Seven Surprising Ways to Fight Burnout

Beverly Flaxington is a workplace behavioral expert who specializes in helping individuals deal with workplace relationships, performance issues, and goal achievement — she’s also the award-winning author of five books, including Make Your Shift: The Five Most Powerful Moves You Can Make to Get Where You Want to Go (ATA Press, 2012).

She has some great tips on fighting burnout on the job. She says, “The usual prescription for employee burnout is to work less. However, that so-called remedy doesn’t take into account why we feel unhappy at work in the first place, why we are suddenly stressed out by our workload, and why we feel depleted and unable to bounce back.”

She adds that a major reason people get burned out at work is a lack of self-confidence:  “They’ve temporarily lost a basic driver of success — the sense of ‘I can do this!’”

Here are Flaxington’s seven tips on fighting burnout and building confidence:

1. Program your sleeping brain.
Before bed, write down three to five things you did well that day. Read them aloud so they are the last thoughts you have before you go to sleep. This is a behavioral technique that helps to embed positive thoughts and feelings about yourself into your unconscious mind while you sleep.

2. Make yourself feel better.
List 10 smaller things you can do in a day to build your confidence, then work on implementing each of these ideas over the course of a week. Examples might include: talking to a mentor; finishing a dreaded task you’ve been putting off; changing your appearance; or taking a walk in the park at lunch.

3. Learn something new.
Commit to learning a skill that’s related to your desired outcome or what’s important to you. It could be work-related, such as downloading new apps for your smartphone to streamline some of your daily tasks. Or it could be a skill, such as taking a language class. Acquiring a new skill increases confidence and boosts your self-image.

4. Seek out challenges and take risks.
It may seem counterintuitive to seek out challenges when you’re already feeling burnt out and discouraged. But confidence comes from taking risks, not from avoiding them. Also, a major component of burnout is boredom. Risk taking is an effective cure for boredom.

5. Get perspective; practice gratitude.
Work to appreciate who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you already have. If helpful, make a list of what you’re grateful for. Imagine, for example, how you would feel if you were suddenly unable to work. Your gratitude list keeps your workplace worries in perspective. Keep that gratitude list where you can look at it often.

6. Identify your zone.
Most of us are really content at work when we’re in our zone. What does that mean to you? Solving a computer problem? Crunching numbers? Figure out what it is that you truly love to do at work, when time flies by and you feel a sense of accomplishment. Just remembering this feeling can often help you fight burnout.

7. Note your successes.
When you do something you feel good about, record it right then. Keep a running list over time that you can refer to when you feel down, stressed out, or overwhelmed.

>> For more tips, read “Tips to Beat Job Burnout


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  • Fadi El-Eter (PM Hut)

    Here are my ways to fight burnout:

    - Take Saturday off (do only the very necessary work and never work more than 15 minutes unless you really have to)
    - Wake up very early (around 3:30 AM and sleep at about 9)
    - Organize your time – follow the pomodoro technique while working

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