Avoiding Burnout

Kirk Loftin

Burnout isn’t just a great Green Day song, it’s increasingly a real problem in the professional world. While American workers’ productivity climbs, so does the prevalence of burnout. More than just being tired, burnout is a condition of feeling emptied, exhausted beyond function. It of course affects our professional lives, but also bleeds into our personal lives. Energy and motivation vanish, and everything feels worse than it should. The easiest way to handle burnout is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

By planning ahead, you can avoid the most likely causes of burnout. Manage your time, since cramming the calendar with too many things without allowing yourself room to breathe is a recipe for disaster. Don’t overextend yourself or overbook jobs, and be sure create allotted times for each task that needs doing. Make sure you’re communicating effectively with those around you. Don’t tell the boss “no problem” about finishing the project by Friday if you need until next Wednesday. Know your own limits and try to work within them, so you don’t stretch yourself too thin.

Take care of yourself, both body and mind. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Make sure you’re eating fairly healthy (and don’t skip meals because you’re ‘too busy’). Make sure you’re staying hydrated. Make sure you are taking breaks when you need to. Do some cardio to stay in shape. Get up and take a quick break from staring at your computer. Don’t overdo it on caffeine (or booze on the weekends). Also, keep things organized. As we’ve previously discussed, tidiness lowers stress, and makes things easier for yourself.

The above preventative techniques can also be used to try and alleviate burnout that’s already taken over. If you’re feeling burnout, the biggest thing to remember is to take a short break to breathe. Keep a breathing gif on your phone, in case you start getting overloaded and need that moment to re-center. Don’t take work home, let your relaxation time be actual relaxation time, so you can re-charge. Stay aware of burnout, and practice avoiding it. Maybe then you won’t feel like apathy has rained on you, making you feel like a soggy dream, so close to drowning but you don’t mind.

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