It’s safe to say in many ways that we are going through a burnout epidemic in society. Close to a quarter of employees being surveyed suggest that they are always or very often feeling burnt out. Almost forty five percent of employees feel burned out partially.
That’s around two thirds of the workforce!
There are so many factors that contribute to this, such as workload, bad work environment, not getting along with your managers, you name it. These are things that have personally made me burnt out and try different strategies to manage the stress that lead to consistent burn out. After my early career experiences, I’ve noticed there are things that work and things that don’t.
Things that don’t work
Taking mental health days
A lot of people like to take mental health days, which are either fake sick days, using a random vacation day, or a fake work from home day. This doesn’t work because it’s essentially a temporary escape. You’re running away from the real issue of being unable to enjoy or at least peacefully get through an average day at work.
Engaging in workplace politics and gossip
The best leaders I’ve ever worked for never engaged in politics and gossip and always assumed that people had the best intentions even if that was not the reality. They also focused on their own work instead of looking at what other teams were doing. Sure, there are people who last a long time at work and move up the ranks and gossip and play politics, but I can also guarantee that they don’t really enjoy their work to the fullest.
Constantly thinking about raises, promotions, or bonuses
On paper this seems like it would work. You’d think someone would be motivated in the long run, but this simply isn’t true. People who are vocal about raises, promotions, or bonuses oftentimes stay in that mindset and constantly jump to what they assume is the next big thing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for you if you’re gunning for those things, but what about your backup plan if you don’t get it?
Partying hard after work and on weekends
This is something I made the mistake of doing when I was younger. I had some rough days so I would go to happy hours during the week or drink beers at home with my room mates. What ended up happening was I would waste my time at night and then go to work hungover and unrested the next day.
Things that work
I still remember the last few months in my accounting career where I hated going to work every day. At the time I believed that quitting your job before you have another one lined up was viewed as short term career suicide, which I now realize is completely untrue. This forced me to stay at a job that initially made me feel miserable, so I bought a year of Headspace and meditated in my car for at least 10 minutes a day every day before I went to work. I loved it so much I started meditating in addition to the daily exercises. This changed my outlook on work for those next few months. Through meditation, I quickly acknowledged that my time at this job was limited and I should spend the remainder enjoying the good parts. Things quickly became way more tolerable.
Slowing down and working more relaxed
Slowing down and being more relaxed is one of the best things you can do for your productivity and longevity at work. There are a lot of people who glorify an intense pace at work but end up being extremely frazzled and create frustration for themselves and others. If you find yourself caught up in this and feeling stressed, try slowing things down. You’d be surprised how easily things piece together.
Focus on the days, and nothing longer
Think about the process of running. You’re doing nothing but breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. You do this repetitively and consistently with focus and soon enough you’ll have ran a couple miles without even realizing. The same goes for showing up to work. Just show up to work everyday with the intention to focus on the basics. Some days can be bad, but just reset your intention every day. Soon enough you’ll have moved upwards on your journey without even realizing.
These steps are what I call the art of staying in momentum. We are the drivers of our own success and it starts with adjusting our mindset and approach.