We are a society that struggles with attention and focus. Nowhere is this theme more evident, unfortunately, than in the work place. As a “creative” I know the feeling of burnout all too well. In this article I’ll give you 10 ways to avoid burnout at work, and discuss why you shouldn’t treat hitting that proverbial wall as a failure.
I. Take a Real Day Off
Sure, this sounds simple enough, but even when we do take a “day off” most of us are still uber-connected to our work lives. What I’m suggesting here is that you take an actual day off from work entirely. Just relax, close the laptop, put your phone on airplane mode, and log off of Facebook. Spend time with friends or family. Go outside. You do remember what outside looks like, right? Go on, enjoy yourself! Work will still be there when you get back.
II. Setup a Break Schedule
This past year I’ve really started to structure my day around strategic break points. For the most part they revolve around my new dietary needs post-weight loss surgery. Nowadays I eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day, which means I’m eating something roughly every 3-4 hours. I use this time to take a break from my work. I’ll go to our cafeteria and grab a banana or sit outside and have a cup of yogurt. This helps break up the monotony of the day and really helps me refocus my energy when I return to my desk.
III. Do Something Exciting
Whether you’re into mountain climbing, roller coasters, or just hanging at an art gallery, it doesn’t matter. Just do something that’s fun and interesting. My wife and I are constantly finding new things to do in our local communities in California. We go to theme parks, explore the beaches, and check out historical landmarks all the time. We love learning about new things and experiencing the culture in California. That excites us and gets our mind off the daily grind.
IV. Get More Sleep
Sleep is a very important part of life. It gives your body a chance to recuperate and your mind a chance to rest. Most experts say you should get between 6-8hrs of sleep per night. If you’re like me, you probably average about 4 or 5 on a good night. Lately, though, I’ve been striving to get more sleep, and it truly has made a difference in my energy levels at work.
V. Analyze the Meaning of Your Job
My job is to educate people. If I’m burnt out and seem less than enthusiastic while teaching or recording a video, not only am I doing myself a disservice, but I’m also harming the people that are trying to learn from me. I owe it to them to enjoy my job, and I should do all I can to make sure that I do. Your job, whatever that may be, is no different. Think of your customers, members, or whomever you provide services for. They’re the reason you’re employed, and the reason you come to work everyday.
VI. Talk to Someone
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about your job, tell someone about it. Chances are they’re feeling the same way, and you can possibly help each other through it. That’s not to say that you should barge into your manager’s office and start laying out your grievances, but maybe a co-worker, friend or family member will be a sounding board for you. Getting your feelings out in the open will validate them and allow you to confront them head on.
VII. Find an Outlet for Aggression
My outlet is running. I strap on my headphones and just go after it for 45-60min per day. With every step I try to release my frustrations and alleviate my stress from the day. After a workout I always feel great and ready to tackle another day at the office. Find something that accomplishes this for you and you’ll be able to beat the burnout bug.
VIII. Pick Up a New Hobby
Find something non-work related that you enjoy and start doing it on a regular basis. You could build model cars, play golf, surf, or whatever you find interesting. Just make sure you work it into your daily and/or weekly routine so that you always have something to look forward to no matter what happened at work that day.
IX. Stop Worrying About Everyone Else
If your workday always ends with a rant about something your boss, colleague or customer did to piss you off, you’re doing it wrong! Stop worrying about what others are doing to make you upset and instead focus on what you can do to improve the situation. True change starts within yourself, so shut up and start becoming part of the solution.
X. Set Goals for Yourself
One of the biggest complaints people have about their job is that it’s not challenging or exciting enough. Find a way to make it so. You’re undoubtedly on some sort of deadline for work already. Spice it up a little with your own set of goals and objectives. Challenge co-workers to see who finishes a project first. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill and show it to your boss. Design a new product and pitch it to your team. This will give you a renewed sense of ownership and allow you to feel creative and empowered.
If you’re like me, you’re constantly burning the candle at both ends. Figuring out how to slow that burn is one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face. What you have to do is find a way to slow it down before it lights you on fire and you completely lose focus.
What are your strategies for avoiding burnout? Chat me up in the comments or drop me a line via Facebook or twitter. Thanks for reading.