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Watch Out for Burnout

Watch Out for Burnout

“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”

~Arianna Huffington

Burnout is one of those problems that affects so many people from workers to managers to owners. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently reported burnout was one of the top reasons people left their jobs.

In addition, the National Opinion Research Center reports 48% of workers experienced increased stress over the last five years, and this is bleeding over into their family lives as well. This statistic shows that burnout is not just a pervasive problem but also one that continues to grow over time.

I think burnout has become so common because technology has blurred the separation between work and other facets of life. These days, it is almost impossible to become untethered from work as our smartphones, iPads and computers are always nearby.

Burnout typically results when a person feels as though they are putting more into their work than they are getting out of it, and this can have some serious effects on health. Some mental health professionals, for example, have linked burnout to depression and a host of other issues.

Common symptoms of burnout include depression, memory issues, fatigue, loss of emotional control and loss of motivation in the work setting. Burnout will hammer you until you have trouble just getting up and going to work.

In my experience, a sure way to knowing if you are in danger of burning out is when friends and family start telling you that you have. These people are often an early warning system, so you should not ignore what they are telling you. Doing so could be quite dangerous for you.

The very best way to deal with burnout—or to avoid it altogether—is to disconnect from your technology. You can do this by turning off all your devices a certain number of hours every day and allowing yourself some down time.

As you might imagine, this is a rather unpopular suggestion among many managers and business owners. I frequently give seminars on time management, and this group usually rolls their eyes when I make this recommendation. They feel as though I am asking them to walk on fire, but in reality, they must find a way to do this if they want to avoid burning out.

Next to unplugging, you must ensure you are scheduling enough relaxation time every day. What is relaxing varies by individual, but basically, it is anything you enjoy doing that is not competitive. Maybe it is reading. Maybe it is going for a walk. Whatever it is, it should turn off the pressure cooker for a significant chunk of time each and every day.

Another thing you can do is take some time to get organized or pay someone to help you get organized. I know when I am organized, I feel like I can accomplish almost anything. When I am disorganized, however, I feel like almost anything is just too much.

Now go out and do a self-assessment to see if you are at or near. Then make a plan to incorporate some of the methods we talked about here to make your life less stressful.

You can do this!

Published: April 28, 2016

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Jerry Osteryoung

Jerry Osteryoung is a consultant to businesses—he has directly assisted over 3,000 firms. He is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship (Emeritus) and Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at Florida State University. He was the founding Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008. His latest book, coauthored with Tim O’Brien, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book,” is a bestseller on Amazon. Email Jerry @ jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com

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