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How to Manage Work Burnouts

How to Manage Work Burnouts

In today’s fast-paced society, work burnouts are becoming an all-too familiar state of physical and mental exhaustion that reduces our ability to perform our jobs as effectively. Whether we’re attempting to juggle too many tasks at once, or feeling overwhelmed by an upcoming deadline, burnouts are now a common consequence of trying to meet the increasing demands and responsibilities of our professional roles.

When pressures begin to build, we can find ourselves flustered, unable to concentrate or make decisions, and lose the energy and drive that we may have once had. In some cases, burnout is so acute that it can be damaging to a career and personal life, and affect our physical and mental wellbeing on a severe scale.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that burnouts can’t be combated effectively. With focused effort, we can begin to manage burnouts to ensure that we bounce back quickly, and feel ready to tackle our next project. 

Ruthlessly Prioritise

When burnout hits, you need to start thinking about your workload. Taking some time to prioritise your tasks, projects and deadlines should make you feel more organised. By objectively looking at what needs to be done first and what is most important, you can structure your work accordingly. 

Something as simple as writing a ‘To Do’ list works wonders- here you can place emphasis upon your most urgent tasks and prioritise those first. Think about how long each task will realistically take you to do, and how many things you can feasibly accomplish within a specific time frame. Be careful not to add too many details to your list, as this may end up adding to your stress!

Set a Comfortable Pace

While easier said than done, it’s important not to pressure yourself into completing too many jobs at once. Work burnouts can often be the result of working too hard and fast for too long; try to break this habit by finding a work pace that is comfortable, which still gives you the opportunity to be productive and effective.

Finding the right work balance can often be a case of trial and error, especially if you’re used to pushing yourself to maximum capacity. Start small, and set limits on hours of work time. For example, it’s wise to avoid taking work home with you- if this in unavoidable, then be sure to cap your screen time on you laptop or phone. 

After you’ve completed a task, get into the habit of ticking off each job on your list. You’ll then be able to observe your achievements, which may help you think more positively about your work.

Share your Concerns with Colleagues

This can be quite a difficult aspect of negotiating your burnout, especially if you are unsure how your manager and coworkers may react. That being said, it’s important to seek support at work if possible, as this has the potential to reduce your stress considerably and prevent burnouts from happening again in the future. You may not necessarily want to give the impression that you can’t handle your workload, but it’s vital to your wellbeing that you don’t face your problem alone.

When discussing your responsibilities with colleagues or management, it’s worth considering the manner in which work is delegated; are there any specific priorities that your team need to focus on? Can deadlines and strategies be reconsidered, or specific tasks reassigned and shared between team members? Approaching your burnout in this particular way will demonstrate a proactive approach to your manager, as you are ultimately looking to find solutions rather than creating problems within your team.

Don’t Neglect your Health

It seems obvious to state, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in our jobs and neglect the basics. Food, water, sleep and exercise habits can become less of a priority when our workload begins to increase; try not to fall into this trap, as you’ll find that your productivity levels will decrease rapidly.

If time is a key factor, it’s worth preparing some homemade meals for your lunches or dinners if you have the time to do so during the weekend. While it’s incredibly tempting to reach for the take away menu when you get home, you’ll benefit from eating home cooked, healthy meals that maintain your energy levels.

When it comes to exercise, simple things such as walking, taking the stairs, and short home workouts can be easily incorporated into your day. And be sure to keep that water bottle handy!

Get out and Breathe

We’ve all done it- we’ve dedicated so much time to our responsibilities that we often forget that we have a life outside of our work hours. If you’re guilty of this as much as we are, then it’s time to strike up a healthy work-life balance to avoid those burnouts.

Do your best to dodge any additional working hours, and instead focus on taking some ‘me’ time at the end of the day. You need a chance to go home and leave work behind as you take care of yourself and restore your energy.

If possible, take holiday hours periodically, even if you just take a “staycation” without travelling. It’s important to make time for the little things like spending time with family, dinner or drinks with friends, as well as your favourite hobbies, which will help you take your mind off your job. Providing you don’t overdo the drinks, you should feel fresh and ready to work when you get back to the office!

Seek Professional Help

If you feel that your burnout has completely taken over and you aren’t able to work, it’s time to recruit a professional. Consulting with someone trained to help you deal with these kind of situations can be a very effective way to manage your burnout, as well as establish some positive changes that prevent this from happening again in the future.

Many workplaces offer wellbeing support, but if this option isn’t available to you or you don’t wish to draw attention to things, seek the advice of your doctor. They will be able to provide you with a variety of options, whether it be in the form of counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy. It’s absolutely vital that you ask for help if you feel you need it- your mental wellbeing depends upon it.

While becoming a common occurrence in modern working life, burnout isn’t something that should be ignored. It’s important to recognise and take control as soon as possible; the longer the problem goes on for, the more damage it can cause. By prioritising your work and achieving a positive work-life balance, you’re giving yourself the best chances to approach your work proactively, and enjoy a healthy, happy, and successful career. 
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