Last year was a complete hurricane of activity for me. From moving countries, to doing photoshoot after photoshoot, to finishing off the year by acting in my first feature film role- I was totally overwhelmed and drained by the end. While all that activity was great growth for my career, and I am very grateful for all of it, I did find myself feeling both physically and mentally burned out by the enormous hours, difference in work cultures and literal environmental factors like heat and pollution. While I’m lucky enough to be able to “get away from it all” by travelling to another country at the moment, work, life and responsibilities don’t stop so here are my top tips for avoiding feeling burnt out when you have a busy schedule.
Turning off Notifications on Your Phone
I got to a point when I was managing about 3 major projects at once- a movie, a cosmetics deal and a tv show. My phone was almost starting to scare me, as every time I would be in the middle of one task, whether it was responding to a message, or doing a post, or recording a live, a push notification would pop up with another message or reminder of something to be done. It was making me a bit crazy- and when I say “bit” I mean very. I was irritable, frazzled and unable to concentrate on just getting the matters in front of me done without interruption. I literally felt triggered by those notifications!
So you know what? I just turned them off. All of them. From emails, to WhatsApp, to reminders from apps. And it helped enormously. I was able to just concentrate on what needed to be done before me at the time it needed to be done, and then go back to my emails and messages at another time when it was more convenient. Which brings me to my next point.
Scheduling Blocks of Time
When everything was happening all at once and there were multiple things to manage at the same time, it got really overwhelming. To help get through it all without getting totally burned out, I broke my to do list into little chunks and dedicated blocks of time to doing each thing. So for example, if I had to plan out my social media feed, I put a timer on my phone for 1 hour and only did feed planning for that hour and didn’t get distracted by anything else (especially since my push notifications were off)! If I had to shoot that day, or had to be physically somewhere else, I knew that whatever work I had pending outside of those work hours could be done in these manageable little chunks of time that I could decide on my own. I even did this when it came to dealing with people, whether professionally or socially, I would put in blocks of time to deal with each person so I didn’t feel inundated with meetings and commitments. Try it out and see if it works for you!
I must admit, this is something I struggled to find the time and patience for, and I am still not amazing it at. But when you’re burnout, and your body and brain are just oversaturated from all the things you have to do, clearing your mind and just being still for a few moments can work wonders. Even if you can’t find time during your day to do this, try listening to guided meditation tracks at night before you sleep to help you unwind (instead of checking your phone or watching dumb animal videos like I used to do)!
There was a day when I was shooting my movie and I had had a 3 am call time, I shot for nearly 12 hours and then was lucky enough to find myself with the rest of the day off. I was so tempted to just crash into bed and watch Netflix. But instead I took myself down to the beach, sat on the shore and meditated. I just let my mind go quiet, and thoughts would pass through, and that was fine, but I was just letting myself fall into a space below all the noise and stimulation of my daily grind- and it felt so peaceful there. Before I knew it, my alarm buzzed (see, again with the scheduled blocks of time; so things don’t feel daunting!) and 20 mins had passed.
If you can work in little blocks of time to meditate for yourself, it can really help re energise you to the task at hand and help avoid the feelings of being over cooked in your work!
Hope these little tips and tricks can help you. Drop me a line and tell me what you do to help stay sane when you have a busy schedule!