It’s not a big secret that nearly all working people get tired of performing the same tasks over and over again, five days a week, for years on end. Over time, career boredom, stress and burnout can occur.
Work Stress and Burnout are Very Real Problems
Burnout is a feeling of complete loss of interest in a job, or in even performing any work in general. According to the American Institute of Stress, nearly half of all workers in the USA experience some form of career burnout, costing businesses $300 billion annually in lost revenues. Those who have experienced career burnout often report feeling somewhat depressed or not wanting to go to work. Others just do the bare minimum while at work to stay under the radar. Either way, burnout sneaks up on even the best of employees and stems from a number of factors. These can include:
- A lack of rewarding job experiences or incentives on the job
- Poor management treatment and lack of respect
- Overwhelm from working too much or taking on too many tasks
- Professional and personal interests that change over time
- Lack of upward mobility in a career path
- Stress from work going unchecked for long periods of time
What to do About Career Burnout
If you are moving close to a career burnout, you need to do something to prevent it from happening. This can be anything you think of, except for quitting your job. You never want to quit your job, even if you have reached the burnout stage. There is no turning back after you quit your job so avoid this at all costs.
Here are 5 effective ways to stop career burnout in it’s tracks.
#1 Schedule a Vacation Immediately
The first thing you need to consider doing is filing for a week or two of vacation and take it as soon as humanly possible. Once the vacation request is granted, go home and do absolutely nothing. That’s right - this means turn off your computer, do not answer emails related to your job, and do not perform any household repairs. Clear your mind, sit in front of a pool, read a book and just enjoy life with your friends and family. You should also try to do something fun you have been putting off for the last couple of years. This will help you recharge your batteries.
#2 Create Lists at Work
When you return to work refreshed and more focused-- take the time to create two lists. The first list consists of the things you like to do at work and the other has the things you hate to do at work. Once these lists are complete, spend one or two weeks doing only the list that includes things you like to do at work. Let the other junk pile up for a little bit even if a superior asks about it. Tell them you are concentrating on higher-status work at the time and will get to those other items soon. If needed, for the protection of your job, ask your manager for a meeting in private to talk about some of the tasks you have that are not related to your job. These need to go.
#3 Compress Dreaded Tasks
There are always a few tasks that you hate doing, admit it! Sometimes, it’s about one particular aspect of the tasks that creates obstacles. To cope with this, you need to compress all of your hated tasks into one session. If you absolutely dislike answering emails, do it just once per day instead of throughout the day. If you truly do not like this task, you will make yourself miserable by answering emails throughout the day. If you do not like filing paperwork, do it all at once on a Thursday morning instead of a couple times per day.
#4 Hand Work to Others
If some of your tasks are truly too difficult to handle, or are bringing you down, speak with a superior about what can be handed off to another employee. Make sure you have one or two tasks ready to discuss with your superior. Let him or her know that by doing these tasks, it is making it more difficult to put all of your energy and strong work ethic into the more important work at the office. Don’t be a control freak -- let some things go to other employees who are eager to take on more work.
#5 Manage Your Time Better
The truth is, many people get into career burnout because they have trouble managing their time well. We all get into bad habits at work that prevent us from working up to our best standards. We all experience boredom and procrastination at times. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, find a system for better managing the work that you have in front of you, and stick to it. Use a calendar to schedule short periods of focused work time, and avoid distractions like social networking, coffee breaks, and your cell phone ringing all the time.
Hopefully, you will be able to identify the source of your career burnout in the sections above. Use these tips to get to the bottom of what’s dragging you down.
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