time management as we work from home.  Here is the link, along with timing for various relevant topics so you don’t have to watch the whole thing:

  • Roadmap for Focus  8:10
  • Know Your Quarterly Goals  8:40
  • Use a Whole Life To-Do List  12:42
  • Use the Eisenhower Matrix 16:10
  • Schedule Everything and course-correct 21:05

Negotiating Workload
It’s important to know how to say no to your boss. Take a look at Know Your Quarterly Goals in the above video. Then consider what matters to your supervisor:

Results and deadlines: “XYZ project is due May 1, and delivery with current clients needs to be seamless. We’re super clear on those. I do have a few things in the way and how we might do them differently. Have a minute

Acknowledgment: “It’s been so helpful to have your input on the priorities for the next few months. We have a few things that are taking the time and still making it hard to see the big picture.”

Collaboration: “Your pushing with Sandy so we’d have more time was so helpful. Really feels like we are in it together. Can I ask about….”

Having the facts/being right: “Here is the detail of what we’re up against. Would love your thoughts on how to re-engineer and streamline some of the work.”

Self-Care, Turning Off, Appreciation
Self-care is about more than exercise and meditation. It’s about knowing what restores you. Maybe you need time with friends, even if it means time away from the family.  Self-care can also mean permission to not be perfect. Just acknowledge and move on. And a little discipline. Tell your team you are not available on weekends or late evenings and then don’t send them emails on the weekend and don’t reply to a text or email when you are in bed!

Weekly appreciation 
Each week, look at your calendar and write the 3-5 accomplishments that meant the most to you. For each one, answer the following:

  • What is the accomplishment:
  • Why is it important (quantitative or qualitative)
  • What would further progress look like?
  • What (if any) are the immediate next steps?

Manage Your Inner Critic:  I am convinced that a big part of burnout comes from how hard we are on ourselves.

Know your inner critic:
5 and 15-minute meditations to connect with sage voice:

Ariana Huffington on sleep: and tips on sleep:

Tony Schwartz on Energy

All my best,

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