We’ve all been there. What was once exciting and novel slowly turns into the “daily grind” as we attempt to cope with the ever increasing pressure to achieve growth and strategic goals. We become so focused on metrics, we overlook the emotional and physical impact this may have on us. You may be burned out if:
- you dread going into work
- you have become cynical at work
- you have become impatient or irritable with others
- you lack the energy to be productive
- you feel disengaged or uninterested in your tasks
- your passion has turned to poison
If you are already experiencing the “workplace blues” or feel yourself heading that way, here are 3 things you can do to get back on track.
Acknowledge & take action
The first step to taking action is to acknowledge there is a problem. This allows you to reflect on your situation, identify your stressors, and evaluate your options. Assess your interests, skills, and passions, as well as exploring what aspects of work you enjoy. Doing so can help in creating options, as well as helping you shift your attitude. Balance the tasks you enjoy with those you do not. Take breaks to connect with co-workers and recognize the work they do to support you. As you consider options, it may be beneficial to discuss specific concerns with your leader or co-workers. Are there ways to diversify your daily tasks? Can you telecommute? What professional development options exist?
Set limits & manage your workload
One of the factors that leads to burnout is feeling overwhelmed or overloaded. We often hesitate in saying “no” or setting limits out of fear of upsetting others or being perceived as someone who is not a team player. It is important to remember that, according to the UN Bill of Rights, it is your right to say “yes” or “no”, as well as to state your needs and priorities. It is better not only for you, but for the team and organization for you to be assertive and turn down tasks sometimes.Consider this: is it better to take on more and produce a lower quality outcome or to exceed expectations on a manageable number of tasks?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying “I don’t have time”, however this does not help in managing your workload or motivating you to accomplish the tasks. Instead, try saying “it’s not a priority”. This allows you to remove the pressure you feel to address non-priority tasks, giving you greater focus and energy to tackle more pressing issues.
Create downtime & use it appropriately
One way to prevent your calendar from becoming overloaded with tasks and events is to schedule downtime. Making the effort to plan and add it to your calendar increases your commitment to follow through. More than simply scheduling downtime is making the most of it. How often do you plan to have a quiet weekend at home relaxing only to discover it’s Sunday night and you’ve spent all your time with errands and social events?
While this may work to recharge some individuals, many of us will find ourselves more tired on Monday than before the weekend!