Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and WiFi have made work more mobile and flexible than ever. Some of us have the option of working from home or while we’re on the move, which can feel like a huge perk. But being constantly connected to your work has a major downside: burnout.
It’s so easy to stay connected that a lot of us have gotten into the habit of checking work emails or just getting “one more thing” done in our so-called downtime. It’s more difficult to disconnect and even to just stop thinking about work, which can lead to a terrible cycle of stress and burnout. Here are a few ideas for how to avoid the exhaustion, lack of motivation and frustration that can come with work burnout:
1. Disconnect. At first it might seem like the world will end if you don’t answer that email at 9 in the evening, but chances are it won’t. Whenever possible, avoid letting work seep into your evenings. Don’t make a habit of checking emails in the evening if you can help it; if you already have, try and cut back to only addressing things that are truly urgent. Even if your work is shift based,
2. Put Yourself First. Setting aside time to just relax can seem like a waste of valuable time. It’s important to remember that while taking a bath might not get anything “useful” done, it will help you unwind and be more mentally prepared for the next day. A clear head will help you be more productive when it’s time to focus. Getting a bit of exercise and cleaning up your diet can’t hurt, either. Just the knowledge that you are making yourself and your wellness a priority can make facing the next day easier.
3. Get Organized. Create a to-do list, then decide which items are really a priority. See if there are any tasks that can be delegated or shared, or even skipped altogether. Chances are that once you’re organized and honest with yourself about how urgent each item really is, your workload will seem more manageable. You’ll also be able to stop worrying about what you’re missing or forgetting by writing everything down. You might keep an ongoing list in your phone, crossing items off as you complete them.
4. Consider your Options. Maybe the problem isn’t how you handle your work, but your work itself. If you don’t enjoy your field or your work environment, you might start to feel trapped in a bad situation. In this case, it might be time to clean up your resume and check a few online job boards to see what’s out there. If you can’t picture yourself doing the same work for a different company, it might even be time to think about a career change. The days of starting a career after college and staying in the same field until you retire are long gone. Going back to college to start a new career is a brave choice to make for your own happiness.
Admitting that it’s time to change things might be the most difficult part of taking charge of your stress levels. Remember that having a good work ethic is not the same as letting work take over your life, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is better for you and your career.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.