Life Hacks: How To Deal With Burnout At Work

8 March 2016

Words by Carlie Tucker

If you’re finding it difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, and the thought of another day at the office is borderline torture, you may be facing the onset of a case of work burnout.

Chances are you’re overdue for a holiday, but this issue can often run deeper than needing a few days off. Work burnout is the result of prolonged exposure to stressors that can result in a sense of detachment and complete lack of motivation. From being overworked to being stuck in a toxic workplace culture, there are a number of causes the can strike down the best of us.  Luckily there are a few steps you can take to avoid the burnout rut and get your attitude back on track:

Identify the problem

The first step toward a solution is identifying the problem. There are a few different types of work burnout, so it’s best to think honestly about your situation, identify what's causing any negative feelings and deal with it accordingly.

Is it a case of too much work? Is it an overcritical co-worker or supervisor? Or do you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in a job that doesn’t challenge you or fulfil your aspirations? Once you’ve positively identified why you’re feeling burnt out, you’ll often feel a sense of relief as you can now work toward a solution. 

Break your day down

Rather than feeling helpless as you randomly try to complete tasks, take a few minutes in the morning to organise your day. Break out the ol' pen and paper, review what you need to finish and create a to-do list. Break things down into categories according to priority and set some goals for what you’d like to accomplish by the end of the day.

Don’t forget to schedule a proper lunch break as well as a few 10 minute breaks throughout your day to ensure you’re getting enough time away from your desk to clear your head. With an organised plan that breaks your day down into more manageable pieces, things won’t seem quite so overwhelming. And, as you tick off a few of your to-dos, you’ll feel your confidence boosting, which will make you feel better about tackling the next challenge.

Learn to say no

One of the most common types of burnout is being overworked. Many professionals struggle to find an ideal balance in their schedules as they take on more in an effort to please their supervisor(s). Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect as your quality of work decreases. The best thing you can do is draw the line and say no.

Review your schedule and figure out how much work you're comfortable with and have an honest discussion with your supervisor. Work together to set reasonable goals that you know you can accomplish. It's good to challenge yourself every once in awhile, but don't let that be an invitation for taking on too much.


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Take some time off

All savvy professionals know the value of time off and don't feel bad about taking a few days. Studies have shown professionals who integrate regular holiday time into their schedules are often more productive because they give their mind and body the chance to recharge.

The truth is that the human body has limited resources and when exposed to continuous stress and work, it starts to deplete those resources. Exhaustion, illness and mental fatigue start to set in, which decreases your performance capabilities. Regular breaks, through the day, month and year, help rejuvenate those resources, allowing you to return to work with a renewed sense of productivity. 

Focus on your health

One way to deal with all types of work burnout is to focus your energy on a different outlet. What better outlet than your health?

Strengthening your mind and body is a proven method for dealing with stress. Regular exercise routines will release endorphins and help you 'work out' anything that's bothering you. Meditation and yoga sessions are also a great way to clear your mind and focus on your overall wellbeing. Going hand in hand with regular exercise, a balanced diet and regular sleep schedule will keep your body in tip-top shape while boosting your professional confidence and motivation.

Reassess and look to the future

If all else fails, it may be time to reassess your situation. Your burnout could be a symptom of an overall dissatisfaction with your current role and professional direction. If your role doesn't fit in with your aspirations, the best approach is to get yourself back on a professional track that not only challenges you but satisfies your ambitions.

Work out a plan on where you'd like to see yourself and start working toward it. With a goal in place and the knowledge that you're working toward a better future, you may find yourself feeling a little less burnt out a little more motivated to accomplish that goal!  

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