Ask people how they are doing and you’ll usually get the reply, “Busy!!”
This refrain of “busy” is endemic these days (whether it’s true or not is another story), but what’s the difference between the ‘busy’ that’s about being engaged and productive and the ‘busy’ that might signal you’re on the fast track to burnout?
Four tell-tale ways to burnout:
1) Work too hard
You’re working long hours, without a break. Meetings back-to-back. Not only is time short, but because of your fatigue, tasks that should be relatively straightforward take longer.
2) Don’t ask for help
The work or project all feels like it lands on your shoulders, and you’re the only one with the skills or knowledge to get it done. Asking for help feels like a weakness at best or an impossibility at the worst.
3) Blame others
You’re so fried that you start lashing out and blaming others for the stress you’re under. You think something – or worse yet someone – is responsible for making it so hard.
4) See yourself as a victim
Hand in hand with blame, you feel like the circumstances you find yourself in are personal – that somehow you’re being taken advantage of.
Sound familiar? If so, try this:
1) Take a break.
Instead of powering through, taking even a short break (a 5- minute walk around the office or block, eating lunch outside instead of at your desk) will provide a way to blow off steam and get some needed perspective. Even a short break can give you a way to regroup and refocus.
What can you give away, let go of, or simply not do? If it’s difficult for you to ask for help, see if you can reframe it as an opportunity to develop those around you.
3) Make a request
If you find yourself blaming, which can lead to even more ineffective communication and stress, what’s the legitimate request underneath your frustration? What do you want to ask for and from whom, even if it’s yourself?
4) Take responsibility
What’s your role in the situation you’re in? What part of the situation can you own? How do you really want it to be, and what are small steps you can take to make that happen?
Below, it’s your turn. Leave a comment and tell me: What are your signs that you’re on the road to burn out, and when you find yourself there, what do you do?
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