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3 Micro-Steps to Avoid Burnout (and Be More Productive)

businesswoman levitating over workplace

Photo credit: (BrownAlex)

“We’ve all been living under this delusion that to succeed, we must burn out,” says Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global.  

“I can tell you that based on the latest science and ancient wisdom, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can achieve peak performance, reach your dreams, and succeed without burning out.” 

Moreover, she adds that prioritizing your well-being will make you more effective in everything you do. 

The author of 15 books, most recently The Science of Sleep: How to Get Better Sleep Naturally, Huffington focused on beating burnout after she collapsed in 2007 due to sleep deprivation and burnout. 

In 2016, she founded Thrive Global, which is dedicated to helping individuals, companies, and communities improve their well-being and performance – and debunking the collective delusion that burnout is the price
 we must pay for success. 

And beating burnout, she says, is something you can do with small micro steps designed to improve daily habits around sleep, food, movement, focus, money, and connection. 

Her three favorites: 

1.    Declare an end to your working day.

“Probably nobody who is listening has an end to the working day, so you need to declare an end,” she says. “You do this by telling yourself that everything incomplete will be handled tomorrow. It’s time for sleep.” 

Key to this is leaving your phone charging outside the bedroom, she says, so you can surrender to sleep. 

After all, “sleep deprivation,” she adds, “is at the heart of the mental health crisis.” 

2. Give yourself time for yourself at the start of the day. 

Before you jump up to get your phone from the other room, she says, take some time to set an intention for the day, take some deep breaths, and think about what you’re grateful for. 

3. Take 60-second resets throughout the day.

“Stress is unavoidable. But cumulative stress is avoidable. And you can do that with 60-second resets during the day,” she says. 

One way to do this is by consciously inhaling and exhaling for 60 seconds. Or you can think of three things you’re grateful for. 

“These are tiny steps,” adds Huffington. “But they are all part of a huge cultural redefinition.”  

“The delusion that we need to burn out to succeed goes back to the First Industrial Revolution when we all started revering machines – and later, software. 

“The truth is the human operating system is different. Downtime for humans is a feature, not a bug. It’s a way to live with more grace, joy, empathy, and compassion – and I promise you, you will be more productive and have more peak performance.” 

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington spoke at the 2022 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. This article is excerpted from her talk.