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How to Prevent Burnout at Work Featured

Prevent burnout at work by changing environments Prevent burnout at work by changing environments

Additional Info

  • Author: Brian Ross
  • Press: Miami Business Magazine
  • Date: Friday, 23 March 2018

Everyone knows that in order to build a career one must put in the hard work. Often times, hard work looks like being the last one out of the office and then going home to answer more emails. There is something to be said for putting in the hours and progressing in your career. Trouble comes when you have put in the hours, but you are so burnt out that you either no longer want to be there, or you just do not have the capacity to keep going at the same rate and your performance suffers.


How does one prevent such burnout from occuring? First we must identify some key contributors to burnout and then examine ways to prevent these from taking over.


One contributing factor is the work load itself. When working at excelling, people have a tendency to say yes to all projects coming their way. This is not a problem until you simply do not have enough hours in the day to complete all of your work. You start staying late, then you take your work home, then even that is not enough time and you begin slowly letting things slide. At this point you have set a precedent for the amount of work you are willing to work on and coworkers, managers, customers, and others continue piling on the same amount.


In a new position or a new company, it is important to show that you are dedicated and willing to work hard. Often this is done by taking on some of the projects that may be extra to your workload, or things that normally you would not take on. This is great and important, but it is crucial to say not at times. This does not mean saying no to everything coming your way, but rather prioritizing and examining benefits of taking this project on versus letting someone else take it. In other words: pick your battles.


A second contributing factor is technology. Thanks to the little computers in our pockets, work can haunt you from the second you wake up to the second you drift off to sleep (where you are likely dreaming about that meeting next week). It starts with linking your work email to your phone to check the important work emails that you need to answer immediately. Slowly it progresses to constant email notifications and responding to work emails at the dinner table. There appears to be no escape.


As with the previous dilemma of taking on too many things, this is another thing you must pull the plug on (perhaps not only figuratively but also literally). It is perfectly understandable that you may be working on a big project requiring immediate response and you need to check your email. Rather than connecting your email to your phone, why  not simply log in the one time you need it? Again, setting a precedent that you will always respond to emails will only keep them coming. No one is going to think that your Friday night may need a break from emails, if you keep responding to emails on Friday night.


A third contributing factor is environment. Spending 9 (or more) hours per day in the same place, with the same people, can become exhausting. There is nothing new to discuss, nothing new to see, and there is just a general lack of excitement for being in that environment. There is not other place that we spend so many consecutive waking hours in a week.


A great way to combat this stagnation and burnout that can occur from your environment is by changing it. Ideally it would be great to take a vacation, even if it’s a staycation, to reset all of the above factors. However, if that is not a possibility, talk to your boss about switching desks, working from a coffee shop, or working from home one day a week. You will be surprised at what a change of environment can do for you.


We have only grazed the surface of what can cause burnout. You will be less happy, less productive, and less innovative if you are burnt out. It is important to step back regularly and examine what things are working and what things need to be adjusted in relation to your work habits. With that being said, it’s time for us to unplug for the day.


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