One of the biggest challenges ambitious professionals face is finding success not only in their career goals, but also in their home life.  All too often, we stay so focused on our work lives we end up burning out and risk losing fulfillment in both realms.  Here’s how to ensure you achieve your objectives while ladder-climbing and in your personal life. 

Is burnout a real thing?

In our culture, we often value busyness and success over other things.  If your habit is to sacrifice your home life to meet work-related obligations, yet you’re not feeling satisfied in either realm, you might be putting yourself at risk for burnout.  As Psychology Today explains, burnout is a very real concern that comes from a state of chronic stress.  If you’re feeling detached, unfocused, weary, or ineffective, those are indicators you might be nearing the end of your rope.  Before you face full burnout, take a step back to carefully consider your situation. 

Reframe your perspective

Sometimes in the pursuit of our successes, our objectives need to shift.  Viewing the situation with fresh eyes can make all the difference.  One idea is to change up how you formulate goals.  You can streamline plans in all realms with a simple goal-setting strategy: aim for SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-limited.  In doing so, you create stepstones toward your success, reducing time and energy wasted on unrelated concerns, and it helps you hit your targets cleanly and quickly.

While you’re thinking about goals, do some soul-searching.  Your job might be a bad fit, or maybe you already accomplished everything you want and aren’t feeling good about your objectives anymore.  If your career is no longer satisfying, perhaps it’s time to completely reframe your career goals.  For instance, if you enjoy helping and advocating for others, consider transitioning to social work.  You can even attend school online for optimal flexibility.  It’s an opportunity to meet your other goals and obligations while earning your degree.  Note that while social workers typically need to complete a Master’s degree, many MSW programs accept students who earned Bachelor’s degrees in other fields. If social work isn’t you calling, maybe there’s another avenue worth pursuing. Whatever your passions are, look to line them up with your career goals when aiming for fulfillment.

Take timeouts

How rigid is your schedule?  Sometimes busy professionals create their own snares, filling days from beginning to end, every day of the week.  To make the most of your life, weigh the pros and cons of flex time.  Ensure you’re covering vital periods of productivity, whether for yourself, your team, or your company, and try embracing a more flexible work week.  For instance, it could mean meeting a client for a breakfast meeting one day of the week, but in exchange you can attend Bobby’s baseball game, or snag an exercise class you want to take.  More family time or doing things for yourself often fit in with a little shifting. 

Tend your triggers

Many busy professionals could benefit from identifying stress triggers.  We all have particular things that increase stress, and just like clarifying your goals, identifying your stress triggers can help you find better coping methods, as well as open your eyes to reducing stressors.  Some common stressors include tight deadlines, personal problems, health issues, and financial worries.  Embrace some healthy coping methods for stress, such as meditation, exercising, or listening to relaxing music

Redefine success

According to some surveys, most Americans define success in terms of luxuries, like taking high-dollar vacations, eating in expensive restaurants, and purchasing costly electronics.  In the process of achieving this form of “success,” Americans are sinking themselves heavily into debt.  USA Today explains credit card debt is soaring, with many Americans paying heavy monthly payments and exorbitant amounts of interest.  Debt can have an adverse effect on your mental health, so if debt stressing you, or holding you back in your career or at home, make it one of your SMART goals to get out of debt

Achieving career goals shouldn’t mean sacrificing other facets of your life.  Do some soul searching and examine what could change.  With some thoughtful strategies, you can reach your objectives, both at work and at home. 

About the author:

Lucy Reed considers herself an entrepreneur since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created the site to help like-minded business people take advantage of the growing sharing economy.

How to achieve your personal and professional goals without risking burnout