Financial Planner  |  GAP Maynard

Daily measures to prevent burnout

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Giles Maynard  |  Financial Advisor  |  Johannesburg

July 9 2021

Have you ever wondered how the world’s most wealthy and successful people get so much done when you can maybe crank out a few hours of work before feeling completely fried?  

How do some people just seem to keep going 24/7? 

As someone who has worked with high-achieving, high net worth individuals, top-notch CEOs and business owners, here’s the secret: They don’t.  

They’ve worked hard to get to where they are, but they’ve also worked just as hard to implement daily measures to prevent burnout. Along with hitting goals and financial targets, they’ve made maintaining their mental health a top priority.  

From my own experience with stress and overload, I’ve come to realise that life isn’t a race to push yourself through. And if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that non-stop busyness is not sustainable, healthy, or joyful in the long term.


Buffer, a global analytics platform, recently published a 2021 State of Remote Work report citing the biggest challenge employers face with remote working is ‘unplugging’ or ‘switching off’ after work. 

I’m not surprised. With no clear finish line in the pandemic, the experience has exacerbated stress and burnout across the globe. We’ve also picked up our fair share of bad habits along the way — always connected, always switched on and available to work. We forget to implement personal boundaries and implement measures to prevent burnout.

That said, our experience with ‘longtime Covid’, as I call it, has also highlighted a real need to get proactive in preserving our mental health and wellbeing. Although spoken about prior to the pandemic, stress and anxiety were generally conditions treated, rather than prevented.  

Covid-19 has also pushed the subject of mental wellbeing to the forefront across a range of industries, regardless of job role. It has come to the forefront as an ongoing conversation across online platforms, professional networks, and various economic sectors.

It has recently even cropped up within the sports industry — tennis in particular — after Japanese player Naomi Osaka’s very public, very controversial withdrawal from this year’s French Open. 

Her decision to opt-out of a press conference was grounded in her anxiety and mental health, which she admits struggling with since her first US Open win. Her decision, the first of its kind, struck a chord with an audience far beyond the tennis court. 

Osaka’s position that her mental wellbeing is far more important than appeasing others is something we can all learn from as we battle the third wave in South Africa. Right now, many of us have re-entered a state of uncertainty which does no good for our own mental health. 

With the majority of South Africans throwing themselves into their work, I recently compiled a few of my own tips and helpful measures to prevent burnout going forward. 


  • Disable self-view during Zoom calls. Research shows that the image of ourselves reflected back to us is one of the most fatiguing elements of working remotely. You can turn this off (without turning your video off to others) by clicking hide ‘self view’ in the settings. 
  • When working from home, delineate your area for work with your areas for relaxation. For example, keep (and store) your laptop on a desk in your defined working space and not on your bed or the couch. 
  • Re-consider setting up afternoon meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays when energy levels are typically at their lowest. You could also try setting up meeting-free Fridays to allow for any time lost in the days preceding. 
  • Combat meeting fatigue by challenging yourself and your colleagues to schedule 15-minute meetings instead of 30 or 60-minute meetings to prevent ‘talking shops’ that go in circles. 
  • Avoid back-to-back meetings as much as possible. Microsoft has found that these are highly detrimental to our mental wellbeing. Make it a habit to have breaks in between.  
  • Try using short voice notes instead of writing lengthy emails. This depends on what works best for you, though, as too many voice notes can cause overwhelm, especially from ‘needy’ clients or colleagues. 
  • Assess which tools would help you and your employees be productive. For example, the Forest app simultaneously helps one stay focused while planting real trees as the reward mechanism. If you’d prefer to keep it simple, make use of a Pomodoro timer to ensure teammates get enough downtime. 
  • Reduce inbox noise using email filters. These can reduce the number of emails we get in total and automatically file and prioritise. Make use of out-of-office messages to notify others of when you’re working offline to prevent further distractions. Adding to that, set aside some time to unsubscribe from distracting mailers that no longer add value.  
  • Reserve daily ‘deep work’ slots for yourself. Block book your calendar at certain times of the day to get specific tasks done or take a break. Set reminders at the start and finish of each task to ensure that you don’t overwork yourself. 
  • Delegate or outsource tasks that you don’t need to do yourself. This is a particularly important one when it comes to your personal finance. Enlisting the help of a professional will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run. This could be anything from filing tax returns to setting up retirement plans and drafting specialised documents like wills.

Remember, there is no prize for exhaustion. These daily measures to preserve your energy and prevent burnout, although small, can prove effective if practised in the long term.

If you’re feeling particularly burnt out when it comes to money management and decisions around investing your wealth, I’m here to help. Get in touch here, or feel free to send me a direct email regarding the services I offer:

I’m Giles Maynard, a professional financial advisor. I provide individual investment and wealth management services for private clients and companies. I’ve been trusted by clients, large and small to manage, protect, and preserve wealth. How can I help you with yours?