If you feel tired, hate your job, demotivated and feel as though you’re failing at work, you’re displaying classic burnout symptoms. According to research from the American Institute of Stress, the number one cause of stress is job pressure. 62% of North American employees report high levels of stress and three of four people experience both physical and psychological impacts from it. Clearly, work stress is a large problem. At CaptureApps, we regularly espouse the importance of reducing those stress triggers with this productivity blog. We’re a software company, geared toward making work easier, so we’re going to share some key secrets to battling burnout.
You may feel “overload burnout” if you work toward goals until you’re completely exhausted. Or you may be working to avoid things in your personal life – some burnout victims seek a way to avoid life problems or loneliness. In either case, you’ll want to chip away at your burnout so you can reach a better work/life balance. If you do, you’ll probably find the quality of your work will improve, despite a lower quantity.
1. Take small steps.
Habits are hard to create and harder to break. If your life is all about work, find a way to do one simple thing that isn’t work. Go out to lunch with a non-work friend, spend an evening reconnecting with an abandoned hobby (like that guitar in the corner). Do it once. Then do it again another day.
2. Take a step back.
If your work has consumed your life, think about the initial cause. Were you pursuing a new role at the company? Were you avoiding something at home? Evaluate the why to see if what you’re doing has any reasonable effect on that goal (note, resolving issues at home could be solved in better ways).
3. Take a class.
Not only can a course challenge you to learn something new, but it may be the better solution to getting a promotion. Having more skills is better than more tenure. Especially in the current job market, skills earn more rewards than time (we could introduce you to some middle-aged computer guys who are struggling because they didn’t keep up with technology, a fast-paced industry). The other benefit to a class is it also eats into the overtime problem in the first place (like a happy distraction).
4. Protect your schedule.
As you progress through fighting burnout, try to set better office hours. Stop checking emails before having coffee in the morning. Stop work at a set time. Stop checking emails after dinner.
5. Manage your boss.
If your boss is piling work up for you, put the onus on the boss to set priorities. You have a fixed amount of time, so the boss needs to choose where your time is spent. “If you want A and B but we only have time for one, which do you want more?”.
6. Seek help.
If speaking to a career counselor or trusted advisor is an option, choose to do so. Explaining your situation to someone and then listening to their feedback can guide you to a better path.
7. Put it all together.
If you can take the small steps, then you can combine them into a bigger one. Take a day off. Take a weekend off. Take a vacation. Reward yourself for cutting back.
Secrets to Battling Burnout
Burnout can happen to anyone. It starts as doing good work. Then you see an opportunity to do more, so you add more. And then the cycle continues, building and adding and adding and building. Until…burnout. We’ve shared our (firsthand) secrets to battling burnout here – yes, even software developers get caught in its clutches. You can fight the beast too – start small and add (the same process, just in reverse!).