“Work harder!” How common in business life. Working hard for long hours and sleeping just a few became a badge of honor. Unfortunately, in many cases it leads to burnout rather than to success. Entrepreneurs, as well as employees, experience it for various reasons. But what is burnout and how to avoid it?
What is burnout?
According to David Ballard, PsyD from The American Psychological Association, job burnout is “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” Besides that, burnout has a negative influence on relationships, happiness and health. How to say if you’re suffering from burnout? Ballard suggests following signs: exhaustion, lack of motivation, frustration, cognitive problems, slipping in job performance, interpersonal problems at home & work, health problems, not taking care of oneself, decrease in satisfaction and being preoccupied with work, when out of work.
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE analysed patterns in employees’ burnout and their coping methods at work. According to the findings there are 3 types of burnout:
- Overload: Frenetic individuals who are working until exhaustion. They usually cope with burnout by complaining about workload and company hierarchy.
- Lack of development: Under-challenged workers who tend to avoid coping with the situation and distance themselves from work instead.
- Neglect: Individuals who are giving up in the face of stress. They might have a goal but they lack the motivation to go through barriers to achieve it.
How can I avoid it?
It might sound simple but it takes a lot of effort, you need to strengthen your resilience muscle. I’ve been working with organizations as well as individuals and designed programs to increase resiliency in all areas of life, focusing on your social, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Here are 10 tips how you can become more resilient and avoid burnout.
Arrange a time when you simply unplug yourself from the online world and turn off your phone. Digital tools can help you to become productive but they also bring a lot of stressors.
As I mentioned at the beginning, some people take their 4-hour sleep as a badge of honor. There is definitely nothing to be proud of. Sleep as much as you need, every person is individual and every person has different needs. You want to be productive during the day, not sleep deprived, nervous and stressed. Studies suggest that sleep shorter than 6 hours is a major risk for burnout.
Call a friend of yours and get out. Meet people, reconnect with old friends.
Start saying “no”
Every “yes” brings new responsibilities on your plate. You don’t have to be polite every time. If it doesn’t bring you value, don’t be afraid to say “no.”
Take care of your body
You are not your work. Take time to take care of yourself. Work out, eat something nice and healthy food, get the haircut you wanted.
Write down your daily goals, schedule time for reading emails, write notes. Many people get stressed because they’re afraid they might forget something.
Cultivate rich non-work life
Find something you’re passionate about. It can be some hobby you always wanted to do, but you just didn’t feel you have time for it. The time is now!
Whether you are top executive or an assistant, it’s necessary to find some time to relax. It can be meditation, reading a book, fishing, you name it. Arrange time just for it.
Quit comparing yourself
This is a tough one, I know. Since childhood, you were compared to your peers in school. The truth is, you’re original. You’re taking different path than your peers now and you have different goals, needs, expectations, skills… Embrace your uniqueness.
Have a good laugh
Laugh is healing. Sit down and watch your favourite comedy or go out with your best friends.
I could go on with this list. Burnout is a serious issue and the only way you can prevent it or deal with it, is to turn the attention to yourself. Work doesn’t define you. You define yourself.
Feel free to contact me if you need a resiliency boost. See you next Tuesday with a new blog.