When it comes to working, it’s just one of those necessary evils that come with adult life. No matter how much you love what you do for a living, it’s hard to be productive when you’re working non-stop and not taking sufficient time to recharge your batteries. If what used to be a pleasant experience has all of a sudden turned into a “can’t wait until 5:00” countdown, then it might be time for a serious rejuvenation. Here are three signs that you just may be suffering from a workplace burnout, and what to do about it.
1. You leave work thinking, “That’s all I can handle today”
We’ve all got to go home at some point. But if you leave work every day feeling like you’ve walked that long struggle road to freedom and will burst if one more paper or email crosses your desk… you’re burned out. Workdays can be long, but you should never leave work feeling like you’ve been drained of your all. Leaving work feeling completely drained only leads to dreading work the next day, and the vicious cycle continues.
Work will never be “done.” Still, it can be managed by creating a list of three to four major tasks that need to be completed each day. If by the end of the day you’re not finished with an item, just move it to the top of the next day’s task list. This will help you to leave work feeling accomplished, rather than stressed and overwhelmed.
2. When you're home you think about work—and not in a good way
We all take work home with us in one way or another. If you’re at home and your thoughts of work involve praying the building catches on fire before you have to leave home in the morning though, it might be time for a little break. Americans are notorious for not using their vacation time (or even lunch breaks, for that matter). Getting away from the office for a while can help you refocus, recharge, and hopefully make work a fun place to be again. Try a vacation to someplace relaxing. No money? Staycations are a great way to recharge too. Anything to get you out of the office!
3. You’ve stopped thinking about the next step, and about greener pastures
If you’ve given up on landing that big promotion and are now only focused on making it to EOD, or about all the “better” places you could be working, it doesn’t always mean that you need a new job. Sometimes it means that you’re mentally in a rut. And if you’re psychologically stuck, your career will eventually get there too.
Take a step back and try to come up with new goals that’ll help your work experience seem fresh and new. Enroll in a workshop or learn a new skill, anything that’ll help keep your mind sharp and focused on your career goals.
Learning to recognize and cope with workplace burnout is essential, not only for your career, but for your health as well. Taking a moment to step back, regroup and recharge can make a world of difference and give you the opportunity to see your job through a new set of eyes.