How to Avoid Burnout (And What You Can Do About It!)

These days it can be very demanding learning how to turn off work and how to say “no” to maintain boundaries to avoid burnout while working from home.

The biggest challenge I see with organizations I work with is that most employees need to take the time to create an Ideal Week (one of the tools from inside The Resilience Toolbox) to create time and space within their calendar to prioritize Self Care.

I understand, it’s very difficult to do!

When I left playing with Team Canada in sledge hockey and created the Sledge Hockey Experience, I was all over the place with my schedule and found myself close to burning out on several occasions as I built a life after sport.

Before you know it, you might find yourself in a downward spiral that you feel like you can’t get out of.

If you find yourself struggling and on the brink of burnout, here are five tips to help you take back control and avoid burnout.

Learn Makers Time vs. Managers Time

Paul Graham wrote a great article titled Makers Schedule vs Managers Schedule, in which he speaks about the difference between time you deliberately schedule in your calendar for deep, focused work, versus time you leave open and available in your calendar for tasks where you can allow interruptions.

For example, I took this principle to create my Ideal Week (using my tool from inside The Resilience Toolbox) and do not schedule appointments before 11am Monday to Friday to allow myself time and space to work ON my business vs. working IN my business.

There are of course exceptions to this rule such as if I have a coaching call or a paying client require time, but ultimately the goal is to create a schedule where we are meeting our own expectations for our workload (makers time) vs when we are scheduling time to meet others expectations (managers time).

When you become more deliberate with your calendar, you can help avoid burnout.

Prioritize Self Care

Building on the last point, in addition to creating time in your calendar to separate your maker time and manager time, it’s also critical that you carve out time in your calendar to prioritize self-care.

It's critical that you carve out time in your calendar to prioritize self-care. Share on X

Now, what does self-care entail?

For me, it’s about prioritizing my morning before I begin my makers time.

Currently I am back on schedule to workout at 5:00am, and so by 6:30am I am reading 10 pages of a book, journaling in my 5 Minute Journal, and eating a healthy breakfast as I aim to control my diet (something else you may hear about inside The Resilience Toolbox, as well as in my post about What I Learned By Doing The #75Hard Challenge).

What does self care look like for you?

Whether it is reading, meditating, sewing, painting, wood working, playing with small engines in the garage, taking a bubble bath, lighting a candle, binge watching Netflix… figure out what that is for you and then make it a priority to do that during your week.

Schedule Buffers

A dear friend of mine, Dr. Matthew Stork, shared a concept called exercise snacks as a means to schedule in your calendar breaks mid-day to disconnect, help avoid burnout, and break up your day while working from home.

The idea is that you don’t need to do a full workout to feel good, and by “snacking” throughout the day, we can add in self-care to help avoid burnout.

Stand up.


Climb the stairs three times.

Walk around the block briskly in between meetings.

Try building in a break in between your meeting for “an exercise snack”.

Try building in a break in between your meeting for “an exercise snack”. Share on X

Additionally, if you lead a team or organization, you may want to consider implementing mandatory 50 minute meetings.

Some organizations have done this recently to help intentionally provide their employees with a break so they can look after themselves and help avoid burnout.

Find a Hobby

What do you mean, Kevin? You mean you want me start arts and crafts?

Possibly… yes!

It depends…

What’s a hobby that you might enjoy?

For me, I recently picked up doing puzzles. I use these as a means to mentally disconnect from work both during and at the end of my day.

It’s a way for me to do something that doesn’t involve electronics. It lets my mind drift away and focus on the task at hand. It’s not very mentally taxing, and it brings small joy and fulfillment even just from working on it for a few minutes.

What is a hobby that you can step away to?

Maybe it’s painting, sewing, drawing, colouring, wood working?

Maybe it’s photography!

It doesn’t have to exclude electronics, but what is something (healthy) that allows you to disconnect from work to help avoid burnout?

Take a Nap

Yes, taking a nap mid-day may leave you feeling a bit guilty, but if you think about it… who doesn’t love a good nap!!??

The benefits of taking a 20 minute break to rest your mind are significant.

You will feel refreshed an energized.

You will find improved concentration and memory.

It helps you refocus on your task at hand.

While training for the Paralympics, taking naps mid-day were a secret weapon for me in pursuit of a Bronze medal in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. They helped me recover quickly in between training sessions and provide a boost of energy for my afternoon workouts.

Taking naps mid day are a secret weapon! Share on X

If you’d like to watch a great video about how the Canadian Para Ice Hockey Team leverages sleep to enhance their performance, I encourage you to check out this amazing video by Tempur-Pedic Canada titled, Rest is a Weapon.

In Conclusion

As I speak about in my keynote on The Hero Mindset, by focusing on small things that make a big difference we can start to take charge in our own life and become a hero in our own movie.

Burning out while working from home can creep up on you fast. If we don’t take time to monitor how we are spending our time, we will be heading in a downward spiral faster than we know it.

So, continue to practice these small, sometimes silly strategies, to help you maintain control over your health and mental energy to create the time and space you need in your calendar to keep performing at your best and avoid burning out.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you develop a resilient mindset:

How To Get Yourself “Back On Schedule”

What To Do When Nothing Is Going Right

Life Doesn’t Give You What You Want, Life Gives You What You Need

Download your FREE copy of my autobiography, Still Standing: When You Have Every Reason to Give Up, Keep Going here.

Related Articles