Working long hours without a break is, unfortunately, becoming more and more of a symbol of status these days, even more so than the money it seems. You only have to read about Elon Musk sleeping under his desk or the extreme work culture at companies like Amazon to understand that instead of automating jobs and giving us more leisure time, technology is only succeeding in making us work longer and harder.
Throw in the ultra availability aspect of tools like Slack and Skype and it’s not hard to see why many people are suffering from burnout in their jobs. What can start as a simple desire to prove your value and being good at your job can end up in an unhealthy work-life balance (or lack thereof).
With all that said, let’s take a moment to define precisely what burnout is and how we can go about avoiding it.
According to the great scholar Google, burnout can be defined as:
“Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.”
The symptoms of burnout can include chronic fatigue, anxiety, reduction in productivity, concentration lapses, irritability, and disillusionment. Plus lots of others.
When you’re burnt out, you’re no use to anyone, especially your employer and it can have significant consequences for your overall health and well being. If you believe that you are burnt out then here are some steps you can take to get back to being your old self:
How to Beat the Burnout
Turn Off the Tech
It’s not blowing anyone’s mind to suggest that the tech which allows us to collaborate with our colleagues all around the world could potentially be having a negative impact on our health. It’s great to be able to have meetings anytime, anywhere with a dispersed remote team, but the flip side is you checking Slack at 10 pm when you should be watching a movie with your partner.
If you lead a team, or even if you’re a member of a group or even a freelancer, find ways to delegate the things which you’re not good at, or are robbing your life of value and your day of productivity.
You shouldn’t need to spend 12 hours in the office to complete your daily tasks, so there’s a good chance you’re wasting time and energy doing things that someone else could or should be doing.
Take Your Mental Health Seriously
Thankfully we’re making great strides to legitimize mental health issues, especially in the workplace, and many employers are doing a lot of good stuff to help people feel comfortable in communicating their problems.
However, there is still a notion that persists, in which mental health issues such as burnout as not treated as genuine issues, and it is sometimes assumed that when you simply get yourself together, these issues will go away. You know yourself when you’re not firing on all cylinders, and it’s important to take those instincts seriously.
Focus on Your Output, Not on Your Hours
Similar to the point about delegation, resist the urge to spend excessive hours at the office to prove your worth. Coming in early and staying late is all well and good if you’re being productive the whole time, but in all likelihood, you’re not going to be.
So try to focus instead on what you’re actually producing and the tasks you’re completing. Not only will this help to shorten your time in the office, but also increase your sense of accomplishment.