How to Avoid Burn-Out

by Adam on July 14, 2010

Have you ever experienced burn-out?

Where you feel sick of what you’re doing, or simply exhausted and just need a break?
We all get burn-out sometimes, even when we’re doing things we love. Often it’s a result of working too hard, or focusing too strongly on one thing.

Life is less fun when you feel out of balance.

Often the best thing to do is simply to have give yourself a break.

Room to breathe.

But what can you do if you start feeling burn-out from working towards your financial commitments or savings goals?

The Problem of Money Related Burn-Out

Reaching financial goals can be particularly pressured because there is often a real urgency or need to reach them. Perhaps you: –

  • Have to find a new place to live?
  • Need a new car?
  • Must fix that faulty roof?

When financial pressure gets too much or you get ‘burn-out’ from trying to save every penny you can’t always simply just give yourself a break as you have bills to pay. Or maybe you’re finding it hard to afford a group holiday but you don’t want to let your friends down.

If you start feeling burn-out or you feel your good money intentions are wavering or you’re not reaching time-specific goals, then here are some things I’ve found useful to stay on track.

Automate where you can

Regular readers will have heard this Magical Penny rallying cry before but it really does work.

Making the process of paying bills and putting your pennies into savings automatic takes the will-power out of the equation.

We only have so much mental will-power before we start getting burn-out from all the effort of being ‘good’ with our money so setting up standing orders or direct debits is a great move (US readers should look into auto-bill-pay).

Over time you’ll get used to only having available the money you have left after you have made your payments to yourself (in the form of savings) and others, leading to automatic financial success!

Recognise the things that sap your energy and see what you can do about it

All forms of burn-out have a cause -the key is working out what it is. When it comes to trying to staying on track with your finances there may be something in your life that is making it harder to hit your goals or simply get the bills paid!

Perhaps your friends are encouraging you to spend a little much at the bar, or you’re tempted by online product promotions in your inbox.

Spending money on the things you love is not bad at all but if it’s stopping you from reaching your savings goals or if you’re simply finding it hard to make it to the end of the month then it’s worth trying to work out what you can do about it.

To use a personal example: I find I can spend ridiculous amounts of money on food if I’m not careful!

To counter-act this I’ve set myself multiple  ‘food challenges’ when in a given month I record how many times I bring my lunch into work, or hold myself to account to stick to a strict budget when I’m in the supermarket.

By looking for the things that sap your budget you can make reaching your financial goals much easier and avoid the burn-out that comes when you have to scrimp and save later on in the month.

Read or do something completely different

You can recover quickly from burn-out if you do something completely different. When it comes to staying true to your savings goals there are lots of different new things you can try to keep your momentum and resolve.

  • If you drive everywhere you could try going somewhere on public transport for a new perspective,
  • Or you could look for new money-making opportunities in your area or online.
  • You could even keep it simple and have a ‘no-spend’ weekend, just for the fun of it. It’s all about perspective.

Odd but true: When I was feeling a little burned out from work recently I did something completely different to my normal daily routine and ended up reading everything there is to know about interior design (prompted partly by my new awesome friend Betsy). As it is so much outside my normal interest and knowledge I found it an fascinating and successful experiment.

Doing or learning something new truly can help you recover from burn-out and help you get fired up again on your own projects and goals.

Reexamine your purpose

Humans are largely purpose driven so if you’re feeling burn-out after working on a particular project or towards a specific goal, it may be that you feel you are lacking a purpose. If you’re finding yourself struggling to save for a particular thing perhaps it’s because you have begun to change your mind on the purchase or it simply is not as important as other things.

I’ve found this happening a lot myself as I began saving for medium-term items. In fact it’s the benefit of saving for things you want rather than financing them through debt -you have time to reflect on whether it’s something you really want.

And it’s OK to change your mind!

Giving your goals a purpose is really important if you are to reach them so do change your goals if you find they are less important to the person you have become since you first set them.

Give yourself some room

Doing nothing is still OK sometimes.

I wrote at the start that financial goals can be harder than other goals because they often is an urgency or real need to meet them. However, the most important point of all when it comes to dealing with burn-out is that as long as you’ve got the basics (food, shelter and utilities)  it’s OK to not move towards your goals all the time.

  • You don’t *have* to be growing your net-worth every month.
  • You don’t *have* to always be spending less than you earn.
  • Sometime you just need some time to recharge and reassess.

You don’t have to be a perfect money manager all the time.

As long as you recognise you’re giving yourself some time, that you’re consciously letting yourself off from working towards your goals, then you’ll be fine –just don’t make a habit of it OK? 🙂

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