How to Avoid Burnout

You might be headed for a physical, emotional, or spiritual collapse.

A lot of leaders burn out. It seems to come out of nowhere. One day you are living life, working hard, and the next day you hit a wall and collapse.

How to avoid burnout

These kinds of collapses are common in leaders:

  • Physical Collapses – Sickness, Exhaustion, Insomnia, or Lack of energy.
  • Spiritual Collapses – Spiritual discouragement, Lack of spiritual interest, Moral failure.
  • Emotional Collapses – Anxiety, Depression.

Burnout might seem to come out of nowhere, but it really doesn’t. Burnout is often the by-product of poor choices on the part of a leader. There are patterns that lead to Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Collapses. These patterns involve not paying attention to what your body and soul really need.

One of the most important strategies in avoiding burnout is to get rest. Without rest, burnout is inevitable. Without rest, collapse is certain.

Consider the following 4 strategies for rest that will help you to fight against Burnout.

1. Daily – Take Four Hours Off.

Every day, take at least four hours and get away from your work. I encourage leaders to look at a week as 21 four-hour time blocks. (See the following worksheet)

Ideal Week Worksheet

Each day has three time blocks. 8-12, 1-5, and 6-10. Take one of these time blocks every day and do nothing that is related to your work. Exercise, spend time with your family, play or watch a sport, hang out with friends, take a walk, pay attention to your soul. But whatever you do, stop working. Daily rest is critical. If on a particular day or two you don’t get rest, make sure to prioritize it today. You can’t work very many 12 hour days and avoid collapse.

2. Weekly – Take One Whole Day Off.

Once every week, take 24 hours and do nothing that has anything to do with your work. That means no email, texting for work purposes, or reading for work. I am not encouraging you to lay on the couch and watch TV for 24 hours. In your 24 hours off, do things unrelated to YOUR work. Do home projects, run errands, have down time, spend time with family and friends. But for a whole 24 hours, don’t check email, disconnect from your vocation and rest.


Also Read: How to Take Control of Your Crazy Schedule


3. Monthly – Take One Entire Weekend Off.

At least once monthly, take an entire weekend (or two days in a row) off. If you are in business, this should not be that difficult. In fact you should be doing it at least once per month. If you are a pastor, consider preaching no more than 40 times per year. Seriously. Are you really so gifted and important that you need to preach 50 times per year? Your church will survive with you out of the pulpit once monthly. Train up another preacher, let him preach, and take one entire weekend off every month. Having 2-3 days off once monthly will allow you to recharge and work hard when you are working.

4. Quarterly – Take a Week Off.

Once per quarter, take an extended time off. Too many leaders that I know save all of their vacation for summers. They work 11 and a half months per year, and are exhausted by about February, and useless March-May. If you are in business take 2 or three vacation days once per quarter, combine it with a weekend, and get away. If you are a pastor, consider taking one week off every quarter. This will keep you much fresher as you are always only 13 weeks away from vacation. (In order to do this, you’ll have to fight for 4 weeks of vacation. I’d be happy to coach you through this. I have successfully argued to church leadership gatekeepers several times that working hard 48 weeks per year is much better than working 50 weeks per year and being burnt out all of the time.)

Please Comment and Continue the Conversation!

If you found this post helpful consider sharing below!



Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.