How to Prevent Burnout
What is Burnout?
In the world of startups, especially those in the early stages of development, you may be working as hard as up to three or more people. Overworking can often result in something known as ‘burnout’. Burnout by definition is a state of mind in which an individual feels continually heightened levels of stress. Stress results in exhaustion, both mental and physical.
Don’t Hate, Delegate
When you’re exhausted, it doesn’t matter that you’re working all the time because your productivity will always be significantly reduced. It’s important to remember that the quality of our work is always affected by our well being. If you feel as though you’re able to set yourself goals but struggle to achieve them, if you’re detached from a project you were once connected to or if you find yourself regularly responding to tasks with cynicism or resentment, you may have burnout. As most jobs revolve around interpersonal relationships, making sure those involved in both your personal and professional lives are aware of the situation is important.
Without admitting you have a problem, there is no way to solve it. If you’ve been suffering in silence or if your workload is causing you unnecessary stress, speak to your manager about it. If a task is taking too long and your motivation is decreasing, ask other members of your team for help. When you feel negative about your work, colleagues tend to be brought down too. It’s a domino effect. Having too much on your head and failing to finish tasks on a daily basis could make the burnout worse and might even result in or contribute to the burnouts of others!
Know Your Limits
There are several ways of avoiding burnout and although some may seem rather cliche, it doesn’t hurt to try something different. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again but at least you tried! Stress and the ways in which we deal with stress is a personal journey. For example, not all people find yoga or Pilates useful (myself included) as the soothing voice of a yogi or instructor may just frustrate you! The more you know about yourself, the more capable you are of controlling your emotions and ultimately, how those emotions affect your everyday life. Knowledge of our own self awareness is key to unlocking a more positive emotional state.
One task which may be useful is to write down (or type up) ten things you like about yourself (your strengths) and ten things you don’t like about yourself (your weaknesses). Be honest. Identifying any personal strengths you have may aid you in combating your weaknesses. Feeling as though you are insignificant or that your work is insufficient can inevitably lead to stress but it is through these emotions that we’re able to grow. If your work is insufficient, ask yourself why? What’s missing? How can it be improved? Is it possible to ask someone else if or why your work is suffering? There is no shame in seeking help from others. If you feel as though you are insignificant, ask yourself why? It is easy to consider ourselves as lesser than we really are when our achievements aren’t acknowledged or there is no time to make room for improvement. Giving yourself time to reflect on your situation might help more than worrying about it.
Self Discipline is Your Friend
When we’re malnourished, dehydrated or sleep deprived, it is almost impossible to focus on any situation, never mind work. If we set aside the obvious, eating healthily, drinking water regularly and exercising, what else is there? Making sure you have a schedule or routine will enable you to plan your work around your life, not the other way around.
Working to live is no substitute for living to work, if you have no life work balance, burnout will surely ensue. Working to work and living to live will enable you to breakthrough your burnout barrier, extinguishing the flames of stress and instead igniting your fire for success!
When you find time for yourself outside of work, your work environment will be easier to handle. This is where the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ comes into play. There are several apps on the market which may help you feel more organised, there are apps which you can use to take breaks (or just set an alarm) and there are apps you can use during your breaks such as games or e-books to help you relax.
Take Your Time, Unwind
There are so many things we can do that don’t (have to) involve technology such as going for walks (if you have a dog, take it with you), taking a long bath or shower, watching a film, television series, listening to music or reading a book, these are all activities which can help relax your mind. Why not bring the outdoors indoors? Office plants can significantly improve productivity due to their effect on the stress hormone cortisol. When we spend time in green spaces, such as parks and forests, we’re less likely to feel stressed. By spending time with yourself, your friends or family, you will find it much easier to get back on track at work. Making time for yourself and those you care about is powerful therapy.
It is essential that every once in awhile, you switch off. Technology is such a large part of our lives but knowing our personal limits is just as significant. For example, if you know you will not sleep well due to notifications on your phone or tablet, switch it off. If you know that you will check your phone whilst in the gym rather than concentrate on working out, switch it off. This is sometimes known as going ‘OTG’, or ‘off the grid’. Temporarily going off the grid can help you reassess the world around you and put things into perspective for when you return.
How Do You Manage Stress?
At App’n’roll we manage stress in a variety of different ways, although we drink a lot of (delicious) coffee in the office, we always have lemon water available to avoid dehydration. The area surrounding the office is pleasant and our office dog is always willing to go for a walk, we’ve also found that having a pet in the office keeps stress levels down too!
Members of the team use a Sleep Cycle app to make sure they get enough sleep; some of the team leave the office for lunch, while others make use of the balcony, either way everyone gets some fresh air! Staying positive also works for us, we have a lot of laughs which keeps the mood elevated.
We’d love to hear how you and your team avoid burnout where you work. Please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below or via social media (send us some photos or videos too), you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, let’s connect!
All images used are CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).