If you’re an association professional, you probably…
- Work practically 24/7
- Wear many, MANY hats
- Struggle to get things done - and get them done RIGHT
- Know what burnout feels like
Yup, burnout is REAL, especially in the nonprofit space. So how can you overcome it, so that you don’t resent your job? Here are a few tips:
You probably spend all of your time (free time included) thinking about what needs to get done - the emails you need to send, the newsletter you need to draft, the event you need to plan, etc. But that will wear on you so fast, you’ll wonder how you can ever keep going.
That’s just it: You HAVE to stop. You have to disconnect from time to time, especially digitally. After a certain time (say 6 p.m.), vow to stop checking your email. Stop checking social media as well. In fact, if you can, turn off your cell phone altogether.
This will be a hard adjustment at first, but it’s necessary to be more “in the moment,” which will leave you feeling more refreshed the following day.
2. Schedule downtime
We get it - if you don’t schedule it, you don’t get to it. And it’s not your fault. Things always come up! But that’s why it’s crucial to actually schedule a little downtime. Even if it’s just for an hour or two in the evenings, block off some time, and make it a “work-free zone.”
You can spend this time doing whatever you’d like - reading, watching TV, spending time with your family, planning that dream vacation on Pinterest - just make sure it has nothing to do with work. Your brain NEEDS this downtime. And it will help you approach projects (and problems) with a clear mind in the morning.
Note: This should be guilt-free downtime. Just remember, everything you touch tomorrow - projects, meetings, etc. - will be better from your downtime today.
3. Don’t bring work into fun, but do bring fun into work
It’s so easy to bring work into your personal life - when you’re walking, watching TV, driving to work or to the store, etc. And that’s how you get so mentally exhausted. You literally have zero downtime (see point #2).
That said, scratch those habits, and instead of bringing work into fun (ahem...conference calls in the car), try bringing fun into work. Here’s an example, let’s say you and a coworker need to brainstorm ideas for your next meeting or event. Well, is that something you could do while taking a short walk outside? Not only is this good for your mental and physical health, but it could actually help spur some creativity. (Two birds with one stone, folks!)
4. Be realistic about what can and cannot get done
Here’s the thing: You’re only human, and you can only do one or two things *well* at once. You have to remember that - and accept it.
Instead of beating yourself up for all the things you can’t get done in a day, re-adjust your expectations. Identify the tasks that absolutely HAVE to get done - then focus your time and energy there. If you have extra time, you can then focus on some of those other projects. But otherwise, know that you accomplished what you set out to do - and be happy with that!
5. Remember your “why”
At the end of the day, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, always just think back to your why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your association’s mission? You may be bogged down with tedious (and seemingly never-ending tasks), but focus on the big picture. You’re contributing to a much larger cause - always keep that in the back of your mind.
If you’re doing all of the above and you’re STILL feeling burned out, it might be time to reach out for help. Have you ever considered an association management system? An AMS is an all-in-one technology solution designed to make association management easier. It can help with event management, dues renewals, email marketing, website marketing, reporting, and more.
Want to see what else an AMS can do, and more importantly, how it can make your life 100x easier? Check out our free guide, What Is an AMS?, below!