June 20, 2013

10 Best Ways to Avoid Burnout at Work

1. Regular workouts:
I usually start my day with a run or lifting weights. It doesn’t have to be a long workout and the mode doesn’t matter, but I find doing something active each morning clears my mind and provides a fresh dose of endorphins that puts me in the right physical state for the rest of the day.

2. Evening walk:
This has been a critical element, since I noticed when I got home most days I couldn’t turn off and out of habit would head for my computer. I didn’t have closure to my day, so I simply extended it. To help with this, I started going for walks each evening before heading home after work. Not long, just enough to digest the day and clear my mind. And it works.

3. Reading fiction:
I had not been a fan of fiction and when I read books they were usually business related. But now I seeks a break, with fantasy, science fiction, and other books that transport myself away.

4. One-day respite:
Recently I felt I could be slipping close to burnout again, so I now takes one day a week off from work and its electronic tether, e-mail. It’s tough, and I hold off on running errands during the week and save it for that day. I almost force myself to be off work that day so I don’t have the potential to screw it up. The break is usually a Saturday or Sunday; I tend to rotate.

5. Intellectual hobbies:
a friend of mine recently bought an espresso machine, in part because she likes coffee but also because it was something she could engross herself in as a hobby – stimulate her mind, outside of work, but more intellectually than escapist fiction. She has been learning to roast beans on a little roaster on her deck and seeking to prepare the perfect latte. It also fits her schedule – she dabbles in the hobby as he prepares her brew which I think will help her to change her focus on work.

6. Small wins:
Since so much of burnout is mental, I try to acknowledge the small wins I am having every day. I break big challenges into small tasks that I can complete and feel good about.

7. Healthy diet:
When you’re pushing hard at work you need to eat well, agree? I try my best to avoid junk food and a steady regimen of pizzas.

8. Limiting decisions:
I was talking to one of my colleagues the other day. He mentioned that he was impressed by U.S. President Barack Obama’s revelation that he wears only blue and grey suits so there’s one less decision to be made each day. He believes decision fatigue can drain you, so he similarly tries to avoid decisions by building habits, such as the apple before his workout and the nutrition bar afterwards – no need to come up with a new choice every day.

9. Date night:
My wife is busy, but we try our best to take one night a week for each other.
 10. Yearly unplugs:
Here, I urges you to take time, at least once a year, where you are away from work for more than a single day. If I go for more that a year without an unplug I feel myself close to burnout.

In short, from personal experience, I don’t want to go there again. Cheers!