Many of us involved in the non-profit sectors – in fact, most of us – are likely to be “care-givers.” We find that our lives and our drive to work in the nonprofit sector are fed by giving to or caring for others. To use a quote from the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, “It is in giving, that we receive.”
Yet all of this giving, and giving and more giving, can lead to burnout, frustration and ineffective work – especially as nonprofit leaders.
A helpful blog post appeared a few years ago in Idealist Careers: Find, Land, Love and Grow in Your Social Impact Career. This career site focuses on individuals keen on making an impactful difference in society, and often shares resources for helping us improve our effectiveness as non-profit leaders, development officers, board members, and, yes, even consultants.
In the blog post entitled Tackling Work-Life Balance in the Nonprofit Sector, the author lists 10 ingredients in a recipe for burnout (The particular blog posting was originally drafted in the newsletter of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network.):
- Say “yes” to everything. Just say “no” to boundaries. #Overrated
- Don’t have a hobby.
- Spread yourself thin. Try to do too many things at once.
- Do everything yourself. Why delegate? No one can do your job as well as you.
- Eat, sleep, and drink your job. Stay at it all day, even on the weekends and during vacations.
- Find your self-worth only in your job. Success = staying super busy.
- Complain lots. Why see the positive?
- Don’t take vacations. Personal days are for sissies, that’s a whole day you could be getting things done.
- Don’t take care of yourself. The gym is too expensive, going to bed early is for old people, and fast food is cheap.
- Spend the bulk of your working time doing things that you really don’t care about.
As the author says taken “together in any order… you’ll find you have a classic case of ‘burnout’ on your hands.” (Ashamedly, I can be found guilty of about half of the ten!) What about you? How are you combating potential burnout? What should we be doing to cultivate a healthy work-life balance?
The author suggests we can begin to address the challenges of burnout and build a stronger work-life balance by doing three things:
- Get a life! And not just a work life.
- Seek ways to cultivate a better, healthier YOU.
- Monitor your time and make sure you are finding time daily for yourself.
As some people come to learn, “If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others?”