Burnout is a common problem in the modern world. Most people have either experienced it or come very close at some point in their career or life. Burnout occurs when your job or other commitments keep you physically or emotionally drained to the point of exhaustion. If this situation goes on for weeks, months or years, you may finally reach the breaking point commonly referred to as the burnout syndrome.

Burnout occurs when your mind or body can no longer cope with the demands placed upon it. People that experience it often feel trapped in a state of emotional exhaustion and find it quite hard to get out of the rut. You may feel guilty about being unable to break the vicious cycle but at the same time, you do not want to lose the momentum or fail the company. The only problem is when you are exhausted; it can be difficult to make a lot of progress even though you are still going through the motions

People that have reached the breaking point may experience a number of warning signs that are meant to tell them that all is not well. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • A sense of helplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Overt use of alcohol and or other drugs
  • Confusion

Often, good time management strategies can help you avoid falling into the burnout trap. These strategies include:


You need to identify activities that only you can perform effectively and those that can be done by other people. If you have employees, spend some time training and communicating your expectations or goals to them. Then, hand over those tasks to them and trust them to achieve the goals.

On the other hand, most people spend a lot of time firefighting rather than strategizing. It is common for companies to spend a lot of time resolving customer complaints rather than analyzing the complaints and seeking to find out the root causes.


One of the first self-management tools that can help you to put your life in focus is weighing how important an activity is to your or the company. To accomplish this you need to keep a record of all activities for about a week. Go through the list and prioritize the activities according to your goals.

Understand your limitations

You need to understand that as a person, you have your limits. This should never be used as an excuse for mediocrity though. When you have done the best you can you may need to take a break in order to get renewed and replenished. Basically the goal of self-management is to find the perfect balance in your life. It is likely that 20% of your activities result in 80% of the value. Choose to focus on high-value activities that only you can do and look for alternative methods to accomplish the rest of the tasks as long these activities are necessary.

Striking the fine balance between different and often conflicting demands of different groups of people including your family and colleagues is not going to be easy. But it is not impossible. Both groups want as much of your time and energy as possible. You not only need to find a way of reconciling both, but at the same time, need to set some time for yourself. As the only person who is an expert in your own life,  you have to figure out what is a reasonable balance and then defend it assertively.