Combine a passionate type A personality with an "I can do everything on my own" personality and it creates a breeding ground for burning out. High achievers are prone to working exceptionally long hours, managing heavy workloads under insane amounts of pressure, and operating on short (and often unrealistic) deadlines.
Being a high achiever and bettering yourself doesn't equate to sentencing yourself to poor health and burnout.
To avoid this, it's important that you match your professional ambition with an equal level of ambition in your personal life. To avoid burning out and having other poor health biomarkers while pursuing your goals, avoid these four critical mistakes.
1. Unmanaged stress
Everything in life ranging from being chased by a lion to running in a park to delivering a game-changing morning proposal is a stressor.
Your body senses these events as a danger and protects you. This happens through your body secreting neurotransmitters and hormones such as adrenaline, serotonin, and cortisol, to name a few. These neurotransmitters and hormones release quickly to help you in that short time period.
However, the problem occurs when you can't turn it off. This leads to chronic stress. These neurotransmitters and hormones are continually released and eventually deplete you.
When you use your shower at maximum pressure and forget to turn it off, the hot water eventually runs out. Chronic and unmanaged stress operates the same way.
Left unmanaged, they will exhaust you, leading to a weakened immune system along with anxiety, weight gain, and poor sleep.
Manage your stress by scheduling downtime through quick mental breaks each hour, meditation, giving daily gratitude, and journaling.
2. Lack of sleep
Sleep is your greatest currency for transforming all aspects of your life. Sleep plays a pivotal role in your longevity, mood, performance, and ability to handle stress and endure demanding workloads.
Think of sleep as your fortress. Neglecting it over a period of time leads to a higher likelihood of invading forces coming through (e.g., chronic illnesses, weight gain, and other metabolic illnesses).
Make sleep a non-negotiable activity each night.
3. Long and unstructured work days
As you're building a business or striving to make an impact within your company, putting in the work is a necessity.
But not all long work days are created equally. There are long work days that mask themselves as productive but aren't and then there are long work days where efficiency and effectiveness operate at their peak.
Don't confuse being busy with being productive. This confusion happens due to a lack of structure and discipline. And that lack breeds neglect for your nutrition, stress management, and other basic needs, which can lead to various illnesses.
To establish structure and discipline, plan your meals out ahead of time, set a weekly work schedule, and track your hours to ensure that you're working effectively and not just being busy.
4. Over-reliance on coffee
There are a plethora of memes and celebrations about it always being the right time for coffee. But as with most things in life, too much of it can become an anchor to our lives.
A controlled caffeine intake has health benefits. But over-relying on caffeine plus an overwhelming amount of stress leads to anxious feelings along with potentially draining your adrenals (also called adrenal fatigue).
Also, coffee has a half-life average of around five hours, meaning that long after you drink it, it's still in your system, which leads to disrupted sleeping routines.
To prevent this, limit your daily cups of coffee and caffeine consumption and set a cutoff time for caffeine in the early afternoon.