6 Ways to Salve Burnout Before It's Career Terminal
“I’m so burned out!” What entrepreneur hasn’t uttered that phrase on occasion?
While it’s likely that you’ll use this line when you’re stressed or burning the midnight oil while reconciling your monthly accounts, it’s a signal you need to take action before you cross the threshold into where it keeps you from working or having any interest in your job.
1. Attend a conference
If you’re feeling burned out by the day-in, day-out routine of your job, it’s time to get out of town. Every industry holds conferences, often several a year. Attending an industry event will energize and revive your interest and pride in your chosen field. You’ll learn from industry experts, meet inspiring people and come home with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.
2. Do more of what you enjoy.
Are you really spending your work time doing what you really enjoy? Or does that get pushed to the side while other, mundane, tasks take priority? Take an inventory of how you spend your day by keeping a journal. Divide a page into two columns, one for the things you don’t enjoy and one column for those you do. Each time you perform a task during the day, record it in one of the two columns along with how much time you spent doing it. Tally the number of tasks and hours spent at the end of the day, or week. If your “don’t like” column towers over the “like” this may be what’s causing your burnout.
One way to do more of what you do like and are best at is to delegate tasks you don’t enjoy. Things like bookkeeping, filing, blog writing, cold calling or marketing can be outsourced to professionals who specialize in those areas. You should be spending your time on income-producing activities anyway, which give you a thrill each time a new contract is signed. Nothing creates enthusiasm more than doing what you love.
4. Get involved outside the office.
Ask yourself what gets you excited outside of the office. Is it a sport, a craft, a new hobby or volunteer work? This is the time to indulge in a little more of that favored activity. There are ways you can bring parts of your passion into the office. Bring in a ball to toss around while you’re brainstorming, post pictures of your adventures at sea or start a sports team and get your co-workers to join. Encourage others at work to participate in a company-wide charitable contribution. You’ll all be working toward a greater cause and having fun together at the same time.
5. Do something different.
Many people find themselves in a rut, doing the same thing the same way, day after day, year after year. Maybe it’s time to shake things up and do them a different way. This could be as simple as reorganizing your office with colored file folders that both brighten the interior and give you a new organizational flow. Or it could be as mind-expanding as focusing on a new niche.
6. Move on.
If you really cannot find a single spark of desire in your career, it might be time to move on. Look for ways to parlay your knowledge and experience into related fields, or go back to school to learn a new skill or take on an entirely new field.
Try a few of these ideas and save yourself from getting burned out. Life is too short to spend it on a job, project or career that makes you miserable.
Related: How to Avoid Burnout in Your Team