Our time is minimal, and our days go by so fast. Spend it with optimal energy and focus, and spend it doing your work in a way that you enjoy. While the work still needs to get done, there is nothing wrong with changing your routine and finding better ways to focus on your work to avoid burnout. Incorporate the following tactics into your routine to alleviate burnout and exhaustion in your life.
Make exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest a priority.
When you have a consistent exercise routine and diet that gives you energy instead of making you feel sleepy, you will likely have a better mind, body, and spirit to put forth when it comes to your daily work routine. Keeping to a regular sleep pattern will also aid in giving you the stamina needed to sustain you through the entire day. When we get adequate sleep, are well fed, and are energized after our daily exercise, we are better able to maintain our focus on the work we are doing—avoiding the feeling of dread much more efficiently.
Add variety to your tasks.
Sometimes, the monotony of our tasks is enough to send us heading for the exits! Finding ways to change our routine is key to staying content in our work. In cases where there is little that you can change about how you do your work, find a way to change where you do it. If you have a home desktop computer or a flexible office work environment, invest in a laptop that you can take to any location you want. Sit outside at a local park on a nice day, or cozy up at the nearest coffee shop, but be sure to add variety to where you work to liven your spirit back up.
Delegate and ask for help when you need to.
When your workload feels overwhelming—like you are drowning in a to-do list—look for opportunities for your colleagues or employees to help you out from under the pile. While heavy workloads are sometimes unavoidable, utilizing help when you can gives you the ability to breathe and not feel trapped. Delegate tasks where you can instead of keeping them all for yourself because you think you are the only one who can do them. Have faith in your co-workers to step up to the plate in places you may not have expected that they could. Ask for temporary help in these moments of fatigue and burnout. Even if the help you need isn’t a permanent recusal of tasks, having someone help you get caught up can give you a new and fresh perspective of the remaining work you have on your plate. People, in general, like to help when they can, so find those people to lean on, be there for them when they need you, and avoid carrying the burden alone.
Incorporate breaks and vacations into your work life.
It can often seem like there are not enough hours in the day to get all your work done, but this outlook is a sure path to quick burnout! There is only so much time that we can truly focus and be productive with our work. Trying to push through and work with minimal breaks will eventually lead to burnout at best—and a possible mental breakdown at worst! A better strategy is to plan your workday accordingly by finding your peak work hours and hunkering down during them. Plan your breaks accordingly for when you know that you will be ready for a break. Maybe take a walk/exercise, a nap, a tv show/book you enjoy, a conversation with a co-worker about anything but work, a trip to the grocery/department store, or a lunch date with a friend. These are all things you can do to break up your day and help you be more productive.
Also, scheduling and taking regular extended vacations can give you something to look forward to and help you re-energize and refocus for weeks to come!
Do work that you enjoy.
Don’t stay trapped in work that makes you feel miserable or depressed. Work is not always fun, but if it is not enjoyable, at least most of the time, it may be time to start considering a new job. It can be easy to get bogged down, doing the same work day after day—not even realizing how much you dislike what you are doing. Take the time to evaluate your career/job and ask yourself important questions like “Am I doing work that makes me feel happy and fulfilled?” or “Am I just working on autopilot while my life passes me by?” Think about what you would want your work to consist of and what a day in that life looks like, then consider ways you could make those changes to get there.
Being in a job that you enjoy and not one you loathe will keep you going for the many years to come.
Manage your time/stress load.
When you manage your time, you decrease the stress load you may be carrying with your daily work tasks. Starting and ending your day at a consistent time, scheduling your work and breaks in that time-frame accordingly will give you the sense that your work is a part of your life but doesn’t make up your whole life. Keeping to a regular schedule and having time off to do things other than work is key to keeping the stress at bay.
Unplug during non-work hours.
Make the end of your workday the end of your workday! Create a wind-down routine so that your body understands that the workday is ending and it is time to transition into the next phase of your day—the part where you don’t do any more work. You may finish by checking your email one last time and shutting down your computer until the start of your next workday, or you may mark the end of your day by lacing up your running shoes as you head out for a decompressing run, but no matter how you do it, be sure to stick to this plan. Unplugging from work during non-work hours will allow your body and brain to rest, and you will be able to take the time you need to do the other things that you love to do outside of work.
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” –Dale Carnegie