Does your life often feel unbalanced? Do you feel tired much of the time? Falling asleep on the sofa after work? Feeling like your work is consuming you? You may be experiencing job stress or job burnout.
Taking care of your family, climbing the corporate ladder, or working for that new house or car can make you feel like you should devote excessive hours to your job. Or, maybe some areas are short-staffed, with everyone working above and beyond their regular capacities. You could even get so used to this routine that you become addicted to the stress that comes with this imbalanced approach to life.
The good news is that there are many approaches you can take to help prevent burnout:
1. Make every effort to stick to the hours you’re required to work. One of the first clues we are gravitating toward over-work is noticing that we’re working more hours than necessary.
* For example, if you’re hired to work 40 hours weekly and you notice you’re pulling 44 or 45 hours, recognize that continuing to work at that level will eventually catch up with you.
* Working extra hours from time to time may benefit your career advancement or your bank account. However, the long-term effects of chronic overwork may make you inefficient or ineffective in the very job you’re seeking to excel in.
“Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.”
2. Utilize the tools you have at work to help you do your job more efficiently. Take the time to learn how to operate the timesaving “tools” found in your workplace.
- If there is a new computer program, take the training that is offered. If new equipment becomes available, be first in line to learn to use it well and effectively. A method that has always helped me is joining the implementation team. To teach or guide others, we must first learn well!!
- Perhaps you’re responsible for copying and putting together a multiple-page employee manual. You still don’t know how to use that fancy new copy machine that duplicates, collates and staples documents. In this case, spending the time necessary to learn to operate the copier will shorten many of your tasks, making them quicker and easier.
3. Delegate. If possible, assign some of your tasks to others whenever you can. One of the signs of burnout is the belief that no one can do a job as well as you can.
- Whether or not your belief about others is true, you don’t have to act on it. When you do, the result is that you do more and more of the work.
- More importantly, when you delegate, you allow others to grow and develop.
“Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much,
but because we’re taking on too little of what strengthens us.”
4. Take breaks. It’s important to divert your mind a few times daily from your work projects.
- Take a coffee break and chat with your coworkers about the television show you watched last night, an article you read recently, or a book you’re reading.
- Call your partner to plan an entertaining activity for later in the day or for the upcoming weekend.
- Whatever you do during your break, step out of your usual environment. If you sit and stare at your computer screen all day, go outside, or gaze out a window.
- If running around a lot is part of your job, take a relaxing break. Sit down somewhere or take a power nap if you can.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest taken between two deep breaths.”
5. Make it a habit to take all time off to which you’re entitled. Taking the time off that is rightfully yours will help you prevent sick days caused by job burnout.
- During those vacations and personal days, recharge your batteries by engaging in activities unrelated to your work.
- As often as possible, unplug from your work during this time.
6. Stay in touch with your feelings related to your work. Acknowledge your feelings; they’re all valid and worth evaluating. Your feelings can be your first clue that you’re heading toward job burnout.
“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.” – Andrew Bernstein
- Are you getting tired of working all the time? Are you excited and interested in your job? Or is it starting to feel humdrum or even like a big hassle?
- Are you getting cynical about the work or the coworkers you used to enjoy being around? Start to make changes by taking steps to resolve the challenges causing you to feel this way.
- Our work must provide a positive force in life rather than zap all our energy.
Having a healthy work-life balance is essential. Will it ever be perfect? Honestly, no. But we can make significant improvements by heeding our inner thoughts and actions.
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future,
but from wanting to control it.”
Try practicing the above strategies to avoid developing job burnout.
Discover the liberating beauty of living a vital, balanced life.