Strategy for Dealing with Burnout
with Leah Gritton
Writing down and putting the work you need to do into the impact growth framework is one of the best exercises when you’re experiencing burnout in your job. My name is Julian Cole, a strategy trainer at the planning dirty academy. I’m also a strategy consultant to leading brands like Uber, Facebook, Disney, apple snap.
If you’re your most strategy, tools and resources, subscribe to the channel. Let’s hear more about this. With Lee Gritten AVP group, director of integration strategy at energy baby DEO in Chicago. She introduced me to this framework. Yeah. Hi everyone. This subject is super topical and passionate for me. Uh, one thing I noticed is the amount of burnout that everyone is talking about and experiencing lately.
And I think what I wanted to do with my team. Hopefully with the rest of the community is just help people focus where their energy should be spent. For me, it’s, it’s avoiding burnout, making sure that we’re accelerating the process. We’re not getting mired in the work around the work that we’re fueling growth for individuals.
I mean, we optimize our campaigns for our clients and in such a methodical way towards KPIs. And I think taking that rigor to the way that we work, not just the work that we do so that we’re really directing our energy in the right way. Is such a huge opportunity and it removes the subjectivity and deciding where to focus.
I think a lot of times it’s like whatever requests come in at that moment get more priority, but that might not be a huge opportunity for the agency, for the individual. So it kind of eliminates that one way that I like to think of it. And it’s like running, I’m a runner. I was part of CrossFit country.
And the first thing that my coach taught me was your form. You want to use your form to expend the least amount of energy per stride. And that was so unintuitive to me because running was like, it’s supposed to be work. It’s supposed to be, you know, you’re supposed to be exhausted afterwards, but you actually net farther faster.
If you spend less energy per strap. And if you think about planning in that way, I think you can get really far in strategy really quickly without burning out with just some simple tweaks and a simple framework. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today
and really. Impact here. It’s not being lazy. I think there’s this belief that, you know, you have to, you have to prove that you’re working more in advertising and really it’s what we do. It should be enriching. It should be beneficial. It’s not really how much more work doesn’t always equal. More better. I have like just a very simple three-step process.
Love alliteration to help you guys figure out where to focus your energy. And it starts like most strategies start actually, which is discovery. So audit how you’re spending your time. So one thing, the thing that I recommend is when you’re auditing your time, you there’s apps that can do that for you. If it’s overwhelming for you to actually write down what it is that you’re doing, or you can do it manually.
But I would recommend looking at an individual tasks. I’m spending, I’m spending time writing emails or staring at a blank screen, like getting really specific and then categorizing that. And then looking at that per time per day and time per week. And I would look at it for at least a week, maybe two, and then assessing each of those tasks because there might be tasks within a category that you don’t need to do at all.
That can be an opportunity to drop the ball and it really doesn’t matter. And it’s not doing much harm or something that you can automate. And then after you’ve collected your data, you’ve assessed the merit of those tasks. You want to assign a designation or an action item to each task. So knowing where to focus or not, and we will, we will get into this in a little more detail.
And that’s a good point too, because often a planner’s worst nightmare at times. But the further you get in your career, the thing that I’ve realized is time sheets are actually the best thing because they really help you identify what you’re spending your time on. And I love that point before about dropping balls.
It’s like sometimes as a strategist is the higher you get up, you have more responsibility. You’re going to have to drop some balls. You’re either going to give them to other people or work. Is this task really needed. So I really love, love those two points you’ve got there. Absolutely. I mean, I never thought about that with time sheets.
That’s such a good time to naturally do this and take that stock on how I spent my week and certain tasks. Like it’s hard to think about automating, but I think, you know, instead of going through so many articles a day, if you’re spending an hour reading through articles, that’s a valuable task, but I can automate some of it with Google news alerts and just make it easier to get with those things.
Are, or maybe listening to a podcast in the morning instead that gives me a top-line. I think, I think there are ways to just speed through some of those tasks that aren’t important, the tasks that are worth keeping that a human needs to do, and that we can’t automate and kind of come up with a framework for how we should do it.
And if you look at impact, so will this lead to work. Wins. And as a planner, there’s a couple of ways to look at what will win. Like will it win me? Something that I’m proud of will win me something that the agency is proud of and might lead to a new business pitch or a case study, you know, will it, there are many different ways you kind of have to define that for yourself.
And I think feel free anyone who’s using this to personalize the framework for you. People or for yourself, and then also growth. I mean, this is a stage in planning, you know, starting out where you really want to be looking at development, where should I develop? What kind of skills do I want? And if you look at those two together, you kind of plot out impact by growth.
And a lot of the people on my team have been like literally plotting their assignments and this grid to figure out where they fall and what I’ve done. Okay. I have kind of given them an action item for each, each part of the grid. So starting at the bottom, if something is low growth, it’s a skill you already know you could do it in your sleep.
You don’t need more experience like you got it. And if it’s low impact. For you, it’s not going to be a notch on your belt, a feather in your hat, whatever it is that you know, it’s not going to be something that’s going to make you proud going to win. You win an achievement or an award or whatever it is you’re after.
That’s where you delegate. And I think that this word specifically has. When we unpacked it, it had a lot of negativity associated with it. For my team. My team felt really guilty delegating any of their work. Like they were just piling work on the rest of their people. And if you think about it as like giving a gift and not giving more work, like if it’s not a high growth opportunity or a high impact opportunity for you.
It very well likely is for someone else. And you don’t want to steal that opportunity to learn from them. So as long as you are transparent with them, like I’m not giving you this because I don’t just want to do it. I’m delegating it because it’s on your growth plan. It’s where it’s on your development plan.
You need. To get to the next level that you want to be. I think it can minimize some of the guilt that might be associated with that word, moving up. So a high growth opportunity. It’s a scale you haven’t done, but a low impact opportunity. I think that I have the word master there because that’s really where you can, you can do whatever you want.
You can do any kind of experiment that you need to learn a new skill. And I think experiment is really a good word to use there. Try new things and it’s a low impact opportunity. So you have the safety net building. To, you know, to be brave and daring and do new things and really focus on your, your growth and your learning for high impact, low growth.
That’s where we talked about shortcuts. How do we accelerate the process and finding any ways to. To plow through that area. Like it’s going to lead to a really awesome case, but for me, it’s like, it’s something I can do in my sleep. So you should do it really quickly. You should set timers for like the minimum amount of time required that you need to get that task done and like hold yourself to account so that you don’t get down a rabbit hole of research.
You just kind of trust her. And then the high growth, high impact, that’s really where I wanted them to focus. So if they looked at their week and they’d had a high impact, high growth opportunity, but they were too caught up, you know, responding to emails of clients or doing these requests, like what can we clear off or not do so that you can focus there?
I think that is a huge overlap for the organization, for the agency, for the individual, for the manager. That’s where you want to focus your time. I love this. This is so helpful. And I just feel like there’s so much you’ve impact in one framework for me, the, as you were saying, the stuff about delegation that is often the hardest thing is you become a director or a manager of other strategists, the guilt, you just get Bo you know, heavy with the guilt, but the way you’ve like, re-positioned delegate of like, no, this is an opportunity for the next generation.
Love that idea. So really like that. And the other thing that I think is it just helps to visualize, like I’m a very visual person, so that’s why I probably resonate with frameworks, but it’s just so nice how it, it really shows that not all work is the same. It’s kind of when you actually sit down and as you said, do the audit and then put the work in here.
You see that work. There’s like these four different varieties of work and you’ve got to approach each in different ways. I’d love to hear. How did you use this framework? Was it an exercise that you did with your team, like to fill out the quadrants or how did it get integrated?
Yeah. So I, um, I, I had a meeting with the, like the team leads. We all got together and I, I shared this. I told them, you know, I have noticed how hard it is working remote and in the pandemic and how much work, you know, we have, how many, how many problems the clients. Brought to us in the last year, I’ve noticed how hard it is for you guys.
I really want to help. So we went through that with that motivation in mind, like this is to help you live a life. You know, it’s in your tips for new strategists. Like you have to be interesting. You have to have a life, like the best planners are, have things going on on the side. You know, they ha they have room to live and experience the world.
And it’s been hard the last year to do that. So my motivation to them was very clear. This is to help you. And it’s at the same time, it’s going to help the agency and it’s going to help me. So. It’s that’s where it’s coming from. And we went through all of this together. They got to ask questions. I asked them each individually to take two weeks.
And kind of think about it audit their tasks. And then we had one-on-one sessions and they all approached it a little differently. And that which made me realize like, you know, everyone’s work styles personal. So, so, you know, you do have to kind of tweak it to your needs, but that’s what we did. We went through.
So we had one-on-one sessions and we went through all of the stuff that they’ve been doing. I was able to help them even further, like, oh, you don’t have to do this. They were a little bit stingy with what they wanted to automate or delete. So, um, I think having someone to be like, no, you have the freedom to not, to not do that.
And then, like, I it’s just been, we’ve had a check-in every month, uh, to see how things are going. And I’ve definitely seen the benefits. And their attitude, you know, their morale, they feel supported. And I w that’s what I want them to feel. Love it. Thank you so much. You are so welcome. Thank you. And planning dirty help you.
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