Fast Lane: Nine tips to avoid burnout in business from Arianna Huffington

Fast Lane: Nine tips to avoid burnout in business from Arianna Huffington

Sometimes the fast lane is just a fast track to burnout.

That’s the message Arianna Huffington is spreading in her latest book Thrive.

Last week I listened to Huffington speak at an event organised by women’s business group Business Chicks.

Huffington founded The Huffington Post in the United States and in 2011 sold it for $US315 million to AOL.

But the media mogul received a “wake-up call” when she collapsed and was diagnosed with burn out.

Now Huffington is on a mission to stop other entrepreneurs from falling into the same traps she did.

“Why not learn from others painful wake up calls?  Why do you need to have your own moment of burnout and collapse?” she told the Melbourne audience at the Business Chicks event.

These are Huffington’s tips for entrepreneurs to avoid burnout:

1. Look after yourself

“Remember what they tell us on aeroplanes, put your own oxygen mask on first,” Huffington says.

She says women in particular are susceptible to taking care of themselves last.

If you look after yourself, Huffington says, then you can be a better boss, better employee and better parent.

“We women need to learn that no is a complete sentence.”  

2.  Define success as more than money and power

Huffington says we need a “third metric” of success: wellbeing and health.

“Defining success purely in terms of money and power is like trying to sit on a two legged stool… sooner or later you are going to fall off,” she says.

“Absolutely nothing is worth sacrificing your wellbeing and health for.”

3. Sleep your way to the top

Since her collapse Huffington says she is now a “sleep evangelist” who went from getting four or five hours sleep a night to seven to ten hours sleep.

“I have the best career advice for you, just sleep your way to the top. When you wake up fully recharged… you feel ready to take on the world and handle everything,” she says.

4.  Make your bedroom a device-free zone

Huffington says she has turned her bedroom into a device-free zone and she recommends all entrepreneurs do the same.

Instead Huffington reads “real books” and never books about work.

“This is the time to transition from your working life,” she says.

Huffington says we are addicted to technology.

“I have learnt to disconnect in order to reconnect to myself and I promise you I make better decisions as a result,” she says.

5. Stop constant multi-tasking

Huffington says we are obsessed with multi-tasking.

“You see people walking and being on the phone and walking and texting. When I started just walking I started noticing things that are just beautiful,” she says.   

6.  Remember to give

“Giving is truly a shortcut to happiness,” Huffington says.

“What makes a good networker is a giver. There is no question that if you walk into a room and your first thought is what can I get from him or her you are not going to be as effective as if you can think what can I give.”

Huffington recommends going beyond the call of duty, and she says if you do this, people will immediately want to do things for you.

7.  Stop making comparisons

According to Huffington, the main way to thrive is to stop constantly making comparisons.

“Each one of us is absolutely unique… so instead of celebrating our uniqueness we are constantly comparing ourselves with people who are thinner, richer,” she says.

“If we can’t be happy right now wherever we are, we are never going to be happy. Happy is not about circumstances, it is about our own attitude about what is happening in our life.”

8.  Have a positive attitude

Huffington recommends living life as if everything is rigged in your favour.

“Life is everyday going to grab you by the hand and tell you this is important and this is important, you need to grab it by the hand and say, no, this is important,” she says.

9.  Give up on things

Huffington says we need to learn to give up on things that no longer serve us.

“I conduct a regular life audit. Recently I realised how liberating it is to finish a project by dropping it.”

Huffington says she has given up on skiing as she’s realised she doesn’t like it. As far as I am concerned skiing is done, I have dropped it.

“We make life harder than it needs to be. Life will always have challenges.”  

Have you come close to burnout? What are your tips for staying healthy as an entrepreneur? Email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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