How to fuel the fire: Beat burnout at work
For some people work is something they simply have to do, for others it may be their motivations to wake up in the morning. Wherever on the spectrum an employee resides, at some point during the natural cycles of life, both personally and professionally, there will be times when their fire may fade. Fight to bring back the blaze with these tips on how to beat burnout at work.
Intense Seasonal Blazes
Many different industries have seasonal pushes that simply exhaust workers with long hours, intense deadlines and complex projects. Although they generally occur in spurts, they can take a hard toll on our mental health and increase our need to apply stress management tactics at work. These individuals start to feel like workaholics and simply run until their energy has been depleted, then crash. Here are a few ideas on how to battle the blazes of frenetic burnout:
Ask your boss to prioritize
Supervisors are supposed to be there for us when we need guidance on the job as well as support our overall career advancement. If your boss or other shareholder keeps piling work on your desk, ask the source what is most important and go from there. Focus on doing your best but realize that you cannot do everything and manage the workload as efficient as possible.
Schedule in breaks
It is easy for many of us to lose track of time when we are in the zone and lost in our respective projects. Do your best to not let this happen. As you begin to plan your week block out 15 minute intervals in your schedule for a breather, even if that means physically penciling it in on your to do list or setting an alarm on your phone. It’s important for your sanity and helps refresh your mind to maximize performance on that all important project.
Sometimes we feel surrounded by work not because of industry trends but because we surround ourselves with work. On those scheduled breaks consider calling your spouse, family member or best friend to take you away from that to-do-list on your desk. Yes as a valued worker you are important to the company and the task at hand, but remember you are more always more important to the people that love you.
The Single Flame
Think of the image of a single match lit without any candles to light. It’s a pretty sad picture huh? What I’m referring to here is often referred to as the under-challenged burnout. It can relate to those who are have little motivation to work and have to cope with monotonous and dull conditions. They generally feel indifferent or even cynical that there is no personal development in their day-to-day work routine. To help combat this feeling consider practicing a few of the following concepts:
Reexamine your job
A simple role play may be just the thing to fix a person’s outlook. Imagine you’re interviewing for your job and just starting a new career path that is full of potential and opportunity! Think about how you will build the position you are in by thinking creatively. Sometimes the challenge we seek isn’t the job’s responsibility but rather our own.
Take baby steps
On occasion the goal that we set for ourselves may require many baby steps to get to it. Interject your interests into your routine day by day. This may be as simple as having lunch with a friend in the field you are interested in, or taking a quick online course to help you feel like you are doing something for yourself. This can reduce the cynical feelings you feel.
See a career coach
Some of the best support systems offer different forms of life or career coaching to help you get on track. Brandman University for example offers career development services to every student, giving them resources like resume review, mock interviews and exclusive job search tools. Plus it's alumni network offers mentoring and networking opportunities to every graduate. Seek out a career coach that can help you with your professional life and the outcome may surprise you.
Turning Into Embers
For those who don’t take action during either the under-challenged or frenetic phase will eventually fall completely into full blown worn-out burnout. After the campfire songs have been sung and the fire starts fading down, there is the stage that consists of low-light embers and grey ash. Generally these individuals have been working in the same organization for many years and feel like giving up when faced with stress or lack of gratification. The distinguishing characteristic among people in this phase is that although they may not have noticed it has been happening for years as a gradual process. This is where work life balance is so important to the pursuit of happiness.
Sometimes the best remedy for feeling lost is personal reflection and redefining your goals. An writer from CBS news recommends that you sit down and start writing what your life would look like if you had an ideal life. Don’t edit like you used to have to do in school, simply go with your stream of consciousness and you may discover things you love that you can bring back into your life.
After all is said and done it is important to reward yourself for everything that you got accomplished. Long-tenured employees who have the vacation days take it and spend the time doing something or going somewhere that you have always dreamed of. For those that don’t, consider a staycation with your family during the weekend and get away from the everyday grind.
Update Your Profile
There are so many professional networks online that help us manage our resumes and portfolios. If you simply can’t beat burnout at your current job consider searching for a new career path that can help spark your passion again. Even if you don’t switch right away, by putting all your accomplishments on paper you are able to elevate your self-esteem and remind yourself what great work you have done.
Finding a Balance
Take some time to consider which stage describes your personal experience then consider the options to beat burnout at work and balance your time to enjoy life. Explore more about how to achieve balance with our Guide to Better Work, Life, School Balance and take this quiz to see where you fall on the spectrum.
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