Even if you love your job, it’s common to feel burnt out from time to time. Perhaps you just wrapped up a big project and are having trouble mustering motivation for the next one. It could be that your home life is taking up more of your energy than usual. Or maybe, you’re just bored.
Burnout – the mental and physical exhaustion you experience when the demands of your work consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available – has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. So you need to find ways to “put gas back in your tank.” Here are some ideas for how to do that:
- Take breaks during the workday. Take a walk or go for a run. Have lunch away from your desk. But take your breaks at the right time. When our energy is highest – often in the morning – you should focus on work and maximize your productivity. Tackle your toughest challenges at those times, then step away for a rest.
- Put away your digital devices. Place your smartphone in a basket or drawer when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or you might devise a rule for yourself about turning it off past 8 pm.
- Do something interesting. Instead of concentrating on limiting or avoiding work in your off-hours, do an activity you find interesting. Even if that activity is taxing, like a sport, it is better for you than simply relaxing.
- Take long weekends. The break does not need to be a two-week vacation, it could be as simple as a three, or four day weekend. While you’re away, though, don’t call the office, or check your email.
- Focus on meaning. If your job responsibilities preclude immediate time off try focusing on why the work matters to you. Connecting your current assignment to a larger personal goal will help you fight the temptation to slack off. However, this may provide only temporary relief.
Make sure it’s really burnout. If none of these strategies work, you could be dealing with something more serious. If you’re listless and fatigued but still feel effective on the whole, then it’s probably just burnout. However, if you feel as though you’re not making progress and that the work you do doesn’t seem to matter, it’s a different problem
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