Why Burnout is Hard to Avoid, and a few Top Tips from Me!
Lately, as I have been reflecting on the turbulent times we are going through, marked recently by a horrific nation-state invasion, I have really tried to take as much time as I need to not let the pressures surrounding my work affect my wellbeing. It is more crucial than ever to find the right work-life balance, and avoid burnout in our whole being.
I was inspired by this newsletter (https://bit.ly/3CFDUuA), published by Nobl Academy, which delves into a few solutions to avoid burnout. Here are my main takeaways from the article and my own experiences:
Firstly, it is hugely difficult for people to say no! Turning down new projects, or refusing colleagues’ requests for help, is one of the greatest challenges employees currently face. Part of this is due to the current state of our economies, which must be focused on innovation-led growth.
In this reality, it is crucial to figure out what we can do, cannot, and won’t do, if we want to maintain a holistic sense of wellbeing.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your work, here are a few tips to get through it calmly, and efficiently:
1. Implement regular reflection to assess the amount of work you have done, or are doing. It is easy to only look ahead, and never acknowledge the wonders of what has been achieved.
2. Focus on outcomes and measures, not input: setting up clear outcomes at the start of a project makes it easier to assess effectiveness later while focusing on outcomes rather than inputs may result in us finding more effective ways to achieve our deliverables.
3. Assign resources: when planning, start assigning people to different projects. When you run out of people or hours, you’ll have to decide if you want to reassign employees, hire more people, or reschedule projects.
4. As a team, “spring clean” your work habits: a lot of work gets bogged down because of “noise” like inefficient meetings or busywork. Review your calendar, and figure out what’s been causing the most pain. Stop, don’t send out that regular report: if no one notices, you’re engaged in low-value work.
5. Push power through an organisation, as often work backs up because teams are waiting to hear from a decision-maker higher up in the organisation. As a general rule, decisions should be made by those closest to the problem which motivates and empowers all involved. Evaluate the decisions that you’ve been asked to make: should these actually be delegated to other individuals?
6. Consider how failure is treated in your organisation. Ultimately, people respond to incentives: rewards and punishments for their behaviour. These incentives don’t necessarily have to be financial. Recognition, team play, design thinking sessions are all wonderful ways to lift spirits and keep burnout at bay.