The Human Design Handbook: Practical, Actionable Ways to Leverage Your Unique Design and Avoid Burnout

Whether you spend the bulk of your week in Zoom meetings and replying to Slacks or scrolling for support from the Mommy Influencers, chances are you’ve been hearing about burnout. Since we haven’t seen “precedented” times since 2015, it seems like burnout has become an all-too-common experience for many of us, but is that what we’re actually experiencing? The answer is probably, but the root cause may be different than you think. I don’t think we have an endurance problem, I think we have an alignment problem. Many of us associate the term burnout with doing too much or pushing ourselves too hard, but Human Design shows us that it’s more likely that we’re just doing too much of the wrong things. 

The hard truth is, most of us used to be able to manufacture the endurance or stamina required to keep up with today’s fast-paced world. Some of us unknowingly mask our emotions & disassociate to get through the day. Some of us seek external validation for a quick dopamine hit. Shortcuts and quick fixes used to work for some of us, at least sometimes, but to have the endurance to preserve your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing through this time of great transition, there’s only one “right” way to do things. The tea is, “right” looks very different for each of us individually. The one thing most of us do have in common is the late stage capitalism we’re all collectively experiencing leading to the relentless pursuit of productivity and success. When we pour our energy into the things we think we SHOULD be doing, in a way we think we SHOULD be doing them, it often leaves us feeling overwhelmed if not entirely depleted. This is where Human Design comes in. 

What is Human Design?

Human Design is a partially scientific, partially spiritual system that gives us a shared, supportive, foundation and oftentimes new language. The concepts that serve as the foundation of Human Design empower us to better understand ourselves and more accurately perceive others.

Human Design is an incredibly specific way to learn more about your personality, emotions, and how your energy functions. The intention of Human Design is to support all of us in finding more ease & alignment in every facet of our lives. In my practice, I have found this system to bring more compassion and understanding into relationships, give people permission to be themselves, and return authority to the individual.

What Information do I need to find my Design?

The inputs for a Human Design Chart are exactly the same as your Natal Chart in Astrology. All you need is your time, date, and location (city) of birth. You can find your full Human Design Chart for free at Practical Magic HD and it takes less than a minute to generate the full report. 

What Does Human Design Have to Do with Burnout?

By doing the hard work of ignoring the “Shoulds” and learning our unique design, we gain valuable insights into our own motivations, needs, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Understanding Human Design can help us all navigate life in a way that minimizes burnout and cultivates a more sustainable sense of well-being. Getting to know the most authentic version of yourself helps you begin to discern between what gives you energy, what drains you. Identifying and then reminding yourself of your intentions gives you the energy and motivation required to keep moving through this one wild and crazy life.

There are countless variables in each Human Design chart that I refer to as an Alignment Mentor, coaching my clients out of a state of disruption and into alignment. In the name of brevity for the purpose of this post, I’ll cover some of the easiest opportunities I’ve found to make small adjustments for the biggest energetic payoffs. 

1. Learn Your Energy Type & How Your Motor Functions:

The first step in using your Human Design chart as a Handbook to prevent burnout is to identify your energy type. Human Design recognizes five energy types: Manifestors, Generators, Manifesting Generators, Projectors, and Reflectors. Each type has its own energetic mechanics, and understanding your energy type can guide you in managing your energy effectively. For example: 

  • Manifestors are here to initiate & get things started. They’re designed to make this happen by informing, which is different than asking for permission. Sharing your ideas without shrinking yourself is the key to maintaining momentum. Manifestors also experience energetic ebbs and flows so it’s important to use your powerful energy when it’s available to you. It’s equally important to honor your need for rest and solitude when the time comes because being in the energy of other humans can feel especially draining.
  • Generators & Manifesting Generators are designed to build the things and find efficiencies to build them even better the second time around. They do this by responding to what lights them up, so if it’s not fun it isn’t worth doing. One way this often gets overlooked would be starting their day with the tasks they are dreading just to check it off the list & get that out of the way. This can actually deplete their energetic reserves for the remainder of the day.
  • Projectors are here to direct & guide others, to show us that there’s a path to success rooted in softness and ease. Because of this, Projectors are especially gifted at creating processes and thrive when they are recognized for their gifts and invited to share them. It’s important to note that Projectors are meant to be recognized for their valuable perspective on things, not their output or how much they can do. Ideally, Projectors shouldn’t be “working” more than 4 hours a day. The remaining time, even in a traditional workday, is better spent reflecting, observing, noticing efficiencies, strategizing, and creating systems.
  • Reflectors are here to be a mirror for the rest of the community surrounding them. They are designed to make things happen in a very different way than the rest of us and one of the most challenging aspects for this energy type is the need for trust and patience. Life as a Reflector is kind of like being a Taylor Swift stan because they are meant to make things happen by waiting for The Universe to bring it to them over and over again. Because Reflectors have all of their energy centers open or undefined, being intentional about your environment and the people you allow into it is their key to avoiding burnout. If you’re a Reflector, be sure to place yourself in offices, communities and working spaces – both remote and in person- that feel good. 

By learning about your chart and aligning your daily habits with your energy type, you can use discernment to conserve your precious energy and prevent burnout. The tough part about utilizing discernment is many of us don’t trust ourselves to make decisions. Luckily for us all, there’s a variable in your Human Design Chart that helps you make the most aligned decisions for yourself and that is your Authority. 

2. Honor Your Authority:

By learning about your chart and aligning your daily habits with your energy type, you can use discernment to conserve your precious energy and prevent burnout. The tough part about utilizing discernment is many of us don’t trust ourselves to make decisions. Luckily, there’s a variable in your Human Design Chart that helps you make the most aligned decisions for yourself and that is your Authority. This part of Human Design is basically our internal GPS system for navigating our most aligned path through this life. There are 7 different Authorities and each one is more reliable & trustworthy than our own intrusive thoughts if we can learn how to tap into it. Here’s how to utilize each Authority to make the highest and best decisions for yourself:

  • Wait for Clarity:  Also known as Emotional Authority, about 53% of the population makes decisions this way. It’s imperative to give your body time to fully feel through a situation before making a decision. Check in with yourself to make sure the waters feel calm vs. making a decision from an emotional high or low place. My rule of thumb is to give significant decisions at least 48 hours of reflection before you commit, I promise that most things can wait for 2 days.
  • Trust your Gut: Also known as Sacral Authority, 33% of the population is designed to make decisions this way. These people are waiting for a full bodied YES before making a commitment to something now. If it feels like you’re unsure, it likely means not yet. If you feel a full bodied NO (this can feel like you’re literally sick to your stomach) then it’s a no, regardless of any old stories you may be telling yourself. You’ve probably heard some iteration of the phrase “If it’s not a heck yes, it’s a heck no” and for this group of humans that’s exactly true. For the other 67% of you, look up your chart and keep reading.
  • Tune into your Intuition: This is also known as Instinctive Intuition or Splenic Authority. This one is more rare with only 9% of the population designed to make decisions this way. Our true instincts or intuition come from our Spleen and this energy center isn’t as loud as the Sacral center. For these people, the answers come right away and then disappear pretty quickly. The key here is remaining present enough to hear the answers when they come. The next right thing for this Authority won’t always make sense to other people or even you, and that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. Learn how to trust your first instinct anyway.
  • Tune into your Willpower: This is also known as Ego Authority with only 1% of the population making decisions this way. We love a big ego here because these people are designed to let “because I want to” be a good enough reason to do (or not do) the things. Ego Authorities will experience increased levels of energy when they follow their desires. Try on the belief that it’s ok to be selfish.
  • Talk it Out: Also known as Self-Projected Authority or Sounding Board Intuition. Around 2.5% of people make their most aligned decisions by literally talking it out and having trusted people in their inner circle that they can lean on as a sounding board. The important thing is to remember that bouncing ideas off of someone is different than asking for advice or feedback. You know better than anyone else, you just need to hear yourself say it outloud before you believe it.
  • Be in the Right Space & Talk it Out: This is also known as Mental or Environmental Authority. Only .5% of the population is designed to make decisions this way and it’s all about the 5 senses. These are the OG HSP’s and they are designed to soak in every bit of intel from the outside world. Being in the right environment so you can sense when something is off is important. This authority won’t allow you to see the whole picture but rather lead you to the next right thing, bringing you closer to alignment.
  • Wait a Lunar Cycle: This is the only Authority that applies to just one energy type and that is Reflectors, accounting for 1% of the population. Since Reflectors have all open centers, they can feel like a totally different person from one moment to the next. This is why these people are designed to wait (ideally for a full lunar cycle) for the revelations to come to them so they can clearly see the full picture. 

By honoring your authority and making decisions that are in alignment, you reduce  the disruptions causing stress in your life. These are just two of the variables found in your Human Design chart that act as powerful tools to guide you towards a life filled with more ease and less resistance to help you avoid burning out. Committing to doing the big, scary work of figuring out how you were designed to move through the world can feel hard, but utilizing your Human Design chart as your personal handbook can make the ride a whole lot smoother.

To see Human Design in action watch this conversation with Ashleigh and I: click here.


Born & raised in Boston Massachusetts, Dani Carlo is a newly minted Asheville local who followed her intuition all the way from San Diego to the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

After studying Human Design under Erin Claire Jones, she started living her own design and left her corporate job (and six figure income) selling software to pursue a new path as an Alignment Mentor, supporting other humans in understanding their unique design, utilizing their natural gifts, and how to best honor their own energy.

Dani is 1/3 Generator which means she has an affinity for truth and knowledge, constantly seeking the highest and best information available. To others, she comes across as a bold adventurer and experimenter. She’s the type of person who is proudly unafraid to fail, so long as she’s failing forward. 

Dani started Practical Magic HD to help humans get back to who they came here to be. In her spare time, she’s a self-proclaimed chaos gardener, moderate hiker, amateur bird watcher, and proud roommate to two Cats.


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