10 tips to avoid burning out


June 11, 2019 / Productivity / Greg Atkinson

A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 67% feel burned out “sometimes, often or always” with 23% in the “often or always” categories. Almost all of us will experience this feeling at some point within our careers. Here are 10 ways to avoid or alleviate it:

1) Stay active

tips to avoid burnout
Healthy body, healthy mind.

Exercise is an important stress reliever. Your body releases significant endorphins during and after being active. Furthermore, the more you exercise, the more energetic and productive you will be on a regular basis. And if you’re tired after exercise, you are likely to sleep better.  Having the opportunity to exercise with colleagues before, during or after work can also offer many benefits to both your health and your productivity. Tools like Kalido can help you find sports partners in your organisation for any sport or activity.

2) Read

how to avoid burning out
Reading can teach you new strategies for old problems.

Reading has many mental health benefits. At the most basic level, it can help you take your mind off things. But reading can also help you to clarify and solve persistent problems you are facing. It is often said that you only really learn at the point you realise that you don’t know it all. Reading books about leadership, time management, productivity, well-being and topics specific to your field will both keep you up to date, and teach you new strategies for old problems.

3) Get more sleep

how to reenergise yourself
Track your sleep, you’re probably not getting enough.

The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, yet on average we get 6 hours and 19 minutes per night. Chances are, you aren’t getting enough sleep. Consider earlier nights or the odd weekend nap. Track your sleep using something like Sleep Cycle so you are aware of just how much sleep you are actually getting, in order to create an environment whereby you can get enough. And remember, there is such a thing as getting too much sleep.

4) Make meaningful connections

help with burnout
You spend a lot of time with your colleagues. Make the connections more meaningful.

We spend more time at work with our colleagues than we do our own family, friends and loved ones. But how meaningful are those work connections? Kalido can help you uncover more about the skills and interests of your colleagues so you can make more meaningful connections. And as you build those connections, it can help you get introductions to others in order to broaden your network.

5) Delegate effectively

help I am burning out
Many hands make light work.

If you are in a leadership position, are you truly empowering your team to take ownership and flourish? As the saying goes ‘no woman or man is an island.’ You are not going to win any wars by going into battle alone. Kalido can help you uncover the full range of skills available in your teams. Using this knowledge, you can create and shape project teams more easily, and feel confident in assigning work to the people you know have the right skills to handle it.

6) Work flexibly

better worklife balance
Ask for a flexible working environment to have a better work/life balance.

A recent survey of nearly 2000 UK employees found that 60% want access to a range of flexible working options. Yet only 47% feel they have flexible options. Burnout is not always related to the workplace, but without flexible ways to address issues outside of work, personal issues can easily start to affect your work. Whether you need time for your partner, family, or community, strict working arrangements create huge barriers to balancing personal and professional commitments. Explicitly requesting and championing an environment where you can be flexible will create a better work-life balance for you and your colleagues, and everyone else you interact with.

7) Prioritise

productivity tips
Focus on the things that are important to you.

Feel like everything is Priority One? Everything probably is, to them. The reality for you is that everything can’t be a priority. Focus on the items that you have control over, and directly help you achieve your company’s mission, vision, and purpose. As a secondary prioritisation mechanism, consider sorting things into quick wins, high impact but long term initiatives, and nice-to-haves. Don’t be afraid to have honest and direct conversations about prioritisation, and to push back to stakeholders and partner teams. If no one else knows what else is on your plate, and how you are prioritising it, everyone will always feel they can ask you for more without knowing how they can help you with what you already have.

8) Talk

reenergise your career
It’s good to talk.

If you feel like you are burning out or have burnt out – talk to someone. It might not feel natural at first, but it will give you a chance to vent, and ideally get some help and advice from superiors, peers, friends, family or experts.

9) Travel

causes of burnout
Get some much needed R & R

It might sound obvious, but book a holiday. Taking time off is essential to appreciating balance and re-calibrating. Travel broadens the mind, and even if you decide on a staycation, you can still experience something new in your own neighbourhood,  while being in a relaxing environment and mindset. You’ll come back refreshed, and with a new perspective.

10) Work with purpose

ways to stop burning out
At the end of the day, what mark will you leave?

Have you ever questioned what your purpose is? Why are you here? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. More employees want to work for purpose driven organisations (our take on it is here), so they can make a difference they care about, in the time they have. Question whether your purpose and that of the company are aligned. If they aren’t, consider whether it might be time for a change? There are many factors that go towards creating a fruitful career, not just the paycheck. Sometimes, family commitments, geographic constraints, or other factors can prevent us from changing jobs outright. But even then, changing how we work, or shifting roles within the same organisation, can sometimes be a possibility. And if even that is out of reach, there are still 9 other items in this list that might be possible.

Remember, the sun will rise and fall each day regardless of whether you finish that task or not. But if you don’t address burnout, both your health, and your ability to ever finish that task are at risk, so take care of yourself first.