Lately, I have made a concentrated effort to incorporate the appropriate skills, resources and behaviors necessary to not only lead with positive influence, but to be successful in my pursuits as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day focus on improving everything around us, yet never looking in the mirror to take care of the most important priority of all — ourselves. If we lose our energized, positive attitude and ability to persevere, we risk ruining everything we have built. But after an extended period of time not putting ourselves first, the inevitable result is burnout.
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.”
— Michael Gungor
Organizations are facing an employee burnout crisis. A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.
The fact is, regardless of role within the organization, burnout will lead to decreased productivity, frustration with projects, peers and management, and an increase in paid time off. It has become such an epidemic that the World Health Organization officially recognizes “Burnout” as a medical diagnosis.
All of us are working to be recognized, often to the point of exhaustion. The work week was once considered to be forty hours, but now, with so many people on salary, it is not unusual to find companies expecting at least 60 hours a week out of their employees. We go to great lengths to gain acceptance and approval, so not only is our work competitive, but our commitment – which is judged by time spent – has now become a factor in evaluating the successes of individuals in the workplace.
Work-related stress and pressure are unavoidable in most workplaces. We have now accepted this pressure, even managing subordinates to see just how much they can handle, without any regard for their input. The problem is, the pressure becomes so excessive that it results in stress. Stress does so much damage to an individual — yet too many companies have adopted a mindset that self-care is selfish.
According to the American Institute of Stress, as it relates to the workplace:
- 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful
- 25% view their jobs as the number-one stressor in their lives
- 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago
- 29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work
- 26% of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed” by their work
- Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems
The good news is, burnout is preventable. But it requires an effort to recognize the symptoms early and take action without feeling guilty for putting yourself first. You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” To give your best, you must be at your best and you’ll have the ability to maintain a healthy, successful career.
It’s time to be proactive, not reactive!
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
— Lou Holtz
Here are five specific strategies to help you avoid burnout:
- Take Control
We all only have 24 hours in a day, so find the best way to optimize that time to create balance for the priorities in life – including yourself! Whether it’s through establishing a few goals to achieve each day, To-Do lists, learning to say “no”, evaluating your meeting schedule or setting hard goals on what time you arrive and depart from the workplace, take control and make it a habit.
- Rediscover Your Purpose
There was a reason why you started working there; take time to rediscover your purpose and what your original goals were when you began. You may have to ask yourself some tough questions; it is possible that you have either outgrown your environment or need new challenges. That is all part of the journey toward fulfillment — but without a clear purpose, you’re traveling the road without a map. Once you find your purpose again, you will operate with a clear mindset and find the joy in what you do.
- Learn To Say No
This will be the most difficult strategy because it will feel very uncomfortable at first. However, it is critical if you are working toward decreasing the stress and feelings of being overwhelmed that you have each day. Start small — maybe you say no to a meeting that you aren’t necessarily involved in. This task may require you to meet one-on-one with your supervisor and discuss your workload. Don’t say what you think they want to hear; be vulnerable and honest. Find a way to achieve a win-win while not sacrificing your stress level.
You can always count on exercise as a way to relieve stress. Escape — if only for thirty minutes a day — while at the same time putting in work for a healthier mind and body. We all have excuses, but if you sit down and evaluate where you spend your time each day, I’ll bet you could carve out thirty minutes somewhere. It’s both a short and long-term strategy for success.
- Manage Your Stress
I know, it’s easier said than done, but you need to put the research into how you can better manage your stress. Remember, stress is what happens in the short-term before the burnout occurs. Get a hold of the stress early, and you will avoid burnout.This could include meditation, yoga, taking a ten minute break every hour to just walk outside, or go fill up your water bottle and say hello to your coworkers. When you get home, develop a routine to let work go. When you charge your phone before you go to bed at night, don’t do it on your night stand, put it in another room and don’t check it until right before you are heading to work.
Take back your control. Find the trigger that indicates your point of excess, and act upon it without guilt or a loss of pride. In the end, you won’t be remembered for your last project. Your legacy will be born from your character, integrity and impact you made to make the world a better place.
It all starts and ends with you.
Go do great things today and make a difference.
VENTURE + LEAD + PROSPER
Humbled to lead,
#ChargeUp #patience #prevent #success #leadership #RaiseTheBar
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