Podcasts
24
Avoiding Burnout with Lynn Winter

"We often think that burnout means you have a lot of work on your plate, but that's just one form of burnout. You can also be extremely burned out because you're undervalued..."

How are you feeling today? If you’re a busy project manager, there’s a really good chance that you’re feeling stressed. Or maybe you’re trying to avoid stress. And as the end of the year approaches, the pressure to wrap things up, deliver on year-end goals, and make everyone happy are probably building up. But you can’t let that stress get to you, because that leads to burnout. That’s why we brought Lynn Winter on the show to talk about how you can deal with burnout--and how you can help others to do the same. No matter the time of year, you’ll want to check this episode, which covers:

  • How to define burnout--figure out you are burn out and how you can look inside and fix it
  • Are PMs more prone to stress?
  • Valuing the project management role
  • Signs of burnout at work
  • Things that we can do in order to beat burnout
  • Facts about how employees deal with stress and burnout
  • How to set boundaries
  • Personal stories from the host and guest on how they handle stress


About our guest

Guest

Lynn Winter
Digital Strategist

Lynn is a freelance Digital Strategist who works with nonprofits in the open source community. She combines 19 years of project management experience with an expertise in user experience and content strategy to bring a holistic approach to her work. Likely due to being 100% german and a life-long PM, she users lean processes in all her work, focusing her energy instead around relationships. In 2018 she founded Manage Digital, a conference for Digital PM’s in Minnesota. You can connect with her at lynnwintermn.com.

Episode Transcript

Transcript

Brett Harned:       Hey, welcome to episode 24 of Time Limit. You know, the holidays are approaching, and that means a lot of us are feeling a little stress, or maybe even some pressure. So I thought this week we should slow down for a minute to talk about how to avoid that stress, or at least how to manage that pressure. I'm happy to have Lynn Winter joining me today. Lynn is a digital strategist and the founder of Managed Digital, an annual digital project management conference in Minneapolis. She's also a mom, a content strategist, and a videographer. She's also a freelancer, so she's got the potential for a lot of stress, but she's been finding better ways to manage that stress and burnout so much that she's been speaking at a lot of conferences around the country about how to avoid burnout, specifically in project management. So I'm really happy to have Lynn join me today. Hey Lynn, thanks so much for joining me today.

Lynn Winter:        Thank you for having me.

Brett Harned:       Awesome. So I should mention for our listeners that we are recording just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and to me this kind of feels like the perfect time to talk about burnout. I mean honestly I'm so ready for a little bit of a holiday break, and I feel like this time of year kind of always gets to me. Things start piling up. I'm not sure if you feel the same way either, but I start to feel burnout toward the end of the year.

Lynn Winter:        Absolutely. You tend to take time off just to be able to do all the tasks, or prepare the Thanksgiving dinner, so you forget to take the time just to relax and do something nice for yourself.

Brett Harned:       It's so true. It's like there's just so much more on your mind this time of year. So what I want to do is kind of taking a step back, because I'm kind of pushing us forward in the conversation, but I mentioned that we're going to talk about burnout, and you've been speaking on burnout, kind of as it relates to project management, quite a bit recently, which I'm excited to have you here to talk about it, and I'm sure that there are plenty of stressed out project managers listening out there, and we all kind of handle stress differently. So I kind of want to set a baseline for the conversation, because I'm talking about stress and burnout, but how do you define burnout?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, so I think about it as either a physical or an emotional exhaustion that goes on for a long time. So it might be both physical and emotional. For me, I started having a lot of physical reactions that was a sign of what was going on, but essentially it goes on for a long time. It doesn't seem to have an end point, and it stresses out kind of work or your family life.

Brett Harned:       Got it. Yeah, definitely have been there. What do you think brings burnout for project managers specifically?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, well I think there is some challenges that project managers deal with that maybe other folks don't, and so with the role of a project manager, we are often kind of the patriarchs or the matriarchs of the team. We spend all the time making sure everything's lined up, that everyone gets what they need, from your teammates to your clients, and we're just taking care of all the details, and there tends not to be anyone behind us taking care of ourselves. So we will stay up all night, we will start early to make sure things are on track, because if they aren't where they need to be, then the project doesn't go off the way it needs to.

Lynn Winter:        The other thing is that I think there is potentially either lack of respect or understanding of our role, and I don't think this is carte blanche across the whole industry or all different places of work, but there are so many stories I hear about folks of people that just ... where they don't just respect the role, or they don't really understand what a project manager does. So it's hard to define the value and so support those folks in the right way. I mean, a lot of us, when we talk about what we do all day and we say, "Well, we're on the phone and we send emails," and so it's not the most glamorous way to talk about our job, but it's also really highly undefined. So I think there's a lot of industry stress, as well as where we work around that aspect.

Brett Harned:       That's really interesting that you bring that up. I never really considered that. There is stress around proving what you're doing as a job sometimes. So doing that job, but then also showing the value of that job can really drag you down I guess, huh?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, and I think part of it is that sometimes we often go to the definition that burnout means you have a lot of work on your plate, but that's just one form of burnout. You can also be extremely burned out because you're undervalued, you have no challenges, you're just not feeling, pushing, or values. So I think there's so many different aspects to that.

Brett Harned:       Yeah, I think that's such a great point. I really never even thought about it that way, but of course there's burnout associated with not feeling like you can do the job that you want to do or contribute in the way that you want to do, and that absolutely makes sense for project managers. I guess the way that I've always thought about it was there's just so much. Like you said, it doesn't have to always have to do with the amount of work, but it feels for me like it does, and it's more about kind of mental stress. I'm trying to keep so many balls in the air, so to speak, or I'm trying to keep people updated and happy and things moving in a positive way, and there's only so much that you can control, and I think that's part of it for me too. If I don't feel like I have everything in control, then I start to lose things and things feel like they're not maybe being managed in the way that I think that they should and I start to stress out and that kind of snowballs. I don't know if you've ever encountered anything like that?

Lynn Winter:        Just a little bit.

Brett Harned:       Yeah. I'm sure.

Lynn Winter:        I mean I got to a point where I was actually having a lot of physical challenges that I didn't really put all together until I stepped away from the environment. So I was getting sick a lot. I started having some bouts of vertigo, which I don't know if you've ever had that, but it's highly ... you can't even function, you can't even sit straight, and then I also started having panic attacks, which at the time I actually got tested to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack because it was just chest pains. Even though my brain is saying [inaudible 00:06:18], since clearly I'm not having a heart attack. I'm sitting here doing my work, but I'm having all this pain and panic, and so I didn't put that all together for myself until I stepped out of that environment, reset myself, and realized what was really happening.

Brett Harned:       Yeah, I've been in situations like that too. I remember a job where I was pretty much a project manager. That wasn't my formal title. I was also producing things as well, and I got a new boss and this new boss was just honestly the worst, and I don't say that kind of thing lightly, but she just was not suited for the job at all and that made my job harder because I had to defend all of the work that I was doing, not just to her who didn't get it, but to other people on the team and other people within the organization, and it was a lot of stress and I felt like I was doing the right thing, but I would leave work every day with insane headaches, and it wasn't until maybe a couple of years after I left the job that I realized the reason I was getting those headaches was actually because of the work.

Brett Harned:       I was actually starting to get worried that I had some kind of health problem going on and my wife felt the same way, but once I kind of moved on from that role and that situation and I wasn't under such severe stress, things got better for me and things were easier, not only in my job, but also after work. I wasn't thinking about work all the time either, and I think that's another thing that that happens. Your work life balance tips a little bit in the wrong direction and everything starts to fall apart.

Lynn Winter:        Just a little bit.

Brett Harned:       Yeah.

Lynn Winter:        Yeah. I also think when I talk to folks about it too, when they're kind of ... since I started talking about burnout, people have come up to me and told me their stories, and I feel really bad because people are in these tough situations, and it's to a point where you feel like you can't even make that first step to make a change, but I kind of try to think about it in three different aspects of how to figure out the problem or solve the problem or identify what's going on, and the first one is making sure you're in the right industry, because the truth of the matter is our industry in digital demands longer hours. There's much more access. My husband works in a different industry and he didn't even know what Slack was until I brought it up to him a couple months ago and I made fun of him and then realized, wait a minute. How amazing would that be not to have a ding coming in every couple minutes?

Lynn Winter:        That's a different world he lives in. So is the industry even the right thing for you? Then is where you're working right? You had a bad boss once. I hear that a lot. People don't leave right away. If you're putting up with a negative environment or a bad boss, that doesn't change, but maybe that place doesn't really know what a project manager does or knows how to value it or doesn't give you opportunities for growth. Maybe you're not even allowed to talk to clients. Maybe that's just not the right role of how they're placing it at that organization, and then I think really you've got to look at yourself. I'm a perfectionist. I tend to over commit myself all the time, and so those are choices that I'm making. The other thing, though, is people are ... when you try new jobs and roles ... so a lot of times developers maybe move over to be a project manager. Sometimes it is a square peg in a round hole. It's not the right fit, and so there's a high amount of stress that happens, and maybe it's just not the right fit or the right place or the right time.

Brett Harned:       Yeah. Yeah. I think you're right. I think no matter where you do it, project management is going to come with a little bit of extra tension, or stress, or whatever you want to call it, but I'm wondering, do you think PM's are more prone to burnout than other people or other roles on teams?

Lynn Winter:        I do, and I think it comes back to what we talked about, really about them taking care of other people and really that respect or understanding, and so if you work at a place that really values the role, understands what the role does and takes care of you, it's going to lead you in a better place, but that goes with any role. If you have a really good boss and they respect your ... balance your time and where you're going to go, that makes all the difference, but then there's the whole PM thing, where there's sometimes negative attitudes about project managers, or we spend so much time just hounding people to fill out their time sheets. We don't have the sexiest job sometimes. We're like mothers and fathers.

Brett Harned:       That's true.

Lynn Winter:        And I think that can get really stressful. When you ask for feedback, they're like, "Yep, that would be nice, wouldn't it?" And I'm like, "What? I can't do that to you. What if I didn't help you get your job done?" So there can be some sometimes challenges around that that are special for us folks.

Brett Harned:       I agree. I mean I had Suzanne Madsen on the podcast a few weeks ago and we talked about leadership versus management, and I think a lot of what you're talking about in the kind of management category, it makes a lot of sense. As PMs, you are responsible for managing projects and process and making sure that things are moving and you're making positive progress, but on the other hand, you're kind of responsible for people as well, but you're not really, and I think that adds to that tension, that is I can ask people to do things and I can do everything I can to motivate them to do things, but I can't make them do things, and I think that's really tough because that's a really tough line to walk and I could see that contributing to people just kind of stressing out and being concerned about the role that they're in, too.

Lynn Winter:        It's about ... you don't have the authority, so how do you lead? But it turns out you don't need authority to lead, but you have to have the right culture and the right buy in to make it happen. So it's tough.

Brett Harned:       It's literally a perfect storm of things for it to be a great role in project management, which can be tough, but kind of back to burnout, are there any signs that you've noticed that people should be looking for when it comes to burnout, in order to either help a coworker or to know for yourself, okay, it's time to take a step back and reevaluate and figure out a different path?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah. Some things I think about is really just exhaustion. How are they taking care of themselves? Do they talk about how they don't get any sleep? Do they just seem not as functioning in meetings and talking to you as they can be? Another step is isolation. So maybe they don't want to go out for lunch ever. They're just sitting at their desk. Maybe there's social functions where happy hour is kind of a thing at your organization, but they're not attending anymore. So that may or may not be a concern. Negative attitude comes along at some point, and then sickness. A fourth of us come to work sick, and I've done it many times, but folks that are burned out, they're actually 1/4th more likely to hit the ER too. So are people coming in with their colds and being sick? The way technology is today, nobody should be doing that anymore.

Lynn Winter:        You can stay at home, get some rest, and work a little bit if you have to. Another thing is vacation. There's a study that said in 2017, half of people forfeited their vacation in the US, which blows my mind, but I am totally guilty of that. You're saving it, you're saving it, you want to move it over and you're not using that, and so if you have folks that aren't taking regular vacation, that is also wearing on them. I worked with a developer once that would save all their vacation til December and he just loved it because then he had a whole month off. Well let me just tell you, when we hit October, November, he was kind of cranky. It's hard. You need to take that time for yourself, get out, and then not work on vacation. They say that 2/3rds of people work on vacation.

Brett Harned:       Wow.

Lynn Winter:        So you either not need to do it or you need to separate it. So for me, it's really hard to do that because I'm freelance and my husband also has his own business. So what we've started doing is negotiate a time, and/or figure out a plan before we go. So we went to Sedona last March and we said, "Okay, no work emails, no checking anything until the kids go to bed at nine o'clock and then you can have two to three hours to work as you want," and the other person got to sleep or they can work too, and then it felt like we actually took a break. We had fun, we spent time as a family, we could enjoy ourselves, and then we got a little bit done so that when we came home, there wasn't 20,000 messages sitting there waiting for us.

Brett Harned:       Yeah. So I have to ask, did you feel the pressure to check in from nine to midnight or whatever you did every night?

Lynn Winter:        I didn't feel the pressure as much as I had some commitments that I was trying to get done. So I could have scheduled around it, because since I've been freelance, I've set up really good boundaries with the folks that I work with, that people don't really push me, except when I get something done. So I spread things out, tell them when I get it done and just meet the deadlines. So I'm in a much better place with that, but I personally just don't like to have everything there when I get back because then it also feels like vacation washes away. So it became a really good balance, and we went to Wisconsin Dells for a couple of days and did the same thing, and it worked out well because nobody was mad at anybody for working, and we still had fun and we still took time off.

Brett Harned:       Right, and your kids basically never knew that you were working, because they're probably asleep anyway.

Lynn Winter:        Exactly.

Brett Harned:       Yeah. That's really smart. I can remember one year when I was in a full time job ... I did consulting for a few years, but I decided ... we were walking around Disney world with my daughters and I decided, "I'm going to check in on email," and right away I regretted it because there were emails from coworkers that seemed like they were urgent things that they should have reached out to me by text or phone for, but they emailed me and it felt like things were slipping. So it kind of ruined my whole day of vacation, and I think at that point, that was when I decided, "Okay, when you're on vacation, be on vacation." Really just protect yourself from the stuff that comes along with work, because if you're like me, even the smallest thing can worry you or get on your nerves or whatever it might be. So I think to your point earlier, it's kind of know yourself a little bit so that you can do what's right for you, but I want to talk a little bit more about kind of solutions. So you mentioned kind of scheduling that time on vacations, but think about regular day to day work. What are things that people might be able to do to beat burnout or to avoid it?

Lynn Winter:        Well, I think the first thing is that taking responsibility that you're the only person that can make a change. So wherever you are, maybe on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe you're at a 10, maybe you're at a 3, but we go up and down in this journey, and I think we have to admit that whether we're in a terrible work environment or we're in a bad job, we're the one that makes choices. We can say no, we can change things, and I think when people are really at their max, they're just like, "I can't do anything. They need me. They need me," and you just have to stop and make a change, and whether that's small incremental changes or something like me ... I was like, "I'm not going back to the nine to five workforce for a while. I need to make a change for myself." So I think having that mindset switch is really important. You really got to think about that. Then I think it really comes down to the kind of cliche of getting your health in check.

Lynn Winter:        You need to sleep a certain amount of hours, you need to exercise, and you need to have a good diet, and so that doesn't mean you have to all of a sudden be running a marathon. You can download a seven minute app and exercise a couple of minutes a day and just get your body moving, or get up over the lunch hour and walk, or do something to get your body in the right place, and then you're able to start making some better decisions and be more clear, because I think the other thing that can happen is you perceive the way the world is around you and you might be wrong. So over time, I've had a couple of situations where I'm just like, "I'm working so many hours. I'm working so many hours. No one's appreciating it," and I've opened up my own [inaudible] account and just tracked my hours separately, because I was in a job I didn't need to track my hours, and a couple of times I'm like, "Yeah, I'm working 70 hours. This is insane," and then one time it was like, "Oh, that was 35 hours this week. Okay, my brain is not thinking properly. I don't even see what's happening." So you kind of need to get reset in the right way to make sure that you're seeing the right things.

Brett Harned:       Yeah, that's a really good point. I think ... not to cut you off Lynn, but one thing that you mentioned that's interesting to me is we're talking about these negative situations where there's too much work and you're burnt out because there's so much, or your boss is bad, but there's also just regular burnout, right? Everything seems to be going fine. You might have your headaches every once in a while, but there are times where it's just like, "Wow, I need a break," or, "I need to change the way that I'm doing things," and I think that the health check is a really good piece of advice, because I think at the end of the day, that's kind of what it comes down to. Mental and physical health has to be in good shape for you to be able to do a good job.

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, and then I think maybe the next step is really creating some boundaries, and so this is ... obviously all of this is very personal to each person, but there's probably some boundary you need to make, whether it's a work life thing, so leaving your computer at work, or saying, "I'm going to stop at this time," saying, "No," when you're overloaded on projects, maybe getting off of social media if that's killing your time. I mean the average person spends almost two and a half hours a day. So if you're short on time or feeling like it, that's a good one, and then making sure that you do something for yourself outside of work regularly. So I started making sure I went to a play every month or a concert or something. So me and my daughter went to T. Swift and I saw Hamilton, and I just started reliving my life because I had really just been full on in work and just kind of ignoring a lot of things and isolating myself. So I was like, "I need to see these people again," and, "I need to go out and do this stuff." So making sure you have things to look forward to on a regular basis.

Brett Harned:       Yeah, that's great. I love those, All of those things, and especially Taylor Swift.

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, it was amazing.

Brett Harned:       It was amazing. I was there as well.

Lynn Winter:        I mean I'm pretty sure she didn't sing most of the time, but it was awesome.

Brett Harned:       Well, so what about ... we kind of talked about the signs of burnout and things that you should look for, but what about for managers? I've been in situations where I've managed teams of PMs and I've kind of been able to spot where I think someone might be kind of on the verge of burning out and maybe it's affecting their team. How would you kind of advise someone in that kind of position to help someone who is clearly on the verge of being burnt out or is already there already?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah, and I would say I've managed teams of both PMs and other roles, and I don't think I did this amazingly at the time, besides, "Call it out and mention it," and I don't think that's what it is, because when somebody is in that, kind of deep in, just saying, "Sleep more. You need to do less work." That doesn't do anything. So I think the first thing is seeing how you can protect them or block them from things. So if you know they have too much on their plate, can you get them some help or can you help them out with a project or move something over? If they're just coming to work sick, tell them they have to go home. Make them leave, or maybe you can give them a free day. As a manager, you have that capability to just give someone a day off and not count it against things.

Lynn Winter:        If they're nervous, just don't worry. They're going to contribute those days anyway, because they're not going to use them, but send them home or take them out to lunch and just reevaluate where they're at and where they want to be, and then try to help guide them in that direction, like set them goals or have a clear career path for them. So it's a bit about meeting with them regularly and knowing what they need, and then trying to block them from the other powers within an organization that is going to add to that pressure.

Brett Harned:       Totally. So do you think that burnout ... and I'm kind of sitting here thinking, is burnout something that just hits you like a big wave? Or does it kind of slowly creep up on you? What's your take on that?

Lynn Winter:        I would guess it's slowly creeps up on you, but I don't think I've ever recognized it until I've been at an 8, 9, or 10, fully in, at the limit, but I do think there's a high range of it and I think there's an in and out, where a couple of weeks are terrible and then it's better, but I think it has a lot to do with what is the issue, because if it's something like, "Oh I've done too much work these couple of weeks," but then it slows down, well then that's okay, but if it's your career path and your goals don't align with your personal life mission and what you care about, that's going to go on forever until you're in the right place and things are aligning the right way.

Brett Harned:       Yep. Totally agree with you on that. I guess ... the title of this podcast is Time Limit, which is kind of giving a nod to the fact that we're all kind of doing our best job with limited amount of resources, which could be your budget, your staff, the time that you have personally to do stuff, and I'm just wondering ... I think that it's probably burnout kind of creeps up on you a little bit more, but yeah, you feel it when you're at an 8, 9, or 10, but I wonder if there are any kind of daily things that people can do to kind of easily, slowly, and in a measured way just kind of protect yourself from the burnout. Do you have any ideas on that?

Lynn Winter:        Yeah. So a couple of things. One is just really being in tune with yourself so you can set some short term and longterm goals, and so that might be meditation, journaling ... meditation is something I have always wanted to try, but I'm kind of an extrovert that will sit and talk to themselves if no one's around. So it's been a hard step for me, but I'm going to start the moment they're done with the renovation at our house and I have some peace, because it's something I've always wanted to try, but I think the more you can be in tune with what you want and what you need and where you're going, then you can make daily choices. So I think being in good mental and health shape, making good choices every day on those kinds of things and keeping it up, and then being really in tune with your goals and your work vision help, and then saying no a lot every day as you need to, but I think the biggest thing for me is the attitude shift that I have.

Lynn Winter:        I probably work more hours now than I did at my last job, but what I'm doing now is I'm choosing all the things I want to do. I'm choosing to stay up late or I'm growing and changing with everything I do. So I have a really clear sense of what my values are now for my work world, that my attitude is just different. Instead of like, "Oh my God, I have all these things this week," I'm like, "Cool. Let's figure out how they go, and then if I can't get something done this week, I'll figure that out and I'll talk to someone else, shift it back."

Brett Harned:       Got it.

Lynn Winter:        So it's kind of just taking the power back, essentially.

Brett Harned:       Yeah. I have two things. I have tried meditation. I still do it every once in a while. The best time that I ever did it was after being on a long work trip, let's say. I was in three different cities over the course of two weeks I think, and I came home completely jet lagged, had to get back to work, had to get stuff done, but I was just dead to the world. My brain could not focus. So I sat down. I have an app called Meditation on my phone. I also have an app called Calm. I sat down, turned a meditation on, basically a guided meditation. Do you know I fell asleep?

Lynn Winter:        Really?

Brett Harned:       I feel asleep. I fell asleep for an hour.

Lynn Winter:        You needed it.

Brett Harned:       I needed it. Sometimes you just have to follow what your body wants you to do, and to me, that hour was better than any hour I would have tried to spend being productive at work. I extended my day a little bit, because I felt guilty that I fell asleep. I was working for myself at that point, but still felt guilty about it, and I think that kind of contributes to that feeling of burnout too. It's like you said, kind of focus on what you have to do and focus on how you can get it done. So I'm wondering ... my second thing on that was do you use any kind of to do list? Or how are you managing your tasks in a way that makes you feel like you can handle them?

Lynn Winter:        That's a good question. So right now I have five different clients, so I have to kind of manage that. So every month I'll probably sit down and I'll time block out all the things that I see coming down the pipeline, and then if somebody contacts me about a new project, then I look at that pipeline and figure out where I can fit it in, and then on a weekly process, usually on Sundays, I'll sit down and I'll look at what's on the week that I had put out there for tasks and I'll make sure that they're spread out. So some things are five minutes, right?

Lynn Winter:        So I'll have an hour where I'll have eight little things in my calendar of what I need to do, and I just put it in my Google calendar, nothing fancy, and then it's blocked out in that, and then if I realize I have too many things, I look to see if ... essentially what could go to an icebox, what's not important to get done this week that I can move to next week? And just black it out that way. I also do things ... I have a really good boundary with my clients, which is a good relationship too, then, but I try to only do meetings twice a week so that I'm at my home getting more work done and I'm not interrupted all week. So I block those together on certain days, and then I just snooze if I need to. If I need to work for three hours, I snooze my Slack and don't talk to people, because nothing's going to blow up in three hours.

Brett Harned:       Yep. Yeah, we do a lot of that same stuff at TeamGantt. So we use Slack. We're all a distributed company. We use Slack for communication, but it's really only on an as needed basis, so you're not constantly annoyed by people pinging you in Slack, which is really nice. It's really hard to balance that, to feel like you're getting the right amount of communication, but also keeping everyone informed and not annoyed. So we do that. We also are pretty good about balancing our time, or at least myself. So I do similar to what you do. I'll go into my calendar and I'll start thinking about what are the tasks that I need to get done, and then I basically just block out time on my calendar, so that way that time's usually flexible.

Brett Harned:       If somebody is trying to schedule a meeting for me in a day, I'll be able to move things around if I need to, but that allows me to kind of manage my time in a way that I'd never done really with just the to do list. So I like that. I like that we're both doing something really similar there that I don't think a lot of people do, but it kind of makes sense. If you're thinking about your time and trying to spend your time in a way that's not going to be wasteful, why not just block out time for things that you need to get done? Seems pretty simple to me.

Lynn Winter:        What I used to see for myself, and I've seen with other people, is that you just spend the day scurrying around dealing with the things that come up, and then four o'clock comes around, people start going home, and that's when you get your work done, but it never felt good and I never got where I needed to go, so I stopped doing that. So I think everybody should book X amount, the right amount of time. Maybe it's two five hour chunks or it needs to be smaller, two hours every day for every single week that can't be booked for meetings, and then when you go to book meetings you don't take your time away. Nothing's going to happen besides the project being delivered maybe two days later. So you need to make sure you have that time instead of going from meeting to meeting to meeting, because you're not providing a lot of value at that point. You're just barely functioning. Maybe you didn't even have lunch and you're [inaudible 00:30:49], and that's not the best you can bring to a meeting anyway.

Brett Harned:       It sounds like meeting burnout, which I think a lot of organizations face anyway. Too many meetings. You're pulling a meeting together for any given issue that could be handled over Slack or email or TeamGantt, whatever. So yeah, I totally agree with you on that. Well Lynn, this has been really awesome. I think I'm going to go and start blocking out time during the nights for me to get stuff done leading up to the holidays, just based on this conversation, so I'm not burned out by the time we get there, but thank you so much. Is there anything else about burnout that you want to talk about or mention or resources to share?

Lynn Winter:        No, I would just say that you can do it. I challenge myself every single week. I'm not perfect and I screw up and I don't exercise when I want to, but if you can take steps towards it and have a good attitude and do it for yourself wherever you want to be, it really can work and you can feel a lot better.

Brett Harned:       That's awesome. Well thank you again for joining me on Time Limit, and have a good rest of your day and good holidays.

Lynn Winter:        Thanks for having me.

Brett Harned:       Thanks. All right folks, that's it for this episode of Time Limit. I hope you've been enjoying the show, and if you are, please rate us where you get your podcasts, and while you're at it, check out TeamGantt at teamgantt.com, and come back for episode 25, which will be all about managing distributed teams. Thanks.

More episodes

Episodes

Episode
29
Volunteering as a Project Manager with Sophie Brydon
Episode
28
Accountability and the Leader With Sam Silverstein
Episode
27
What is Design Operations? With Philip Rowe
Episode
26
Why You Need a Plan with J. Scott