Long gone is the “9 to 5” work day. A lot of us have abandoned the goal of “work-life balance.” And instead are focused on a personal sense of general wellness, and less on striking some sort of perfect equilibrium typically defined by someone other than ourselves. Some people see this as a problem. Personally, I don’t.
I think – largely because of advancements in technology – we are better educated, have more access to better information and more access to one another. Generally, we are more powerful than we’ve ever been before. And if I’ve got the power I’m going to use it. If you handed me the keys to a Lamborghini, I’d head straight for the highway to see what it can do. I believe most people would.
But the thrill ride loses its thrill after a while. And eventually full blown burnout sets in.
In the case of the Lamborghini, you can just walk away from the car. No penalties, no problem. You just hop back into your comfy, reliable sedan or Suburban, and you’re on your way.
Burning out of a fast-paced, high-intensity job isn’t so easy. Walking away could and likely would mean inevitable penalties, and plenty of problems.
So the goal is… don’t burn out. This isn’t a new concept. You can find all kinds of theories and personal accounts on how to conquer burnout for good. Some will tell you to change your mindset – to think of work as a game, and have more fun with it. And we like this idea, but this isn’t something all of us can do NOW. Others will tell you it may be time for a change. And the harsh reality is… that’s not an option for everyone.
Here are a few things that anyone can do right now and regularly to help themselves avoid the fall out…..
Top 6 Ways to Avoid Burnout:
- Coming down from a caffeine high can be a dark experience. If you’re using caffeine as a way to keep your energy up, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Everyone has their caffeine limits, and once you’ve reached yours you can become more easily distracted, jittery, and physically uncomfortable. Your mood can rise and fall faster than a carnival pirate ship. And all of the sudden you hate your stupid computer, your phone, your job and all of your colleagues. Do yourself and your colleagues a favor… watch your caffeine intake. If you need something to sip on throughout the day, good old-fashioned H20 can help you fight fatigue, balance your mood, and even process information.
- You’ve been pulling long hours for the last few days. By noon on Thursday, you’re noticing a little less pep in your step. You’re still working in the respect that you’re typing and talking and getting your job done. But over time, despite all of your efforts, your mind naturally begins to become idle. Your thoughts and ideas becomes strained. And your overall productivity plummets. Which of course aggravates you, and just like that you’re on the fast track to burnout. Instead of going totally postal, just get up and move. Even just a few minutes of movement can help you release stress, and replace it with energy.
- Try getting outside. Take your next call from your cell and get some fresh air. Ask your next meeting if they feel like walking and talking. Even a simple change of scenery can give your energy and endorphins a boost. Move your meeting to a local coffee shop (but stick to the herbal tea), or walk to a nearby park.
- Feed your mind. If you’re regularly skipping meals, you’re starving your mind. It’s pretty simple logic, really. Even if you’re getting in a few bites at your desk between emails, that’s not great. Step away from your desk, and eat something of nutritional value. Studies upon studies upon studies have shown that doing this can actually increase your productivity.
- Stop! It’s not a dirty word. Your body and mind are pretty good at telling you when they’ve had enough. You need to listen. In fact, one of the best things you can do to avoid burnout is to get enough sleep. We all know 8 hours is ideal… but not always realistic. But do yourself a favor and try for at least 6. Here’s why…
- It doesn’t need to be luxurious. It doesn’t need to mean 10 days out of the office… but take the damn vacation! Every year Americans are wasting more and more of their vacation time. Last year alone, it was reported that 658 million vacation days went unused. So in other words, while people could have been reducing their stress levels, improving their physical and mental health, and returning to work stronger… they opted to just keep on keepin on. And they keep on burning out.