Thursday, December 02, 2010

How to Avoid a Work Burnout

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How many times didn't you feel like "Monday again", or "I haven't done anything today", "I'm swamped in work", "I feel so tired after my vacation", "I have no more energy for anything"?

Burnout at work is too often a common topic amongst all of us. There is a lot of literature around work overload, burnout, energy management, and all these buzz words which in essence tell you that you have been working for too much, and too long, and too intense.

Many of the authors I've been reading have various recipes to help us overcome the tough periods in our work or life, and get back to a normal and bearable status. While there is no common or single solution, the five points listed in the below video will definitely help to start from one point, and - moving gradually - you can get back in shape.

From this perspective, I have also liked a lot a book I'm currently reading: The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance, which can also help avoid work burnout.

It goes back to the basics of how we should manage ourselves, not only time, but our lives. It's like a return to what we were taught then we forgot in the past, it's like a return to a paradise of well-being that we all fear - what if we will actually feel good about ourselves, about the life we live, and about our achievements?

The book reviews the four core areas that are at the heart of great performance: sustainability (physical needs), security (emotion), self-expression (mental) and significance (spiritual). It is essential to stop thinking that we are computers, running in multi-tasking at high speed for the whole day long (sometimes even night) - we should pulse rhytmically between expending and recovering the energy across each of the four needs.

I also appreciated that there are some downloadable tools that can help you evaluate your current status, and identify ways how to address the four core areas to enable yourself to provide maximum energy at work, and in your personal life.

But how do you start to make the change?

It becomes a matter of personal choice how you feel - and it only takes some effort and discipline in the beginning. Of course - if you don't have enough energy to do your stuff now, how would you make it to add more into your shorter and shorter days?

I have started with the simplest and easiest thing: going to sleep a little bit earlier, giving up on my cool Windows 7 phone, and getting more rest. Energy is already at a better level. And it can only get better, as I can now focus more on the relevant stuff, and getting done the most important points on my long to-do list.

Next point for me will be to add more outdoor exercise - be it only walking to/from work.

And I am also cutting on interruptions - ignoring emails (already cleared all notifications of new email), answering to IM chat requests only if they are short, otherwise using the phone for speed, using the calendar to block time for important items and making myself unavailable if I don't want to be disturbed.

I recommend you to pursue some of these small steps in improving your worklife balance - and adding one point that always worked for me: keep a smile on your face, no matter how complicated it gets, or how tough - tomorrow can only be worse :)















 

http://www.watchmojo.com/tv/5min/BNET/259836881/