Productivity: How to Prevent Burnout: Real Examples and Best Practices

Productivity: How to Prevent Burnout: Real Examples and Best Practices

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I hate the “hustle” culture that’s embedded in modern entrepreneurship.

What is it? It’s the feeling that we should constantly be working. There’s pressure to work while you’re on vacation. In the back of an Uber for 30 minutes? That’s time for a catchup call or to reply to emails.

Can you relate to this feeling?

I grew up with this mindset surrounding me. My parents were refugees who came to the USA with literally $0. The only thing they had was their work ethics. Having two jobs was normal. I only saw my parents on the weekends growing up.

Entrepreneurship is cool now. But the biggest influencers guilt people for vacations. You can’t sleep without hearing a voice in the back of your head telling you to hustle harder.

What’s the problem with this? Everyone’s burned out and less effective.

The formal definition is: Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged stress.

I know what burnout feels like:

  • I’d get easily triggered. I remember snapping at some of my ex-girlfriends and employees for no reason over the smallest things.
  • I wouldn’t feel any motivation to work. I’d just want to get it over with, so I could distract myself with video games instead.
  • My mind wouldn’t be as sharp. I’d forget things. It’d be hard for me to work without wanting to distract myself every 10 minutes.
  • Exhaustion. Not just my mind and my body, it felt like my soul itself was tired.

This is a major societal problem. A recent survey showed that 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms. Japan has one of the longest working hours in the world. They also have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. There’s a correlation.

I suffered through burnouts throughout my career. I thought it was normal. All my peers would post updates at 2 am about how they’re “grinding.” They’d mention they’ll sleep when they’re dead.

But then I’d find out some of the consequences behind the scenes. Some people would turn to alcohol and drugs to cope. Depression is rampant in this space.

I knew this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable, but I couldn’t escape the guilt that I had to keep pushing the gas pedal harder. 

One thing that really helped me was hearing an interview with Jeff Bezos.

Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority. For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.

Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra “productive” hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”

Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet. Here he is telling me it’s OK to sleep 8 hours a night. You have to optimize your life so you can make the best decisions possible.

Over the next few years, I learned that I wasn’t alone. Books such as Deep Work, The One Thing, and Essentialism showed me that there was a better, and more effective way to work.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s better to start with a mindset of preventing burnout than using more energy to cure it.

I’m going to share with you 5 strategies for preventing burnout and making you a more effective worker.

Note: This is written from my current experience. You might not be in a position to cut back on hours at work, or you can’t afford to delegate now. It’s ok – I couldn’t either at the beginning. My goal is to share with you my philosophy, and give you something to work

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

5 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Burnout

1. Your Health Comes First, Always

I remember going on my first airplane ride. There was an announcement.

“In case of an emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first, and then your child’s.”

That’s weird; shouldn’t the child get the mask first since they’re the weakest? I didn’t have a laptop to distract me back then, so I stewed on this question for the next hour.

Then, it hit me. By attending to your own needs first, it makes sure that you’re in a position to take care of your child. If you become incapacitated due to no oxygen, then you’re useless.

I’ve ingrained this lesson in me that health comes first. You can’t be an effective boss, husband, or parent if you’re unhealthy and sleep-deprived.

The easiest way to have good health is to maintain standards for yourself. Create habits and track them using a Personal KPI dashboard.

My Weekly Health Standards:

  1. In bed by 9 pm. I don’t wake up to an alarm.
  2. Stretch 20 minutes a day.
  3. Intermittent fasting. I cook almost daily. Low sugar. Lots of veggies. Avoid processed foods. I have an avocado, kimchi, and bone broth daily.
  4. Meditate 20 minutes every morning.
  5. Jiujitsu 3x a week. Full body workout 1x a week.
  6. Spend 1 hour a week in nature every Sunday.

Life’s unpredictable. It’s kinda like riding a boat in the ocean. I can’t predict the weather or the waves.

I can control the type of ship that I’m on. Being in peak physical/mental health means I’m on a sturdy ship.

Health comes first isn’t a saying. I always meditate and run every morning. If I wake up late, I have to meditate and run first.

Sometimes I’ll have to work throughout the weekend. I’ll take Monday or Tuesday off to recuperate, even if work’s piling up.

That’s what it means when health comes first. If I’m not at my best, I’ll end up making bad decision that’ll hurt me long term.

2. Set Upper Boundaries Around Your Work

My college professors would tell us that we had two weeks to write a paper. It took exactly two weeks for me to write that paper.

If they told me I had three days to write a paper, then I’d find a way to get it done in three days.

That’s Parkinson’s Law: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Set boundaries around your work.

Train yourself to think in terms of outcomes, not time. No one gives a shit how hard you work. The world rewards results.

I work around 40-55 hours a week. This is where I’m the most effective because I’m consistent. I don’t get burned out at this rate.

Having a constraint makes me creative. I’m not throwing more effort or hours at my problems. The constraint forces me to use leverage. It forces me to delegate and systemize, rather than attacking my problems with brute force.

Here’s what a typical day looks like for me.


Most people think of “work” as what they do on the laptop.

I view “work” as anything that contributes to me getting results.

Going to the gym is work. That’s why I don’t skip workouts. It’s essential. Same with me getting 8 hours of sleep.

They make me more effective when I’m actually doing what’s important.

You might be wondering about weekends.

Saturday is where I refuel my gas tank. I don’t do any work on Saturdays. I go to BJJ. I try to see my parents. I watch Netflix with the lady. I play my PS4. We’ll eat out at a restaurant. I work my ass off the entire week so that I can enjoy my Saturday guilt-free.

Sunday is where I sharpen the axe. I’ll do some planning for the week. We’ll run some errands. I’ll occasionally work on Sundays, but only on tasks that I’m excited about.
A key to the process is to actually work when it’s time.

I don’t think that many people actually “work” 16 hours a day. First, a lot of it is virtue signaling. They’re trying to signal that they’re hard-working.

Second, have you actually seen how some people “work?”

They’re working with distracting tabs open. They’re interrupted every few minutes by email or Slack. There are useless meetings throughout the day (meetings to discuss the agenda for the next meeting).

It’s more like twelve hours of work. Three hours actually working, and the rest of the 9 hours fucking around.

3. Find The One Thing

Priority is a singular word. It means “The first thing.” It wasn’t until the 1900’s that managers started using the term “Priorities.”

You can’t have multiple first things.

So most of us have this endless to do list. I don’t know about you, but I get anxiety whenever I see a list that’s too big.

I’m going to show you how to tackle it.

Let’s say you’re starting a new e-commerce store. Kids are staying at home doing virtual learning. The chances are that they’re working on the kitchen table. You want to start creating ergonomic desks for kids.

Let’s generate a to-do list:

  1. Design a logo for the business
  2. Build a landing page
  3. Interview different parents about their children’s virtual learning setups
  4. Sketch out different desk designs
  5. Start trying to find manufacturers on

Which one should you do first?

I’d start with #3 because it’s the most impactful. Doing these interviews will let you know whether or not there even is a demand. Perhaps you’ll find an even better opportunity.

Yet, most people would focus on the low impact work such as designing a logo or sketching out desks.

Designing a logo is fun. You can upload it online, poll people, and get that dopamine fix. Interviewing people is hard.

We’re programmed to seek out what’s comfortable.

Fight this temptation.

Burnout happens when we’re constantly working and not making progress. We don’t make progress because we tend to work on low impact tasks, rather than the ones that make a difference.

Try this:

  1. Decide Your 1 Thing for tomorrow. The one task that will make the biggest impact.
  2. Do your morning routine. DO NOT check social media, email, or anything distracting. Let your distracting monkey stay sleeping.
  3. Block off 4 hours to work on that one task.
  4. Block ANYTHING distracting. I use ColdTurkey for websites. My phone is OFF in a different room.
  5. Work. You might feel uncomfortable being so focused. That’s good. You’re stretching your focus muscles. Keep at it.

Marvel at the results.

Less, but better.

4. Understand Leverage: Automate and Delegate

Leverage is the mechanism you use to amplify results.

A musician spends 3 hours playing at a local coffee shop. 20 people hear it.

Another musician spends 3 hours playing a song and editing a video. They upload it on YouTube. 55,000 people see it.

The same amount of “effort” went into both, but the leverage of YouTube gave different results.

Leverage is a concept. It comes in different forms.

The easiest to understand is people/labor.

I love:

  • Strategy and planning.
  • Writing blog posts/newsletters
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing angles
  • Optimizing anything
  • Looking at data

I hate:

  • Meetings
  • Uploading ads to a platform
  • Anything dealing with finances
  • Emails and customer service

Imagine if my day was full of meetings, uploading ads, doing my taxes, and doing customer service emails. Fuck my life. I’d be miserable, and I’d burn out easily.

Here’s something interesting.

I would rather spend 10 hours a day doing things I love than 5 hours a day doing things I hate. For every task that I hate doing, I can find someone else that loves doing it.

I love how the Founder and CEO of GymShark stepped down. Being a CEO meant he had to do a ton of things he didn’t love, and that he wasn’t the best at. He hired Reebook’s former head of Europea sales to become the CEO of Gymshark. He decided to create a role for himself as the Chief Brand Officer. Ben spends his day doing all the activities that he loves.

If the role of a CEO can be delegated / outsourced, that means you’re able to delegate more tasks than you realize.

I’m always thinking about leverage.

  • I could spend 2 hours every week doing a task, or I can spend 4 hours once to train someone else to do it. We can create an SOP and/or a screencast so the process stays even if the employee leaves.
  • I could learn how to do my own bookkeeping and save $200 a month. But that time I’ll invest in bookkeeping means I’m not focusing on my strengths. I can save $200, but at what cost?
  • Finally, think about business models. There’s no leverage or scale in anything that’s a 1 on 1 service. That’s why I’m seeing a trend where people are switching from agencies to productized services.

It’s weird, but you have to develop this mentality of being “lazy.” Don’t bulldoze your way into a task. Think about how you can get a good outcome with minimal effort.

Anything that doesn’t involve creativity needs to be delegated ASAP.

Software can automate so much these days. I’ve invested time in using Zapier and IFTTT to automate as much as I can.

It’s hard for me to burn out if I’m doing the tasks I love.

I’m also delegating as much of my personal life as possible.

We hired someone that cleans my home every week for $100. My mom thinks it’s a waste of money. I don’t. She saves me 5 hours every Saturday. That’s 5 hours I can use to recover. I can use that energy to make way more than $100.

Read: The Complete Guide to Creating Systems and SOP’s in Your Business.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

5. Does this Spark Joy? If Not, then the Answer’s No.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

As you become successful and build a reputation, you’ll start becoming a magnet for opportunities.

Everyone will want a piece of you. It’s going to be tempting for you to say yes to everything. Resist this temptation.

Saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way is like eating everything at a buffet. You’ll spread yourself too thin.

I understand if it’s hard to say no. Some of us are natural people pleasers. We don’t want to disappoint someone.

Time is the most valuable thing I have. Every time I say yes to someone, it means I’m saying no to some of my own goals.

Be greedy with your time and mental energy.

Here’s a rule that I adapted from Marie Kondo (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).

If any item in her home doesn’t “spark joy,” she throws it out. So if an opportunity doesn’t “spark joy,” then the answer’s no.

I had a lot of trouble learning how to say no. Here’s a simple script to help you:

Thanks so much for this opportunity. I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to this. My plate’s completely full right now, and I have to focus.

Simple as that.

Use the spark joy mentality everywhere in your life.

I’ve written on this blog consistently since 2012. There were times where I burned out from writing and wanted to quit. What helped me was being more selective about what I choose to write about.

I could get more SEO traffic if I started writing more of what Google wants.
I could earn more affiliate commission if I started reviewing different internet marketing tools.

But those don’t “spark joy.” I rather write about topics that I’m curious and excited about. And hopefully, that attracts a tribe of like-minded me. That’s how I’ll be able to write for the next decade.

What are the Terms?

There’s a concept I learned from Shaan on the My First Million podcast.

You tell me the deal, and I’ll tell you the terms.

So many of us are focused on the deal that we don’t think about the bigger picture.

You want to make $500,000 a year. Ok, awesome. Well, what are the terms?

You work 90+ hours a week. You’re obese. You end up divorced. You’re miserable and depressed.

Do you still want that? I wouldn’t.

Think about the life you want, and then reverse engineer it.


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

Please rate this article – it helps me know what to write!

Data Visualization Best Practices and Principles Every Designer Should Know

Data Visualization Best Practices and Principles Every Designer Should Know

Today with the advancement of technology, we have access to a significant amount of data. And eventually, this data has been growing increasingly complex every year. The real problem starts when we fail to manage this considerable data resource and cannot use them in the right way. Hence, to solve this problem faced by companies today, industry experts have developed the idea of data visualization. Presenting data in pictorial forms (charts or graphs) has become fundamentally important for all of us. But the work is tricky and we need data visualization best practices for effective data management.

What is Data Visualization

With the growing importance of visual communication, data visualization has captured every heart. This type of visual communication allows us to create, study and share data in a graphical manner so that the viewer can understand complex information according to its relevance and priority. Data graphic enables us to represent numbers by charts and various images for impactful information dissemination.

Why Data Visualization is Important

The human brain processes information quickly when it is presented using charts or graphs. So, in this fast moving age, it has become imperative to show complex data and report through graphs and charts. Through innovative data visualization, a company can convey concepts quickly and easily. So, every marketer today is turning into creating data visualization infographics and the like. Of all marketing and communication tools, data visualization is one of the proven tools to bridge the communication gap between the business and its audience.

Take a look at some of the benefits of data visualization.

  • Helps you identify areas that need attention or improvement
  • Enables you to clarify factors influencing customer behavior
  • Allows you to understand where to place which products
  • Allows you to predict sales volumes

We have listed a few data visualization best practices for you here. Following the data visualization best practices 2018 you will be able to pull off an enormous amount of data into a finite space and communicate accurately with your audience.


Mentioned below are 5 Data Visualization best practices and principles every designer should know:

1. Use Prominent Visuals To Direct Audience Attention

Data visualization can be impactful only if you give justified prominence to the visual elements. As data visualization is about different types of charts and graphs, it’s really tricky to identify which types are best for presenting the visualizing data. Hence considering visual salience is essential. According to data visualization principles, if you make a visual element stand out against its surroundings, viewers would understand the importance of the message conveyed. Highlight essential details with visible variables like color and size. Focus on color schemes and use colors to appeal to the viewer’s eyes.

2. Emphasize on Designing for Mobile

Mobile-first indexing is one of the vital factors today if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Google has rolled out this feature which means your site should be mobile-friendly. Hence plan to incorporate charts and graphs to leverage compelling mobile viewing.

We have collected a few mobile design tips for you. Take a look below.

  • Contrast Plays a Crucial Role in Your Design

Create graphs and charts with contrasting colors for the background. This way you can present you viewers with detailed information.

  • Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for Images to Look Great

Cascading style sheets help you to create images that are visually appealing whether in a desktop or mobile device. CSS is a proven app that allows you to customize how things look for each device without having to change the underlying HTML code.

  • Considering Optimizing Images from the Beginning

Optimizing images is a tricky job so, relying only on CSS to resize large photos would not suffice. You need to focus on optimizing for speed even before uploading your pictures.

  • Ensure Mobile Chart Designs are from Top Left To Bottom Right

In a mobile chart design, the most critical information should be on the top left. Along with it, there should be appropriate color coding.

3. Balance Complex Design Elements To Render Clarity

The human eye processes visual attributes that are easily decipherable. According to the Gestalt principles, we can recognize those messages quickly that are prominent in our perception. The perception becomes prominent when we include visual properties like – color, form, movement (which provides for continuity), spatial positioning etc. However, the primary purpose of Gestalt principles is to create an orderly image so that humans can gain meaningful perceptions amidst disorders. Hence, while creating the data visualization, you need to balance all these elements in the right way. Needless to say, visual properties would make your presentation magnetic. The goal is to arrange the visual elements like shape, color, negative space and texture equally throughout the design. Experts suggest several ways how you can create balance in the visual elements to render clarity of the information conferred.

Following are the two different types of balance all the design elements-

  • Symmetrical: Create visuals incorporating all design elements equally on all sides.
  • Asymmetrical: Make a visual presentation where both sides are different, yet the picture have a visual weight.


4. Use Effective Tools To Arrange a Huge Set of Analyzable Data

Data visualization consists of varied and complex information and features charts, graphs, infographics, videos and also modern elements like virtual reality and augmented reality. Undeniably managing this data are more than challenging. Hence you need specific tools to bring all these data together and present in a meaningful way to your clients. Take a look at some of the most preferred data visualization tools which are available as free as well as in paid versions-


Tableau is one of the renowned software that handles typical significant data operations efficiently. Tableau boasts of having advanced database solutions to deal with artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications. Industry experts consider Tableau a proven and useful tool to produce visuals and graphics providing a new edge to the data visualization.


Highcharts is another essential tool that can assist you in creating the best data visualization. It is preferred by many because it offers quick and flexible solutions. The tool has unique features and that is the reason why users find it useful than that of its competitors. The tool offers cross-browser support, according to this feature; anyone can access and run this visualization.


Building Data Visualization involves a lot of effort. But when there’s a tool like Plotly, your task becomes easier. It is a tool that enables you to produce more polished and complicated visualizations. Using Plotly, you can generate more polished and intricate visualizations. The tool integrates Python, R, Matlab and other similar analytics-related programming languages.

Domo Review

Domo is a great tool to connect the widest data set and deliver a unique social collaboration. Domo is a business management tool that integrates with multiple data sources, including social media, spreadsheets, databases etc.

5. Keep Data Arranged and Consistent

While compiling and presenting a big set of data, it’s necessary that you maintain consistency. A coherent design makes it easily decipherable. It’s ideal to create a hierarchy of data relevantly showing the various data points. Data visualization analysis reports that if you arrange data from highest to lowest order and emphasize the largest values. You can easily display a category that is more important to users in a prominent way.

Your Turn

Data visualization is about communicating a data set clearly to the target audience with the help of graphics. People nowadays understand complicated information when they are presented through visual presentations. Hence to present the best visualizations and easily comprehendible data follow the above principles and best practices. Needless to say, you would be able to represent complex information in a simplified way to make it genuinely useful to your audience.

Infographic Design Team helps you to create one of the best data visualizations for your target audience. We have talented graphic designers who assist you in the presenting the right data and deliver to you an excellent piece of work that your target client cannot avoid noticing and getting allured to.

10 Best Practices for Structuring URLs to Improve SEO Rankings

10 Best Practices for Structuring URLs to Improve SEO Rankings

If you want to rank higher in the search results, you need to understand the underlining factors. In most cases, this is the content of your site, incoming links to your site and the overall structure of links throughout your site.

The structure of domain names and URLs is one of the fundamental building blocks of SEO. Given that you have 100% control over your URLs you should make sure yours are working to maximum benefit for your rankings.

Let’s take a look at how you should do it.

In addition to each of the key point and SEO tips below, I also commend you take a look at my WordPress SEO tips guide on Udemy. It’s a great way to get visuals and walkthroughs on what’s working best to rank websites and blogs on the internet today.

#1 Make Your URL Easy to Read

The easier your URL is to read, the easier it will be to index and search. This advice makes common sense, and accessibility has always been a large part of SEO.

The requirement of the search engines is not that the URL is perfectly clean, but rather that it is easily comprehended and understood by those people searching for it.

In addition a simple, easily understood URL is more likely to be clicked on in Google’s organic results improving your CTR. When using WordPress, this can easily be done through the use of permalinks.

#2 Use a Single Domain & Folders Whenever Possible

The evidence suggests that moving content from a sub-domain to subfolder on your main domain will improve search results. Search engines don’t seem to consistently pass ranking to sub-domains.

This does not mean that if a sub-domain is the only way you can set up a blog the idea should be abandoned. Setting up a high quality blog will create tremendous value and should be done regardless of the outcome.

However, the blog is likely to perform better in the rankings and assist the rest of the site’s content performance if it’s all together on one domain.

If you’re unsure on the difference between a domain, sub-domain and folder see this excellent article.

#3 Place Your Keywords in the URLs

Using keywords that you are targeting in your URLs is still an excellent idea. Keywords help search engines understand what your page is about and also help people who are searching using social media platforms or emails. Research has shown that an easy to understand ULR is very helpful to searchers.

Don’t repeat your keywords or make your URLs unnatural however. If there is an opportunity to use you keyword do but not at the expense of misleading searchers.

Using Keywords in URLs

URLs are often copied and pasted. When there is no anchor text in the link, the URL then serves as the anchor text. This means that using your keywords in your URL will also mean that they become part of the anchor text of some of the links which while point at your site.

Anchor text is another very important way that search engines determine what you site is about.
Using URLs in SERPs

Use keyword explorer to do your research on the most effective keywords for your URLs. There is a myriad of free research tools you can use to find out the most searched keywords to include in your URLs.

#4 Shorter is Better than Longer

Keeping your URL as short as possible is recommended. However, you do not have to take this to an extreme. If you can cut it down, then do so, but don’t sacrifice understanding for length.

A good length for an URL is between 40 to 60 characters. Interestingly enough, the issue with a long URL is not due to the search engines being confused; they process long URLs quickly.

Instead, the problem comes with the user experience where research suggests that searchers prefer URLs that are short, easy-to-read, as well as, easy to copy and paste.

Checking URL length can be laborious often it’s quicker to export your URLs into Excel and use Excel to check them.

#5 Stop Words for URLs Are Not Important

Using stop words such as; but, of, the, or, and, a, etc., in the URL is not necessary. Leaving them out may make the URL shorter and easier to read by searchers and so many people do.

Use your best judgment and try to find a balance between URLs that are easy to read and as short as possible.

#6 Match URLs to Titles when You Can

Your titles and URLs do not have to match perfectly but they should send the same signal to search engines about what your article is about.

For example, search engines are now smart enough to figure out that if you have ‘automobile’ in a URL and ‘SUV’ in a URL that your articles is about cars. They know that automobile and SUV are very similar words.

#7 Avoid Unusual Characters or Punctuation from Your URLs

Using characters, symbols, or unknown text will cause havoc on your site. It can break browsers and confuse search bots. Remove or control the utilization of these specific characters.

#8 Use as Few folders as You Can

Generally our home page will have the largest number of links on your website and so it is viewed as the most authoritative on your site as a consequence.

This means that articles that are close to your home page will be viewed as authoritative and those that are far away will be viewed as less authoritative in general.

Slashes, or folders, show search engines how far from the root domain your article is. This means you should try to avoid putting too many slashes or folders into your URLs.

This is also good advice to help keep your URLs relatively short and easy to read. When in doubt simplify.

#9 How to Use Hashes in URLs

Hashes should be used in URLs to direct users to a particular page or comment. Use hashes for tracking purposes and to provide parameters. Using hashes for tasks unrelated to these two functions is a poor idea. See this article for more details on using hashes in URLs.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right URL can improve levels of traffic to your site and help it rank better in search engines. Follow these simple steps and create URLs that will optimize your site and make it easy for search engines to understand. Implement as many of the ideas as you can and use them as guidelines for all URLs that you create in the future. Go back to all your old URLs and review them against these standards.