7 Ways to Avoid Burnout

by Joan Garry

I know I'm more effective when I'm not running on fumes.

Download My Checklist: 7 Antidotes to Burnout

Riddle me this Batmen and women… What’s the number one issue nonprofit leaders ask me about?

Here’s a hint… It has nothing to do with a disengaged board.

You figured it out, right? After all, it’s in the title of this blog post!


How do I avoid it? I know I should take better care of myself. I know in my heart that I will be more effective if I am not running on fumes, but I can’t get my head to execute.

Sound familiar?

It sure does to me. I work incessantly. And so when I get asked about this, I feel like I don’t exactly have a wellspring of credibility.

So I decided to ask friends and colleagues and share some of their easy and terrific ideas with you. I’ve made them available as a free download.

––> 7 Ways to Avoid Burnout


Before you have a look, take this quick quiz to see if you are in desperate need of self care.

Don’t worry. It’s short. I know how busy you are…


I’ll get right to it. Please answer the following questions with a simple “Yes” or “No”:

  1. Are you feeling reluctant to engage volunteers or interns because the tasks have to be done just right?
  2. Do you check your email after you kiss your partner goodnight?
  3. Do you check your email before you kiss your partner good morning?
  4. Is there anything that is on your to-do list that was supposed to be done before say 1998?
  5. If you take your annual gym membership fee and divide it by the number of times you have been there in the last year, does your calculator get mad that you’re trying to divide by zero?
  6. Do you want to harm someone when you see how long the line is at Starbucks?
  7. Is “yoga” a four letter word for you? (you know what I mean)
  8. Do you have wild, exhilarating dreams about being in meetings?
  9. The last time you took a day off, did you actually work most of it?
  10. Do your kids, dog, cat, or imaginary friends worry about you? Do they get mad at you for working late? Over a cocktail, would they tell me that they wished you would save a little less of the world? Or maybe just save it more slowly?

Again I know you’re busy so the rating system is simple.

If you answered “yes” a lot, you’re in trouble.

And if you didn’t laugh at a couple of them, you are in bigger trouble still.

I think there may still be hope for me. I found a few of them quite funny (but my wife tells me incessantly that it pleases her that I find myself so amusing).

OK, time for some ideas. Thank you to my friends, colleagues, and fellow nonprofit warriors who sent me these ideas. Here’s hoping one of them either clicks for you or ignites an even better idea for you.


This topic is important. So I want you to download

OH, before you download Antidotes for Burnout here is one easy way to start on the path to self care:  Try to turn one of the YESES on my quiz to a NO.

Tackling burnout is critical to the ability of nonprofit leaders to do their best work, to be their best selves.

And it may help avoid violence at your local Starbucks.

––> 7 Ways to Avoid Burnout