Job burnout It is often accompanied by chronic stress with a range of symptoms that include fatigue, drained energy, decreased motivation, and negativity surrounding your work. You may encounter the infamous “Sunday scares,” which are often characterized by a sense of impending doom about the upcoming work week. You may feel lost, withdrawn, or uncomfortable in the presence of family and friends. You may become withdrawn in social situations outside of work because your anxiety gets centered on your to-do lists and other pending chores. You may have gained weight due to less time being invested in your self-care and personal health.
How do I know these are the typical symptoms of job burnout? That’s because I’ve personally experienced it, which has led to a major health scare and serious wake-up call.
When you’re an overachiever and fiercely dedicated to your craft, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overwork. Most of the time, job burnout occurs because we have filled our personal boards with additional tasks, duties, and projects, leaving us personally deprived of the sleep, exercise, and time we need to decompress. With job burnout, you lose the ability to distinguish between weekdays and weekends, you feel overwhelmed and annoyed by the sheer volume of your workload, and you reluctantly decline social invitations. More importantly, you start to resent your career choice and your current role, so you oscillate between looking for new jobs, applying aggressively, and wondering if the new role will bring you the needed balance and career happiness you want and need.
Before you jump into a new role or make a career change, consider doing these things to overcome and handle job burnout:
Prioritize your workload
In the early years of your career and business, you operate from a “must respond ASAP” mode and treat everything as an emergency. You want to impress your clients, managing partners, and everyone else in between. You can work early in the morning, late at night, and even on weekends. At some point, you wake up and realize that not everything requires an urgent response or immediate attention, and frankly, it’s impossible to treat everything that way.
Prioritizing your workload is key. Acknowledge (and accept) that it is not possible or will be done in one day (because, as we all know, real emergencies arise and calls last longer than planned). Make a list of three or four non-negotiables on your to-do list that day. Rank them in order of importance.
Set clear boundaries and communicate them
One of the recurring things in my legal career and work is that I fail at it Set clear boundaries around my time and communicate with them effectively. I overextended myself to complete exhaustion, but to the outside world, I was “killing” it. Inwardly, I was falling apart. I was severely sleep deprived, and my thyroid was out of whack. My physical health took a backseat. I can’t tell you how many times I felt “guilty” when I took time off to go to the doctor or how I put off doctor’s appointments because I had so much work. However, if you are not working at your best physically, how can you work at your best mentally?
Your physical health is the priority and setting work boundaries is key. This probably requires you to set a hard limit on scheduled calls at 4pm so you can spend the last hour or two finishing work and sending out the last few emails of the day. Or maybe it’s by letting the client know that you’ll look at their contract tomorrow morning after you get back from the doctor’s appointment (rather than feeling pressured to read it that evening to sore eyes).
Check your mental health
Recently a customer expressed his level to me Exhaustion and fatigue of her turn. “But I’m making more money than I ever made, shouldn’t I put up with that for a few more years?” She hadn’t attended her favorite Pilates class in months, and was ordering takeaway more often than cooking (cooking and baking were her favorite things to do on the weekends).
When you overlook those Hobbies and outside interests that keep you balanced and fulfilledYour mental health must suffer. Consider using some energy outlets just to give yourself a break, disconnect, and rejuvenate your mind and body.
And most importantly, do not be afraid of it Work with a coach or therapist Who can provide the required support and outside perspective. Sometimes, people are so focused on emotions that they can’t see themselves in an objective way. An executive coach is there to see the 30,000-foot view of your career and provide support, advice, and guidance to not only help you identify career or leadership roadblocks and strategize ways to create positive action for the benefit of your future career. The therapist will focus on getting to the root of the things that are holding you back, identifying the source of your emotional or mental fears, and looking at your past from childhood to the present.
Define your presence and focus
Sometimes you realize your role is making you feel stagnant on your career ladder. You may have just become complacent, but you have other goals that you want to achieve as time goes on. Some of the first questions I ask a client include: What do you want to focus on next? What is most important to you for your next role? What is missing in your current role that you would like to change?
I often suggest the idea of follow-up Additional skills and training To create more engagement and interest in the current work, but also to create future opportunity and enhanced value. Even once you reach the position of CEO, there is always room for learning and growth. Make a list of these tangible goals and don’t be afraid to follow through. With risk comes great reward, but you need to prepare appropriately.
Do you have a job-related question? Do not hesitate to Connect with me on LinkedIn And join the professional conversations on my posts.
Wendy Weiner is an attorney, professional expert, and founder writing teacher, an award-winning executive resume writing services company. Wendi creates strong professional and personal brands for attorneys, CEOs, and CMO/Board leaders for job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications on alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, storytelling on LinkedIn, career strategy, and the job search process. You can reach them by e-mail at email@example.comContact her on linkedinand follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.