It’s 4 p.m. on a Thursday. You’re sitting at your desk, staring at your Gmail or Outlook inbox. Your email has been checked, so your inbox is clean. Minimized into your taskbar is the project you’ve been working on for the last four days.
It’s just about the only thing you’ve worked on for the past four days, as a matter of fact. And it’s still not done. Your client keeps changing their mind on each and every facet of the project. They want it done by the 16th. Now it’s the 14th. Their promotional budget is $3,500. Now it’s $1,200. Now they don’t have a budget–miscommunication on their end. But it’s your job to fix it.
And, right now, at 4 p.m. on this Thursday, you can’t help but feel done. Simply done. There’s about an hour left in the workday, but you’re as close to running on empty as you can be. Your motivation is hovering around zero, you feel like you need another cup of coffee even though you’ve already had four. Really, what you need is this day to come to an end. Maybe the week, too.
If you’ve experienced something like that at some point in your working career–and I know you have–what you’re suffering from is burnout.
Here are three tried and true ways to help prevent burnout in your office.
Take a Break
Often times, burnout comes as a result of working for hours upon hours on the same project, staring at the same computer screen and sitting in the same desk chair. A quick solution to this problem is simply to take a break. The length of your break will vary, depending on how burnt out you’re feeling.
Sometimes, something as quick as a walk to kitchen to grab a glass of water and afternoon snack can give your mind a break from the monotony of hours of work. If you’re in a position to and not completely constrained on a deadline, take a bit of a longer walk. If it’s a nice afternoon, talk a walk around the block and grab a bite to eat. If you’re really deadline free, consider a vacation. Getting in some rest and relaxation can be the perfect fix for burnout, and is much more fulfilling and permanent than a walk to the kitchen.
Get The Challenging Tasks Done First
If there’s one thing on your docket that needs to be done that you’re particularly dreading, don’t fall into the trap that so many of us do, pushing it back further and further until you’re at the office until 11:30 pm on a Friday evening. Chances are, that project will be weighing on your mind, constantly waiting to be finished, pounding at the walls of your conscious brain like an army at the gates. Instead of putting yourself through this day in and day out, do the tasks that are biggest, most difficult or most looming finished earlier in the day. Not only does this mean they’ll be out of your way for the rest of the day, but those tasks won’t fall victim to the burnout you’re so accustomed to suffering at 4 p.m. every day.
Work on Something New
As I alluded to above, repetition and monotony can breed burnout. If you want to avoid falling into a hole of doing the same things for hours on end, try something new. Mix up your schedule, take a new approach to a project or simply learn something new.
Don’t let your job dictate what you learn and how you learn it. Education breeds innovation, so instead of falling into the trap that your coworkers more than likely have, innovate! Forbes Magazine lists learning new things as a great way to avoid burnout in the office, so next time you’re suffering from a case of burnout, give it a shot.