How to avoid burnout and stay productive in 2022
Multitasking, proactivity, and curiosity — generally, these are the qualities of a successful employee. How can you avoid burning out and stay productive and on track in your pursuit of self-improvement? Business analyst Yuliya Kryvuseva has some tips for you.
— There are numerous articles about how to be a successful professional. The list of recommendations might differ, but the most common ones are being proactive, being curious, sharpening hard and soft skills, and going the extra mile. Today, we operate in a dynamic environment with busy schedules, diverse clients, tight budgets, and increasing scale. Work overload, overtime, and work-related stress can easily become the norm. As a result, we may take on more than we can handle. Trying to maintain this pace means that we not only risk losing our enthusiasm, but, ultimately, we risk burning out. A colleague who suffered from burnout shared her experience and advice on how to handle it with Yuliya, who shares it with you below.
What caused burnout in this case?
— Switching between tasks and intensive communication were the main factors that contributed to burnout in this case. Switching between numerous tasks consumed a lot of time, and each switch required considerableeffort to become familiar with the new task. The requirement for daily communication added to the burden because it used a lot of energy and resources. Since she loved her work, Yuliya’s colleague persevered, but she came to realize that her working days routinely lasted more than 12 hours, and this continued for several months with no end in sight. Conversations with management did not resolve the issue. In the end, she resigned.
How can you make changes to avoid burnout?
What can you learn from the experience of Yuliya’s colleague, and what can you do to avoid a similar fate?
Manage your work, and your time
- Plan, estimate, allocate. Daily, weekly, and monthly plans with a to-do list (or lists) will help you schedule your work and book the appropriate amounts of time in your calendar.
- Group. If you run several streams, group stream-related tasks and allocate a specific amount of time for their completion. This helps you reduce unnecessary switching between tasks and be more focused, increasing your efficiency.
- Prioritize. The Eisenhower Matrix helps set priorities for tasks that do not have external dependencies(those that require other people's involvement, for example).
The technique categorizes tasks based on urgency and importance.
Focus on your work
- Reserve meeting-free days in your calendar. Not only will this give you a rest from constant communications, it will also allow you to focus on tasks you need to complete.
- Use the 'Do not disturb' status in messengers to minimize potential distractions and improve your productivity.
- If possible, shorten your list of household chores and find time to relax. Remember that you can delegate or allow yourself to be lazy. There are many things that need to be done, but don’t have to be done right now.
- Use health gadgets that track your heart rate or energy levels. This can help you tune in and manage your personal energy resources around the clock.
Give yourself a break
- Do not beat yourself up if something is not done. If the work has been postponed several times already, it probably does not require immediate attention and perhaps can even be ignored.
- Do not force yourself to work if you are exhausted and need some rest. All of us are generally obliged to follow the rules, but sometimes, making an exception is the best course of action. For instance, if you are exhausted and feel the need for a nap, it may be better to take a short nap and then return to work afterward with renewed energy.
- Take time off from work. Even if you just take a break from work for a few hours, it will help you refreshyour mind, your creativity, and your problem-solving abilities. You can also try a workation, allocating part of the day for work and the remainder for rest. The change of scenery will give you an additional boost.
Don’t suffer in silence
- Communicate your worries and concerns to your management. It is important not only to be heard, but to have the opportunity to collaboratively find the most appropriate solution for your specific situation.
Take care of yourself
- Find a method for an emotional detox. This can be a hobby or any activity that helps you change your focus away from work. For instance, walking, visiting gardens, cycling, it can be anything that works for you.
Burnout is dangerous. It can have a negative influence on our mental and physical health, impacting all aspects of our life. There are various techniques that can help you avoid burnout, or to cope with it. It’s up to each of us to decide what will work best for us.