Friday, December 18, 2009

Avoiding Burnout With Your Career

I think everyone, at one time or another, feels that burned out feeling from over working and trying to make sure things are squared away at the end of the year. So, what do you do to avoid getting burned out doing the same things day in and day out?

Change up your routine- This seems like a no-brainer, but some people get stuck in their rut and forget to spice up their life a bit. This can be easy. Just do a couple things differently in your day to change things up. Take your lunch break for the full hour, or go somewhere different for lunch that you wouldn't normally go to. I like to go to the library and browse the Cd's, movies, books, magazines, and newspapers. Just depends on my mood and what I'm interested in that day. It's a great way to get your mind off of work and away from the stress that work can place on you.

Take little breaks- Make time to pull away from your most stressful patches of work. If you know that between 10 am and 2 pm is your busiest time, then plan 5 minute breaks for every hour to walk around the office, or step outside for minute, or just surf the web mindlessly. This allows you to regain your composure and decompress a bit to allow yourself to better complete your task at hand. Everyone operates differently though. Some people prefer to just put their nose to grindstone and get things accomplished and out of the way, that way they're done for the day. Some people prefer to take breathers in between their tasks to avoid getting over stressed and spreading out the work for the day. Neither is right or wrong, one just may work better for you.

Make your tasks meaningful- I like to make a list and use it as kind of a daily goal planner. I can check off my tasks and make it feel like a game. It's like a personal game that you can play with yourself to feel like you accomplished your goals and gave yourself a purpose for the day. If you approach your tasks with a sense of purpose, you'll feel a bit better at the end of the day. On the other hand, don't take your tasks too seriously. If you approach them with too much importance, if one task doesn't get done, you'll get down on yourself. This defeats the purpose. Keep positive.

Have fun with your co-workers- This isn't always possible in every work environment, but in most, you can find ways to have some fun with your co-workers while getting your work done. At my workplace, we all tell jokes, tell each other our debacles in life, share our own shameless screw ups, and just generally shoot the breeze. This can be done while getting work done if you instant message, sit close to your co-workers, or if you get regular breaks. If you get one of these, email works well too. Just find ways to add some humor and fun to your work bubble.

If possible, do some work from home- Don't do this in your "off" time. In other words, if you work allows you to, work from home as a substitution from you office work time. This allows you to change up your sterile work environment for your cozy home. Just make sure that you stay productive so your boss doesn't regret letting you have some at home work time. This helps me greatly as it allows me to get more done by focusing on my work away from office distractions. The nice trade off here is that with that focus, I can get my work done quicker and have time to do the things that I want to do around the house, etc. It's a great trade-off.

I hope you effectively avoid burnout while you press through this end of the year work quarter. Good luck and have some fun.

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