No one escapes burn out, especially the community manager, who’s expected to be on 24/7. You must know what I’m talking about, or you wouldn’t have read this far. The more concentration you apply to your work, the less you have remaining at the end of the day. In fact, a night’s sleep doesn’t come that easily and sometimes you return to your desk with wrists and fingers in the claw position.
Burnout is an occupational hazard, so if you relate, you need to adapt a self-care routine to protect, preserve and prolong your career and sanity, because this is not going to go away on its own.
A while back, there was a #CMGRchat on the topic of burnout and stress. A few of the things stood out in how to deal with stress and pressure of keeping community running. Check out transcripts of #cmgrchat here.
Outline your boundaries: Make sure that expectations between management, your community and any other stakeholders are clearly communicated and realistic. Especially make sure that the response times are clearly indicated.
Build a team: Of course, you may be limited in the amount of resources to help manage your job, however, try to find creative ways to be more efficient. Outsource small tasks that could be repetitive, or those that take you away from your core functions.
Keep things in perspective: Understand the bigger picture. At the end of the day, this is a job and not your life. So, don’t stress the details and focus on the things that bring value to you.
Reward Yourself. Now!
Burnout is the symptom of a brain that has lost all motivation. Motivation declines when your life is missing two important incentives: earned reward and novelty. Neuroscience research has the answer to this dilemma. Whether your burn out is in or away from home, do not try to compensate by working less, because poverty has its own issues. Instead, science says you must turn work into play by sparking each day with challenges and novelties that afford expectation of reward.
Self-rewards are excellent:
- After I finish this work project, I will take a social break, either with friends or alone, watching a game, event, video or movie I haven’t had time to watch.
- After the house is cleaned, I will investigate aromatherapy and audio sound tapes engineered to improve one’s mind and emotions.
- Long boring commute – add something different each week, such as a new route, new music playlist, library audio books.
- Hours at a computer – add something to look forward to. Change your routine by going for a lunchtime walk or an after-work swim. Explore classes not related to work! Or, if you are that dedicated, take a management course and initiate a new idea each week.
- Contrary to sounding mundane, a simple rearrangement of your workspace can rejuvenate your spirit. Move furniture, hang new photos or pictures on walls, replace plants. Even if the result is less than hoped, the energy and thought you used to achieve it was a mind and spirit break.
Since technology moved in and took over our days and nights, it’s been harder to take a step back from the daily grind. The most important element in earning a living should not be the salary. It should be that you really like doing it and don’t want anyone else to do it better. The old adage that a mind is a terrible thing to waste is dead-on. To make your hold on your job duties firm and solid, keep your brain humming in an inspirational beat.