How to Avoid Burnout at Work

At one point or another, we’ve all felt burned out. Burnout has a negative effect on just about everything in your life — including your performance, attitude, and motivation. If you don’t understand the cause of your burnout and make a change, burnout can have major risks.

Burnout at work is a real problem. And during quarantine, we’re all more at risk of getting burned out. Take action to learn about what drives burnout and how you can reverse yours.

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Why Burnout At Work Happens

Burnout at work can happen for a few different reasons. When you understand why you’re feeling burned out, it’s easier to reverse the effect and get back to feeling and performing your best.

Causes of Burnout

You might experience burnout if your workplace is chaotic or dysfunctional. It can be exhausting to function in a fast-paced, high-stress environment day after day, especially if you’re not able to control your schedule or other aspects of your work. And if you struggle to communicate well with your coworkers or boss, things can get even worse.

Work-life imbalance is another potential cause of burnout. Too much work and not enough play can often lead to burning out. Lack of social support also plays a role. And working in a helping profession (such as nursing, social work, or education) or having difficulty with boundaries can all contribute to burnout as well.

Short Term Impact of Burnout

If you’re experiencing burnout, you might not feel interested in your work or any work-related activities. You can’t muster up any enthusiasm for projects that once got you excited, and you’re having trouble focusing at work — with your performance suffering as a result.

Burnout can cause you to feel tired, drained, and low-energy. You might even experience physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches. These are all signs that you’re getting burned out.

Long Term Impact of Burnout

The longer you experience burnout, the worse things will get. One survey showed that 76% of employees have experienced some form of burnout. Those employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day, 23% more likely to visit the emergency room, and 2.6x more likely to look for a new job.

If you’re feeling burned out, don’t just sit back and wait for things to get better. Take action to fix your burnout now. If you don’t, your burnout could potentially derail your entire career.

How to Prevent Burnout

You can avoid burnout by following these simple steps.

Define the Root Cause(s)

If you’re feeling burned out and want to fix your burnout once and for all, you need to figure out the root cause. Is your burnout caused by a chaotic workplace? Work-life imbalance? Both? Neither? It’s impossible to effectively reverse your burnout unless you find and address the root cause — so this should always be your first step.

Learn How to Ask For Help

Burnout can often come from taking on too much. By learning how to delegate, you won’t feel as much pressure to get everything done. If you have trouble asking for help, start small, finding a trusted coworker or friend to take some work off of your plate. This is a smart method of making your to-do list more manageable so you won’t get burned out.

Set Realistic Expectations For Your Workload

Setting realistic expectations for your workload is one of the best ways to reduce or prevent burnout. Start by learning good time management skills. Make a log of how you spend your time at work so you can see exactly where your hours are going (a few five-minute Facebook breaks can really add up!). This will help you figure out how much you can realistically accomplish each day, and any schedule changes you need to make to get the work done.

Setting realistic deadlines is also helpful. When you have a new project to work on, estimate a due date by thinking about similar projects you’ve completed in the past and how long they took. You’ll also want to factor in time for any other projects you’re working on simultaneously. By setting realistic deadlines, you won’t have to push yourself too hard trying to finish the work in time.

Finally, learn how to communicate with your boss when their expectations and/or your workload are unrealistic. Approach your boss as soon as possible and respectfully lay out your concerns. Suggest an alternate option: “I’m not sure I can give this project the time it deserves. If you need it by Friday, maybe Brad can help me get it done?” Chances are, your boss will appreciate your honesty and your commitment to getting the work done well.

Learning how to set realistic expectations and deadlines will help you feel less stressed, preventing burnout overall.

Be Proactive and Make A Change

You can’t outrun burnout — so things won’t get better unless you make a change. Be proactive, making ongoing lifestyle changes to support your physical and mental health and avoid burnout. These might include working out, doing mindfulness exercises, or anything else that’s important to you as you strive to avoid burnout at work.

Investing in yourself can also help prevent burnout as you boost your confidence. My Goals Quickstart Masterclass shows you how to set and achieve any goal. Learning how to effectively set goals will help you succeed in the workplace and beyond. Register for the masterclass today!

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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