10 Tips for Avoiding Burnout in the Office

Editors Note: This guest post was contributed by James who works at an online store specializing in ink cartridges. More of his work is available at www.cartridgesave.co.uk.

Everyone experiences various levels of fatigue when holding a job and sustaining personal activities that compete for time and energy. When normal levels of physical tiredness progress into mental and emotional fatigue that has no remedy, the individual is headed for burnout. Five day work weeks were designed to contain work activities and grant two full days of rest from the workplace. Research has proved that six days of work reduce productivity over time because the human mind and body require rest and a wide variety of activities. Prevent the rapid slide into burnout by following these guidelines.

1. Set specific work hours

Employees and self-employed business owners must take a stand concerning the number of work hours that are acceptable. Daily start and end times must be observed to keep life activities from bleeding together. Just as work tasks should not bleed into personal time, few interruptions to work hours should be made for personal responsibilities. When phone calls and appointments are conducted during specified work hours, the lines between home and work become blurred. Weariness will set in for the person who needs mental focus to live in the present at the workplace and at home.

2. Say no to extraneous activities

Before agreeing to accept additional work, pause and evaluate the current workload. One simple agreement to do one more task at work can cost many hours of additional work. Assisting another person to complete the work may be the best option.

3. Evaluate current workload and eliminate all unnecessary tasks

Along with learning to say “no,” write down everything that clutters your current schedule and eliminate anything that is not in line with personal and business goals. Every activity requires travel time and resources and competes with more important responsibilities. If you cannot eliminate five items from your own calendar, consider hiring some help.

4. Outsource and delegate

Certain responsibilities at home can be hired out to capable people to reduce the workload so that evenings are not crammed with chores. In the workplace, find five tasks that can be handed to someone with less experience and make arrangements to train that person. Place some checks and balances on your own calendar to ensure those delegated tasks are being completed.

5. Timeout from technology

No one is so important that they must be in contact with everyone at all times. Learn to enjoy silence in the evenings. Spend time in good conversation with someone face to face and learn to play games with children again. Time away from the noise of the outside world can rejuvenate the mind and spirit faster than any vacation. Start a new hobby that involves problem solving and creativity to get your mind moving in different directions. Find some great authors and read everything they have written.

6. Instill a twenty-minute timeout

Upon arrival at home, spend twenty full minutes unwinding without looking at the mail, TV, or computer. Take a quiet walk around the block and just listen for the sights and sounds you missed on the way to work this morning. Go outside or stand by a window and just see what you can see. This barrier between work and home with do wonders for separating the two worlds and reassure your heart that the world is still round and issues can wait until tomorrow.

7. Get moving to break up the monotony

For those in sedentary jobs, the greatest danger is to sit for the entire day. Physical health issues can quickly lead to emotional instability that can progress into burnout. Maybe the gym is not the best idea for you, but anyone can take a walk during lunch. If walking outside is not possible, find a place where you can walk the halls. Another option is to purchase a treadmill for your home. Physical activity is a great remedy for humdrum routines. Being somewhat physically tired will also improve sleep quality and avert episodes of burnout.

8. Determine what motivates you or drains your energy

Dealing with constant problems in the workplace gives some workers an adrenaline rush while making other people physically ill. Whatever the situation within your workplace and home, define what tasks and responsibilities energize you and what drains all of your energy. If possible find another way to get the draining tasks completed. Feeling overwhelmed by dreaded tasks can result in physical illness and emotional instability.

9. Schedule one day each week that is off-limits to work

When scheduling the upcoming week, do a few chores each evening after work and clear the weekend agenda. Confine work hours to five days and refuse to budge on that decision. Contain home responsibilities to evenings and save the weekends for fun activities and rest. Strive to spend an entire day without working or responding to the demands from anyone besides those most important to you.

10. Schedule time away from home and work every quarter

Actively control the time you spend recharging. One weekend per quarter must be set aside to rest and reset the agenda of life for the next ninety days. During this time away, your mind will identify the activities that can be eliminated and exchanged for more important tasks. When dealing with burnout symptoms at any stage, the individual must take decisive action to change the reality. Ignoring the earliest symptoms will lead to health problems and poor decisions. Ask for the help you need to avoid falling into depression. Stay within your own tolerance level of tiredness and watch for the symptoms that are specific to your own mind and body. Take action early! This guest post was contributed by James who works at an online store specializing in ink cartridges. More of his work is available at www.cartridgesave.co.uk.

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