Don’t Wait: Take These Steps To Avoid Burnout Now

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

I’ve been raising three young kids and growing two businesses for the past several years. It has not been easy. But most days, I can still do everything I need to do while successfully avoiding burnout.

Remember what they tell you before your plane takes off? Put your oxygen mask on first before your kids’ in an emergency.

The same thing applies to your career. Whether you are employed or looking for work, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you cannot take care of others.

Burnout Hurts Employees—And Their Employers, Too

A 2022 Microsoft survey of 22,000 workers found that almost 50% of employees are burned out. I am seeing more clients—both job seekers and those who are currently employed—with symptoms of burnout. Difficult economies can increase burnout, which brings its own physical and mental health concerns.

For many people, job seekers as well as those who are employed, stress levels and anxiety are extremely high. After recent layoffs, many corporations are not providing employees outplacement career coaching services to help with job searches. In a recent poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 72% of the 61 respondents said they were not given outplacement services after having been laid off.

Organizations traditionally included outplacement coaching in severance packages to help with seamless transitions into a new role while minimizing stress. Unfortunately, most people are now on their own to find another job.

For those who are employed, organizations are short-staffed, leaving people overworked with more pressure. And while leaders within corporations should be helping employees avoid burnout, most organizations are not, in my experience.

Minimizing burnout helps retain the employees who remain. The alternative is high turnover, a higher likelihood of being short-staffed due to hiring freezes or, worst yet, damage to workplace culture, all of which hurt companies’ bottom lines.

Companies that are retaining employees and not overworking them may offer yoga studios on site, exercise facilities or discounts on gyms, wellness and therapy outside of normal healthcare benefits, and unlimited PTO. As a matter of fact, Harvard researchers recently highlighted the “power of sabbaticals” on improving one’s work life.

Beating Burnout

So how do you know if you are burning out? I’ve used Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms as a starting point both for job seekers and those who are employed.

In a Harvard Business Review article, authors Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz discuss how and why busy people need more quiet time. You want to be productive in the hours you do work and work smarter not harder. Whether you are looking for a new job or are employed, do not wait: Make time for yourself now to avoid burnout.

Here are some tips that work for my clients:

1. Get organized, and prioritize your work. Doing this will save you time and energy, which helps avoid burnout down the road.

2. Avoid checking emails and putting out fires when your day starts. Instead do your most difficult work at that time, to maximize your productivity.

3. Break up your work into two-hour chunks. This will help you stay energized throughout the day.

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