Having an excellent work ethic is crucial for long-term success; but so also is learning how to prevent burnout. Sadly, very few pay attention to this.
With research reporting high rates of workplace burnout, it is evident that most people believe that they need to work very hard to succeed.
However, while that is correct, you also need to know when you are biting more than you can chew and need to get some rest.
A person who is all work and no play is headed to becoming a “dull boy,” burned out on the job. [Tweet that]
Such a person may end up becoming physically and mentally stressed and overwhelmed with pressure so that their productivity levels plummet and they cannot seem to get anything right.
Whether you are an employee or employer, an entrepreneur or a career person, understanding how to achieve work-life balance is key to your success. In light of this, here are some practical tips on how to effectively manage your job responsibilities to avoid burnout, maintain productivity, and prosper.
Tips To Prevent Burnout At Work
1. Define your job
Understanding where your job responsibilities start and stop is a criterion for avoiding burnout.
Many people get hired for a job, only to get in and see that they are taking on more responsibilities than they signed up for.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important you speak out as soon as possible to avoid being overwhelmed with tasks that do nothing but fill your time and consume your energy without taking you closer to your goals.
By knowing what your primary duties are, you can control your workload. You can schedule, focus and dispense your energy on things that matter. And even when you carry out extra tasks, it will be at your convenience, not to the detriment of your job.
2. Prioritize properly
If you have not gotten the memo yet, you are not made from steel. You are a living, breathing human who needs adequate rest to refuel and re-energize.
Prioritizing helps you stay productive and not just busy. It helps you identify those tasks you need to complete now and those you can keep for later.
This will enable you work effectively and efficiently, achieving set goals quickly.
One effective tool you can use to prioritize is the Eisenhower matrix, which breaks down tasks into important and urgent.
According to the tool:
- Tasks that are important and urgent should be done.
- Tasks that are important but not urgent should be scheduled.
- Tasks that are not important but urgent should be delegated.
- Tasks that are not important and not urgent should be deleted.
3. Understand yourself
Understanding yourself is another criterion for managing your workload effectively. Rather than attempting to copy the patterns of your colleagues, discover what works for you.
This may require answering questions like: How long can you work without taking a break? What time of the day are you most productive? What boosts your productivity?
Some people can work for hours at a stretch, while others cannot. Some work better when they are fresh from sleep, while others are more productive after a serious workout.
Find out what works for you and use that knowledge to your advantage.
4. Break down your tasks
Few things are as anti-productive and stress-inducing as trying to tackle an ambiguous task as it is.
Hence, it is necessary to break down large tasks into smaller SMART bits.
Doing this will make such tasks appear attainable and measurable. It will motivate you to work, ultimately increasing your productivity and reducing stress.
5. Do not procrastinate
Many people are victims of the statement: “I will do it later.”
If you always pile up your work, you are heading for burnout.
By putting off today’s work till tomorrow you bear double burdens. This increases your stress level and negatively affects your productivity.
For instance, if you are to work eight hours per day, putting off today’s work till tomorrow means you need to work 16 hours. If you pile up a week’s work, how many hours will you need to work to catch up?
To avoid such stress, it is crucial to do things at the proper time.
6. Learn to take intermittent breaks
Taking a break in the middle of a task is effective for boosting productivity and relieving stress.
Experts advise taking at least a five-minute break to refuel and rest after about 30 minutes of work.
During these breaks, you should do something fun; something you love to do. This could be listening to a song, taking a walk, or calling a friend.
Although short, these breaks are good for relieving accumulated stress and helping your brain and body to relax.
7. Learn to say NO
If you find it hard saying no to people’s requests, you might be heading for burnout. While trying to please everyone, you may end up running yourself thin.
This is not to say that you must always refuse to help others even when you clearly can; the idea is to motivate you to be honest about your limits. Rather than promising to help someone out when you know it will not be convenient, be open and honestly explain to the other person your reasons for not helping out.
8. Perform tasks that align with your energy levels
Avoiding workplace stress requires being conscious of your energy levels before taking on a task. A failure to do this may not only stress you out, but also cause you to struggle through the task.
As such, if you realize that you are bursting with energy, you can decide to tackle difficult jobs. However, if you are feeling tired and a bit stressed, you may want to opt for easy tasks or take a short break to resume later.
Although it is not a medical diagnosis, job burnout has been likened to a mental health problem because of its symptoms. Unlike stress that can be solved by adequate rest, a person that is burnt out may require more extensive help.
Luckily, the syndrome does not jump on people as there are warning signs when a person is headed for burnout. One of these signs is continual workplace stress.
By managing your workload effectively with the tips covered in this article, work will feel less like a burden. You will have the time, energy and presence of mind to enjoy the good things of life with friends and loved ones.