8 Tips to Prevent Burning Out at Work
Posted by Casey Nicole on June 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM
Forbes.com recently covered a surprising and unfortunate trend. In great numbers women are burning out at work before the age of 30. It seems that in our quest to have it all, we forget to take care of ourselves. In fact, men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities.
According to McKinsey research 53% of corporate entry-level jobs are held by women, while that number drops to 37% and 26% for mid-management and senior level management jobs, respectively. While there is a multitude of reasons that men are twice as likely to advance at each career stage, it is likely partly due to women burning out before advancement.
Whether you’re on the brink of exhausting or just need motivation to get through the work day when it is so beautiful outside, continue reading for our 8 tips to prevent burning out at work.
1. Readjust Your Own Expectations
It’s scary, but true that half of college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. You need to accept that a college degree doesn’t guarantee your dream job. You’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Even with hard work and determination it won’t happen overnight.
Unless you worked your way through college or interned, your first real job is going to be a shocker, but don’t give up. You’re not the only one feeling that way.
As all-around badass Kelly Cutrone bluntly states “College is nothing more than a baby-sitting service. Students are totally unprepared for the real world. No one will say thank you. You will eat lunch at 5 p.m. It sucks and it’s hard work.”
2. Learn How to Manage Up
Dysfunctional office dynamics, specifically those with a superior, are the leading causes of burnout. Learning how to deal with office dynamics is extremely useful for creating work-life balance. LearnVest does a great job of explaining how to deal with rude bosses and how to set boundaries.
3. Realize it’s Okay to Say No
In addition to the regular workplace woes, women also feel constrained by what is traditionally expected of them, like always saying “yes.” It’s impossible to do everything and be everywhere for everyone without quickly burning out.
Another reason it’s important to prioritize and decline some things is because the last thing you want to do is over promise and under deliver.
For example, while you don’t want to give your boss a flat-out no, you can always tell him or her that you’ll need to extend their deadline from Wednesday morning to Thursday afternoon in order to give the project the attention it deserves. Visit LearnVest for more tips on the right way to say no at work.
4. Quit Comparing Yourself
Get off of Facebook. You’re not doing yourself any good constantly comparing your achievements with that girl you used to know on Facebook. More than likely she isn’t really having as great of a time as she’s promoting online. However, you need to realize the only person you can compare yourself to is you. Are you learning new things, working harder, and meeting your unique goals? What matters most is your personal growth, not if you’ve got a bigger salary than Sally from Facebook.
5. Make Sure You Take Your Vacation Days
Americans won’t use an allotted 226 million vacation days this year. Ladies, that’s worth an estimated $34.3 billion! Why don’t we take the vacation that we are given? Apparently, lack of planning and travel expenses keep us from enjoying our paid time off. Don’t stress over planning a holiday if that’s too much for you, just relax in whatever way is easiest. Do a staycation and visit the sights in your city, or spend time really relaxing at a spa.
Taking time off reinvigorates you even after your return to work. And it’s good for your health; the Framingham Heart Study (2000) found that women who don’t take vacations are up to eight times more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who do.
6. Develop Your Interests and Hobbies Outside of the Office
Do you consider your entire identity and self-worth to be dependent on your job? Developing personal interests and hobbies outside of the workplace will reduce stress and make you a well-rounded individual. Consider the hobbies you had in high school, but try something new too. Whether it involves fitness, like joining a soccer team or creating your own jewelry, it will be great for your morale to get back in touch with yourself.
7. Take Breaks
While refusing breaks may not be the leading cause of work burnout, it definitely doesn’t help. To keep your energy levels up throughout the day take quick walks through the office. A short break is also a great time to catch up with coworkers.Studies show that positive relationships with your officemates leads to a longer and healthier life.
8. Take Time to Evaluate Your Career Path
If you’ve been on the same career path for a while now, with little growth or change, it’s time to evaluate your entire outlook. Are you being challenged enough at your current job? Or is too much burden placed on you? Maybe you should consider a different career completely or a different job. Before making rash decisions, though, consider discussing your thoughts with a colleague or your boss. You might be able to tweak your current position to make it work better for you.
Have you experienced burnout at your job and what advice do you have to prevent it?