The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you avoid burnout? is written by Adam Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Coming off a red-eye flight back to Miami seems an appropriate moment to pose and address this question. Newer forms of communication, such as email and social media, are wonderful for managing an ever greater number of parallel conversations but not so sublime for achieving a satisfying personal existence. Employers and employees are striving to accomplish ever more objectives with fewer resources. These variables create a “perfect storm” so to speak, for constant burnout.
So what’s the best way to reenergize without feeling overwhelmed? While each individual situation is subject to personal preferences and ambitions, there are three things that I believe are applicable in every industry. In fact, they have helped me remain innovative and enthusiastic throughout my 27 plus years at Royal Caribbean.
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First and foremost, take a hard look at what you are actually doing with your time and whether you can make substantive adjustments that will increase your effectiveness, efficiency, and enjoyment (let’s call them the three E’s). On a daily basis I assess whether or not I am on track to accomplish specific goals and objectives in the months and years to come. The three E’s come much more naturally when I feel that I’m optimizing my time, allowing my personal and professional life to be in sync.
Next, understand that you are not living in a vacuum. An executive, like a professional athlete, is at the center of an ecosystem of support. You need to enable your support system to thrive. Even today, I am still taken aback by how many executives do not appear to effectively utilize the capabilities of their employees or worse, don’t realize when an employee is under-performing. I’ll use a rowing analogy to demonstrate: when everyone is rowing in unison, the crew is much more able to swiftly move through the water, oppose to when the oarsmen are doing different strokes at different times. The boat doesn’t move and frustration ensues.
Lastly, if you happen to be in one environment for a long time as I have been at Royal Caribbean, be alert for strategic changes in the business. If your business is globalizing or diversifying, or facing profound changes in the expectations of your customers, position yourself for the opportunities that emerge from this evolution. Volunteer for assignments that are germane to new strategic implications. Seek new perspectives for understanding your company’s business. In these ways you avoid the “same old, same old” while forging new relationships and quite possibly achieving visibility to executive management on topics of keen interest.
If you are proactive in positioning yourself for success and utilizing the resources that surround you, burnout should stay on your back burner.