productivity tips · Aug 1, 2019

7 Productivity Tips to Avoid Burnout at Work

Avoid burnout

Admit this, everyone has a breaking point at work. No matter how much you love your job or enjoy working with your teammates, there will be times that exhaustion and stress prevail then a sense of defeat sets in. It’s no one’s fault, you have the right to feel unmotivated and drained from time to time.

On May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified burnout as a legitimate “occupational phenomenon” mental syndrome. The constant stress, negative feelings, physical and emotional fatigue at work has now become a serious problem that threatens job performance and costs your business. In the long run, burnout can cause depression among employees and have some severe effect on mental health.

“It’s better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent.” - Ezra Taft Benson

When realizing some burnout symptoms, you can start making some adjustments to the way you’re doing your job. Here are some proven effective tips to avoid getting burned out at workplace.

Tip #1: Acknowledge your breaking point.

Even though you’re a chronic workaholic, you should set your own boundaries. Being an overachiever can cost you your productivity in the long run. Responsibility can create stress and wear you down if you are taking on more than your capacity. Overwhelming workload has also been proven to create nervous breakdown and physical fatigue.

It’s not easy to say “no”, at first. However, if you want to stay focused and energetic, you have to slow down and choose your tasks wisely. There’s no point in trying to be a superhero at work while it does nothing other than draining your own energy and taking away your excitement.

Tip #2: Create an effective to do list and commit to it.

We are almost 20 years into the twenty-first century, it’s not surprising if your productivity suffers because you still plan things in your head and try to remember every single to-dos without making a physical list. There are hundreds of to do list apps that you can choose from beside paper and pen.

A good to do list app can help you consolidate all of your tasks in one place. You should be very specific and organized with your list in order to commit to the list easier. You can set priorities, track your progress and carry out your tasks in a timely manner. With an effective and practical to do list, you can get more done instead of worrying if you’ve missed one or two tasks.

Moreover, planning ahead can help you reduce unnecessary stress and evaluate your workload. If you experience exhaustion with your to do list, maybe it’s a good time to unplug some of the tasks in the list.

Tip #3: Deploy a good productivity method.

If you’re a procrastinator who always get stressed out because of your own to do list, it’s critical for you to commit to a productivity method. One of the most common productivity methods that thousands of project managers swear by is Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. With GTD method, you can plan out each step in advance in order to reduce unnecessary stress.

You can integrate the GTD method with your preferable project management app to get more done. By consistently working on single to-do until you’ve checked off all the tasks in the list, you will not be stressed out by all of the distractions.

Tip #4: Practice KonMari Method at work.

Marie Kondo is a guru when it comes to decluttering and cleaning method. You may have heard of the word “spark joy” over and over again and you’ve successfully KonMari’d your house and your closet. But how about your work and your task list?

The core value of the phenomenal KonMari method is to deliberately and mindfully choose the things that you want to keep in your life. You should start with your workspace by decluttering your folder cabinet and digital mailbox. An inbox filled with emails can trigger stress and emotional burnout in the long run, so it’s better for your mental health that you have a working system that helps you declutter those physical and emotional distractions.

Tip #5: Meditate or work out.

Taking breaks and doing some stretching exercises once in a while during work hours can really help you relieve stress and anxiety. You can also practice meditation at least twice a week to flush out toxins and gain positive energy.

Sitting at your desk for long hours can create physical pain and emotional exhaustion that cause burnout. Stop your mind from worrying about your job and start doing some simple exercises.

Tip #6: Ask if you need help.

There’s no shame to ask for help from others - it will not make people think less of you. Remember no one can be good at everything and sometimes team collaboration is the key to a business’ success.

Choose a good collaborative platform or tool to enhance team performance and optimize the workflow. If you want to prevent burnout, let the stress out before it builds up and backfires on your work productivity.

Tip #7: If nothing works, take time out.

If you’ve done everything in the list and you still feel exhausted and stressed, maybe it’s a good time to take a step back and have a break for yourself. You’ve done everything you could to deal with burnout at work but now the pressure officially exceeds your ability to cope. It’s okay to take time out.

Rome wasn’t built in one day, so is your career path. You will achieve all of your goals and your dreams eventually, it’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first and taking care of your health for now.

Burnout is an epidemic in the working culture and it has to be taken seriously. Preventing burnout at work doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can just follow the above simple steps to improve job performance without overloading your stress level.

Relax, the world will still be there tomorrow! G'luck! 😊

Vicky Pham