You give your all at your job. But what happens when you go to far?
For many, the answer is burnout. Burnout at work can look different for different people, but in general, it communicates a sense of overall weariness with your job. When you’re burned out, you might feel physically tired, emotionally spent, or like you’ve lost your motivation and direction. Whatever it looks like, it’s likely underlined by chronic stress and everything that goes with it.
As people are becoming more and more aware of the concept of burnout, we’re starting to realize just how common a problem it is. That’s why we recognize the importance of helping members of the workforce stop burnout in its tracks.
Here are some of our best tips for avoiding burnout at work.
Keep promises to yourself.
If you tell yourself you’re going to stop working at 5:00, stop working at 5:00. If you promise yourself that you won’t check your work email at home, don’t check your work email at home. Keeping promises to yourself not only helps you set up healthy, productive boundaries, but it also instills within you the idea that you are in control of your life, and you can count on yourself to take care of yourself.
If you’re experiencing the same problems over and over again at work, say something. Maybe you find yourself getting stuck on the same task on every single project you take on. Maybe you have one coworker in particular that you can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with, no matter what. Repeating problems like this could lead you to burnout. Before that happens, speak up. Ask for more training, communicate with your coworkers—whatever it takes to stop burnout before it takes over.
Find a purpose.
When you feel like your job doesn’t matter, you’re much more likely to experience burnout. In this case, burnout can manifest itself as a “What am I doing with my life?” sort of feeling. To avoid this, try to keep the purpose behind your job in the forefront of your mind. Is this job an important stepping stone to your dream job? Do you really respect and value the company’s mission? How do your daily responsibilities contribute to the overall effectiveness of the company? Defining your purpose—and reminding yourself of it often—can help you from feeling this type of burnout.
Many cases of burnout come from sheer overwhelm or exhaustion, often from having too many responsibilities on your plate. You might even be taking on tasks that could easily be done by someone else. In that case, look for opportunities to delegate. Talk with your manager or coworkers about what could be done to distribute the work differently. Commit to not taking on tasks that could (or should) be done by someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it feels like your load is unreasonably heavy.
Improve quality of life away from work.
There’s a reason the idea of “work hard, play hard” is such a popular one. Feeling like you have a life outside of work is very important when it comes to avoiding burnout. Things like socializing, pursuing hobbies, getting good sleep, and occasional unplugging can give you a sense of fulfillment and happiness that has nothing to do with your job, your job performance, or your salary. Prioritizing your home life is an important part of self care that will make it less likely for you to become burned out.
If you’re constantly struggling to ward off burnout, the problem might be out of your control. Perhaps this position, or this company, isn’t a good fit for you. Take care not to jump to this conclusion; jumping from job to job won’t help you or your employers. Instead, if you’re really having a hard time with feelings of burnout, take a step back, try to analyze why the burnout is happening, and see what ideas you can come up with about how to fix it. If nothing you try seems to work, then it might be time to reassess.
Burnout can be a minor inconvenience, or it can be a debilitating setback. Either way, your best bet at job satisfaction is to avoid burnout altogether. Follow these tips to help you stave off burnout, and you’ll be able to do your best at work while still prioritizing your own physical and mental well-being. It can be tricky to find the balance that works for you, but it is well worth the effort. If by chance you find yourself at the point of no return with burnout at your current job, be sure to check out our job board for new opportunities.
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