HR & Management

5 ways to avoid the work burnout

6 min read

29 September 2015

Being stressed at work is often inevitable, and while it may not be a particularly comfortable situation in which to work, short-term projects can thrive from stress. Here are five ways to avoid the work burnout.

On the other hand, placing too much stress on yourself will lead to burning out and ultimately having poor performance. 

In 2013, more than one-third of working Americans experienced chronic work stress, revealed by a survey from APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, and of that only 36 per cent said their organizations provided sufficient resources to help them manage that stress.

1. Get better at managing your time 

Staying behind late in the office is not always as productive as you image, and while you may feel better for completing extra hours, they could be pointless in terms of creativity and productivity. 

Overworking can lead to illness and days off work, and what good is that really? Business coach Rasheed Ogunlaru recommends setting alarms as a reminder of when to leave the office and plan in personal time first.

“It’s crucial to book in these important dates before you plan in hectic work schedules, such as time for your family, the holiday you deserve, fun as well as time for relaxation; remember there are only limited hours,” he explains.

2. Prioritise your workload by urgency 

We all dread the mounts of work that awaits us after the weekend or holiday away. Even the thought of 80 unread emails can trigger the alarm bells and cause us to avoid any form of work at all. 

In a recent guide on how to de-stress Neil Shah, founder of the Stress Management Society, believes they key to managing such heavy or stressful workloads are by prioritising them in order of urgency and importance. For example:

  • Do now: these are both urgent and important
  • Plan to do: these are important but not urgent
  • Reject diplomatically: these might be urgent but are not important
  • Resist and cease: these are both non-urgent and non-important

Another skill we often fail to take advantage of is delegation. The ability to pass on work is not only great by reducing the workload, but it also gives your colleagues the chance to excel and even have a fresh perspective on the task. 

3. Consciously get to know yourself 

Through self-knowledge you will be able to achieve the ideal work-life balance. Spanish novelist, Miguel Cervantes, once wrote: “Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult challenge in life.” 

With a conscious intention to connect mind, body and spirit, health expert Joan Moran says in doing so can unlock the unlimited potential for personal and professional success: “This connection is the key to self-reflection and self-reflection can bring you to balance and bliss. 

“You use the same intellectual, social and emotions skills at work as you do at home. You should feel as relaxed and at ease at work as you do at home if that integration, that holistic approach to living a balanced life is occurring.”

Continue reading more tips on page two…

4. Work around your energy levels 

A smart method to be the very best you can be, is to consider your strengths and when you can best utilise them during the day. 

Chris Johnson, founder of On Target Living, says you should work in an environment where you’re most challenging tasks are tackled when you have the greatest energy.  

“That’s when people get stressed because they are trying to do something difficult when they really don’t have a lot of battery left,” he explains. “Give yourself ample time too, whether it comes to preparing or being creative.”

Find out about more ways stress is affecting how you work:

5. Take a work break 

We’re not designed to go full steam ahead all the time, so scheduling in down time to take breaks and rejuvenate will help you steer clear of a burnout. Jonathan Alpert, executive coach, advise a lot of his executives to carve out time for themselves in the midst of their busy days.  

“Even if it is just 15 minutes, it’s an opportunity to rest the brain and not be ‘on’,” says Alpert. “It might be as simple as taking a brief nap or relaxing, or something more energising such as a walk or stretching.”

By taking breaks, delegating your workload and booking in time to ‘switch off’, both in and out of work, will ensure that you are on right path to avoiding a burn out. 

By controlling the pressures of work, not only will you feel motivated and positive, but notice an improvement to your productivity and creativity.

Charlotte Corner is a consultant for Search Laboratory.