You may believe you won’t burn out if you love your job, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Burnout is a cumulative phenomenon. It can result from happy years of answering emails and attending meetings. It can strike regardless of whether you’ve been performing above or below your potential. It doesn’t mind if you’re a CEO or an intern.
Common signs of burnout are depressive symptoms, a negative outlook about work, irritability, and a sentiment that what you do isn’t impactful. Here are some practical strategies to avoid burnout at your job:
- Reflect on what your work means to you.What brought you into this field in the first place? See if you can rediscover the intent behind your career choice. Refreshing your perspective can re-energize you.
- Think about what parts of your job may be wearing you down.Does a particular type of assignment make you dread going into work? What are your greatest strengths? What type of work would you like more of? Optimize your workflow. Meet with your boss and consider swapping certain tasks with coworkers who enjoy the types of work you don’t.
- Assume more responsibilities.It sounds counterintuitive, but taking on more responsibility — particularly for things you’re great at — can provide just the boost you need in your work life. Ask if you can take on certain projects with less oversight, or if you can manage your own deadlines with more autonomy.
- Regularly stop thinking about work.If you never stop chewing, gum loses its flavor — spit it out and give yourself time to refresh. Go biking, lift weights, or go out for a night on the town with friends. Make every effort to not think about work during this time. When you come back to it, your mind will have had a chance to recalibrate.
- Practice stress management.Keep a journal to help identify what adds stress to your life. Practice meditation, breathing exercises, and self-awareness. Above all, make a conscious effort to think positive thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no.”Spreading yourself too thin clogs up your schedule and decreases the overall quality of your output. Saying “no” to assignments as the need arises is a critical ingredient in a sustainable career.
- Take naps.The best part of kindergarten doesn’t have to remain a distant memory. Taking a 20-minute nap can charge you up more than a cup of coffee while also having a much better effect on your brain.
- Make yourself a schedule and stick to it.Leaving your projects open-ended is a recipe for long hours and emotional drainage. Allot a certain amount of time to each task and stop when the time is up. Include time for exercise and fun each day, and be sure to keep those extra, mood- and energy-boosting activities in your day-to-day schedule.
VanHoven, Sasha. “11 Ways to Avoid Burnout.” 99U. https://99u.adobe.com/articles/24201/11-ways-to-avoid-burnout