Professional boxer Muhammad Ali said, “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
Many times you may catch yourself dreaming about the weekend on a Monday morning. Counting days till you can finally call it a week may be your way to deal with work pressure. But if thinking about your work makes you feel tired, it may be because of job burnout.
Every employee is familiar with the term ‘burnout’. It means feeling exhausted and not being able to work as a result.
Not only does it take away the joy of doing something you love, but burnout also leaves you feeling restless and unmotivated. If left unchecked, burnout can even compel you to feel disconnected from your work, team members and the organization.
Let’s look at the causes of burnout and how you can deal with them to lead a fulfilling and satisfactory work life.
What Is Burnout?
If the thought of going into work any day of the week leaves you with a feeling of despair, you’re probably burnt out. Employee burnout is caused by chronic job stress which sometimes festers to a point where you stop caring about your goals.
When you start a new job, it’s exciting and new. So you’re motivated to give it your best shot. Taking initiative, building connections and doing well at work become your daily goals. But over time, work pressure can lead you to a point where you become cynical about your work.
This can be due to the work culture in the organization, hostility among teams or simply because you no longer enjoy your work. Whatever be the reason, employee burnout can hamper your productivity and affect your performance.
More often than not, you may not even realize that you’re experiencing burnout because you’re so used to a routine.
Here are a few ways to identify if you’re experiencing burnout:
You lack the motivation to go to work every day, and it feels like a chore
You get irritated at the thought of communicating and working with your team members
Your work causes undue stress each time you think about it
You can’t explain why you’re feeling distracted at work
You start questioning why you started your job in the first place
These are a few of many possible signs of job burnout. The first step is to recognize these signs before you can understand the ‘why’. With this self-awareness, you can start working on finding a solution for your burnout.
Causes Of Burnout
You may feel discouraged, demotivated or distracted at work for many reasons. For instance, if you’ve had an argument with a co-worker and failed to resolve the issue, you may be reluctant to go to work, and instead, try to avoid them.
Here are some common causes of burnout at work:
Unfriendly Work Culture
Imagine working in an organization where no one smiles at you or wishes you a ‘good morning’ when you walk in. Not only will this make you feel like an outsider but also discourage you from taking initiative or building connections. Over time, this kind of environment can prevent you from enjoying your work.
Unclear Goals and Aspirations
Many of us make the mistake of accepting the first job offer we receive simply because it’s a job that pays. Even though you get to learn the basics, it’s still not something you planned to do. If your goals aren’t clearly defined, you may feel lost along the way and lose sight of where you’re headed. It’s important to understand what you want to do—and need to do—to achieve your goals. Otherwise, you’re simply going through the motions without a destination in sight.
Lack of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance means that your work life doesn’t interfere with your private life. When you don’t have the freedom to manage your time, you’re more likely to burn out at work. A work-life imbalance can even cause resentment. You may feel overwhelmed, which can affect your productivity. Spending time with family and friends is equally, if not more, important. So, if most of your week is spent at work, you won’t be able to take time out for recreation or to recuperate.
Weak Professional Network
Sometimes when you don’t have a lot of friends at work, it can make you feel alone even in a crowd. Sharing your work stories with coworkers to let off steam are ways to prevent burnout at work. If you don’t have anyone to share your thoughts with, it can drive you to isolate yourself. This way, you won’t be able to enjoy your breaks at work and find yourself alone in a sea of people.
Limited Autonomy at Work
Micromanagement at work can often lead to employee burnout. If you need to seek your manager’s approval for every little thing, you may feel too pressured to ever take an initiative. A lack of freedom at work can cause employee burnout. No one likes to have someone breathing down their neck for a task as simple as emailing a client. Some independence to take charge allows you to realize your full potential. But if you don’t have this freedom, you won’t find the room to grow as a professional.
How To Deal With Burnout
Now that you know what causes burnout, it’s time to look at how you can deal with it. Here are key ways to deal with burnout at work.
The best way to deal with job stress is to build self-awareness to understand what you’re going through. It will help you acknowledge that you’re facing difficulties at work. If you want to improve your situation, you have to help yourself. Recognizing the signs of burnout and taking preventive or corrective measures is a critical step toward improvement. You need to be clear on your intentions and motivations to do well at work.
Talk To Friends, Family And Coworkers
Those closest to you know you well enough to help you recognize signs of stress. Talk to your friends and family and ask them how you can deal with burnout. They are people you can confide in and trust with your thoughts and feelings. They’ll guide and empathize with you, which will help you overcome these challenges.
You may even find a solution you didn’t know was possible. It’s always better to consider more than one perspective when you’re finding it hard to come up with a solution on your own.
Revise And Reassess Your Goals
If something isn’t working out, change it. It may not be the work pressure or dysfunctional work culture that’s making you burn out. It may just be the kind of work you are doing. Just because you wanted to work in sales as a fresh graduate, doesn’t mean you can’t switch jobs or reassess your goals. Maybe after years of experience, you want something more comfortable or more challenging.
Taking the time to think about what has changed and what you need to do going forward is an empowering feeling. It gives you control over your decisions, encouraging you to change things you don’t like.
Maintain Work-Life Balance
Even if your work doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility, you can still try to maintain a work-life balance. Talking to the right people and addressing your concerns will help you reach a consensus. Try to figure out a way to find a balance. It’s important to take a break from working too much. Otherwise, you’ll get bored or tired of doing the same thing, and it will leave you with no motivation to do more than the bare minimum.
Discover New Opportunities
There’s nothing to stop you from seeking new and better opportunities at any point in your career. If you’re not enjoying your work, you have every right to change it. Rather than feeling burnt out at work and accepting it, improving your situation is a better option. Being unhappy at work can crush your spirit. So before you reach that stage, take action and change your situation.
Job burnout may be common, but it can have serious repercussions if it’s not addressed. You can improve the quality of your work life by taking these steps. Meaningful work life is important for your overall professional development. You are responsible for taking care of yourself and leveraging your strengths for the right reasons.
Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course is designed to help professionals get on the path of self-improvement so that they can identify their strengths and define their goals. Understanding who you are and what you want in life can help you advance in your career. Pursue your goals and professional targets with complete awareness and confidence.
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