Post # 1
I have recently gone from volunteering six hours a week and not having worked a shift at my job in a couple of months, it was outside tax season, to working basically full time.
I am working three 9.5 hour days, one 8 hour day, one 5.5 hour day and volunteering one 6 hour day a week.
How do you avoid burnout? For those that went from little or no work to full time, how did you manage it?
I am thrilled to be working and I prefer not to give up my volunteering so I could use advice on how to manage it all!
Post # 2
Working/volunteering 6 days a week full time can be rough. I know you said you don’t want to give up volunteering, but can you lessen the hours you volunteer each week or at least volunteer only every other week at least until you get into a routine?
Post # 3
Yeah, having something 6 out of the 7 days a week is a lot. At one point I was working full time and going to school full time. I worked 8-10 hours every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays when I had class 8am to 5pm. It sucked. Like PP said the best solution would be to lessen your volunteer hours until you get into the swing of things.
Post # 4
Jacqui90 : That’s a busy week! IMO – and not to be pessimistic, just realistic – unless you really love your job and volunteering (like it’s the reason you happily get out of bed every morning), I think you will get burned out eventually. My advice is to be sure you maintain other hobbies and good work-life balance/separation, but also allow yourself some time (whether every day or once a week, however much you need) to just chill and not do anything for a little bit.
Post # 5
Is there a way to schedule it a bit differently so that you’re not working 6 days? I find that one of the things that makes the biggest differences for me is that I need solid chunks of break time to recharge and let go of the week a bit. Personally I would have an easier time doing one half day of work + 6 hrs of volunteer time on the same day so that I can have some me time.
Post # 6
I did the same this year… Except my volenteering is spread out during the week plus 2 hours every Wednesday… It was great when I wasn’t busy… I’ve made arrangements with another volunteer for next year… She will take my units and I will take over for her when my work is slow… I also stepped down into a more admin role instead of leadership… Can you share your volunteer hours with another person? It’s better than giving it up all together.
Post # 7
I would put the volunteering on hold for a bit. If you burn out your paid position will be impacted.
Post # 8
I don’t want to be harsh, but welcome to the real world. Many people have a similar schedule as you do.
Post # 9
The things that work for me are trying to leave work on time every day, and doing things after work that distract me from even thinking about work (e.g. not just watching TV). My dance lessons, team sport, film society all completely remove me from thinking about work and I find that helps.
Post # 10
Find meaning in your work. Have some outside activities for fun and stress relief.
Why do you want to continue so many hours of volunteering? If your work is picking up, it seems reasonable to cut back on the volunteering. Something’s gotta give.
Post # 11
If you are burning out, the only thing to do is drop something. Like a PP said, something’s gotta give.
Post # 12
I don’t work 6 days a week but I do work long hours (15+) on weekdays. I don’t have time during the week to recharge so I dedicate almost one entire day of the weekend to just chill. Saturday is my productive weekend day – errands, cleaning up around the house, etc. Sunday I just do whatever I want and don’t feel guilty. Sit on the couch and watch an entire season of some Netflix show? No guilt! Bring my book to the park and read/nap all afternoon in the sun? No guilt!
since you have that 5.5 hr day maybe designate the afternoon (assuming you start normal hour and end early) to whatever are your recharge activities?
also be aware of where you get your energy. I get my energy from my colleagues and socialising with them. I really make sure to have at least one or two social lunches a week (i.e. NOt eating at my desk frantically working) so that I get a mid-day energy boost. If I’m feeling really burnt from the work day I’ll take 15 min to have a walk outside to clear my head and recharge.
Think about what energises you and try to incorporate that in some small way into your work days, especially your longer days!
Post # 13
That’s a big jump. You will be tired at first, but you’ll get used to it. Try and get into a routine ASAP with sleeping/being organized for work etc, and as PPs have said, incorporate that chill time. Do not underestimate how important that is. Everyone is different, but if you are finding it too much, you might have to cut down on the volunteering or stop altogether. You can play that by ear though
Realistically in the longer term, you shouldn’t have any problems as it’s not really an extreme amount of hours- there are many, many people out there (myself included) who work much longer hours and do just fine. As I said, it’s all about getting into a pattern.
Congratulations on your work, and I hope you take to working full time like a duck to water 🙂
Post # 14
Thanks bees! I will need to talk to my supervisor at the charity to prepare for possibly cutting back. Because of my hours I wouldn’t be able to do both on one day. Also there is maybe one volunteer for each weekday, sometimes not even then. There is another volunteer on my day who comes in every second week or sometimes less than that. I enjoy the volunteering plus they really do need me and I have been there for two years almost. I feel a strong loyalty to them, particularly for giving me the chance and helping me expand my skill set.
Thank you all for the advice, particularly about making sure I have ‘chill time’. It is definitely important! My psychologist suggested I create a timetable so I can manage myself and my days. I think it’s probably a good idea for me. Though I am good at making them, I’m not very good at sticking to them. Except for work hours of course.
Post # 15
I think a time table is a great idea! Having a routine makes a HUGE difference for me. You find small ways to trim down small amounts of time that really add up – like combining certain errands, or doing them on your lunch break, making phonecalls while commuting (hands free of course) etc. You’d be surprised what you can get used to when you make it part of a systematic routine. The less time you have to think about whether or not you should do something the better.
That said – listen to your body and know when you need a break! If you can take a week off of volunteering now and then it will make a big difference. It’s way easier to really go hard at something if you know you’re going to get a bit of a break soon.