Work Related Burnout? Here Are 12 Tips for Better Managing a Heavy Workload
Working is great. It structures your days, gives you a sense of accomplishment, and, of course, pays for rent, groceries, and entertainment. In contrast, overwork isn’t great. It leaves you stressed and far too exhausted to feel a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it usually leads to wasting money on unhealthy things such as the fifth takeout meal of the week.
The cure to overwork is a better work-life balance. That is, having the right amount of off-time to relax and rejuvenate so you can come back to work focused and ready to produce.
Unfortunately, curing overwork is easier said than done. However, it’s certainly worth a try. Here are 12 things to do when you’re feeling overworked.
Set up proper work boundaries
Just as strong fences make for good neighbors, clear boundaries make for great co-workers. If you don’t establish boundaries at work early on, it’s that much easier for others to push morework your way – even when you’re not at work!
A good example of a boundary is to let others know that once you leave the office, you’re not going to check messages until the next day. This allows you to truly unwind and relax in your free time. Take the same upfront attitude with vacations – don’t allow others to expect you’re going to answer emails when you’re sitting on a tropical beach for two weeks.
Don’t be afraid to talk with your manager
Although managers can be intimidating at times, don’t be afraid to communicate with your manager if you’re feeling overworked. If your workload is becoming unbearable and your hours are way too long, then have a chat with the boss.
The boss may be oblivious to that fact. Or the boss may not know how much the added stress is impacting your life. Either way, it’s important to inform him or her to make sure everyone’s on the
same page. From there, you can work together to develop a plan for reducing your workload.
Don’t fall into the trap of multitasking
Multitasking is a myth. Outside of listening to music while running or a podcast while cooking, multitasking doesn’t really work. In fact, most researchers use the term “task switching” to really
describe what’s going on. Your brain is constantly switching from one task to another.
That constant switching is a recipe for disaster because it breaks up your attention and focus.
Instead of trying to multitask, focus on monotasking. Put all your attention on one task, finish it, and then move on to another. This is bound to improve productivity.
Sprinkle in easy tasks throughout the day
Not all tasks are created equal. Some require an enormous amount of focus and attention.
Usually, these are best suited for the early morning hours when you’re at your sharpest. Other tasks, such as organizing invoices or doing data entry, don’t require a whole lot of mental energy.
Trying to go through one attention-heavy task after another is a surefire way to burn out quickly.
It’s like trying to run multiple marathons one after the other. It doesn’t work well. That’s why it’s
important to switch to an easy task after you finish a “mental marathon.”
Talk with your co-workers
Feeling overworked and burned out can be an isolating experience. Furthermore, feeling isolated and unable to talk about it can lead to the issue becoming worse. That’s why it’s so important to have a strong social network you can call upon.
Coworkers can provide this. Working at the same job means they’re aware of the unique stresses and work conditions, so they can help you work through uncomfortable feelings. Not only that, but they may even help you finish some of the tasks that are burdening you.
Take time off
Sometimes the best way to solve your problems is to run away from them! Although that’s said in a tongue-in-cheek way, it’s somewhat accurate. If overworking is causing you tons of problems, then getting away from work might be the right solution.
Consider using some of your paid time off to take a few rest days. Ideally, you unplug, unwind, and really relax. That means trying as best as you can to avoid stressful situations – in other words, keep the social media use and doom-scrolling the news to a minimum. When back at work, you’ll feel rejuvenated!
One of the biggest problems associated with overwork is the amount of stress it produces.
Stress is known to have a negative effect on health by causing or exacerbating a whole host of conditions. One way to reduce that effect is to reduce stress.
You can do this through relaxation techniques such as exercising, deep breathing, and meditation. Exercise relieves stress and improves your mood. Deep breathing can cause a deep sense of relaxation. Finally, meditation – as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day – can improve your sense of overall well-being.
Look for a new job
Sometimes workplaces are stressful because they’re dealing with an uptick in customers during the peak season. After that, they’re calm for most of the year. Other workplaces seem to be full of stress all year long. If you find yourself at one of those places, it might be time to look for another job.
This is especially true if you’ve already talked with management, done relaxation techniques, and taken time off. If despite all of that, overwork is still a problem, then that’s a good sign it’s time to leave. Make sure to inquire about the new company’s work culture before taking the job.
Focus on company goals
When a company throws a whole bunch of work your way, it can be hard to prioritize it. Often, it seems like the “try to do everything” mentality takes over. Although this can be admirable in that it helps build perseverance, it’s not always the best way to go.
Instead, focus on working smart, not hard. Reflect on what the goal of the company is, and then prioritize your work accordingly. This can help you create a to-do list with the most impactful tasks at the top and the less important stuff at the bottom.
Track how you’re using your time
If you’re moving towards a goal, then it’s essential to keep track of where you stand at the moment. If the goal is to reduce overwork, then track what you’re doing during the day. This may include messages received outside of work.
Over the course of a few days or a week, you can quickly see what activities are taking up most of your time. With that information, you can develop ways to improve efficiency, identify your most important tasks, and cut out all the extra stuff that’s dragging you down.
Reduce distracting notifications at work
One reason people work so much is that they get distracted so often. As the failure of multitasking makes clear, the human mind can only pay attention to one thing at a time.
Furthermore, when you’re working on a mentally demanding task, it takes a while to get in the
If you’re constantly getting email notifications, that’s a surefire way to get out of the zone. The 5 to 10 minutes it takes to refocus is lost time – and that lost time quickly adds up. So, consider turning off email notifications and setting aside specific times to check your inbox.
Eat healthy food
Although food isn’t a cause of overwork and burnout, it certainly makes it much worse. For example, caffeine intake usually increases when people work long hours. Although this may give you a brief jolt of energy, it can add to your levels of anxiety and affect sleep.
Likewise, when people are overworked, they tend to be too exhausted to cook. So, they end up getting pizza or Chinese food far too often. These unhealthy options can really affect your mood, so it’s best to try to eat extra healthily during stressful times.