Burnout symptoms. Go on, kick ’em to the kerb
There is nothing I hate more than struggling to fall asleep with the day’s check-list cycling through my head. Then, when I finally doze off, my dreams are filled with spreadsheets, powerpoints and urgent reports.
Suddenly, I sit bolt upright in a cold sweat, realising that I’ve forgotten to email my boss the final version of the presentation for tomorrow morning’s meeting. Cue mini panic attack and ZERO sleep for the rest of the night!
Burnout symptoms – how many do you have?
Being demotivated, exhausted, anxious and stressed is not fun, yet more than ever we face increasing pressure to work harder and longer at the office, with the expectation to be ‘online’ and contactable 24/7. As a result, our desire for perfection means that many of us are merging our identity and self-worth with our ability to deliver and perform. And when you’re a type-A perfectionist like I was, pushing yourself and obsessing over work to the point of burnout is pretty much guaranteed.
According to Psychology Today, Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to:
- physical and emotional exhaustion
- cynicism and detachment
- feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
You don’t have to burnout to succeed, here’s why
Believe it or not, we actually have more power than we realise to get ourselves and our work lives under control.
These three mindset shifts helped me go from frazzled basketcase to daily zen master.
1. Face fear like a #boss
I used to sit at my desk, head in one hand as I watched my inbox flood with urgent requests, last minute meetings, questions and instant messages. I felt sick with panic, frozen to my chair and terrified to talk to anyone for fear of bursting into tears. But, when I look back now, it wasn’t the million emails which were the source of the terror. It was that lil’ old F-Word: failure.
They are going to realise I’m a fraud
The fear of being found out, that maybe I was incapable, incompetent and a fraud.
Let’s get real: the things we freak out about one week rarely matter months down the track. Right? Think back a few months or even to last year, did that spelling mistake in the firm-wide email really matter? Remember when you sent that report three days late? Me neither. I do remember that it was an excellent report, though.
Don’t sit frozen at your desk in fear. You’re not going to be yelled at or fired. Face the fear, breath, take action, ask for help, stay calm, make a plan and do whatever you need to get over the only thing that truly holds you back – analysis paralysis!
2. Move from being problem focused, to solution driven
It is much easier to identify the negatives in a situation than it is to see the positives. Being hardwired to see threats first has allowed us to survive millennia. Unfortunately, in the business world these instincts don’t serve us well.
One thing I find helpful to adjusting my mindset for problem solving is daily journaling. Everyday I make sure that I brainstorm solutions to my life problems.
I also write down three things that I am grateful for each day. This helps to shift the patterns of my sub-conscious thinking from negative to positive.
Staying consistent with journaling meant that over weeks and months, I no longer felt overwhelmed by a problem, or helpless to fix it. Instead, I felt empowered because I was able to gain clarity around my thoughts and see the problem for what it was. A fixable problem, not a world-ending disaster.
There is a solution to every problem. If you find yourself fixated on an issue, don’t dwell on it. Instead, ask yourself “what three actions can I take to fix this?” Make a plan and execute it. You could also take this to your boss, who will no doubt give you brownie points for being solution driven and proactive. Hellllooo future promotion!
3. Find what’s most important to you and your career, then delegate the rest
I’m going to be really frank with you: 80% of the things you do every day are a complete waste of time. They are probably stressing you out and are contributing nothing to your career growth or personal development. With this in mind, the biggest mindset shift I made as a type-A perfectionist was determining how my workload fitted into these three buckets:
- what’s urgent and important
- what’s not urgent, but still important
- what’s urgent but not important
Divide your priorities into these three buckets
The first bucket is filled with projects and tasks which need to be done now. They will grow your skills and progress your career progression in the short term. Think in terms of goals that will get you that bonus.
The second bucket is for long term goals: large projects which will make you stand out above the rest. Think of it in terms of what will earn you that promotion as the end game.
Finally, toss into the last bucket those urgent yet unimportant tasks such as emails, requests and day to day stuff which bog you down, contribute to your stress levels, long hours and eventually, burnout. The risk of focussing on these is that you’ll remain stagnant in your job because so much energy is being diverted to this bucket and you have little to show for all your hard work.
Be brutal with your to-do list and smart with your time. Attribute more time to the tasks which will give you greater returns in your career and self improvement, both in the short and long term. Then, to the extent possible, delegate the rest. That’s what your team, your assistants and VAs are for!
Did you recognise any of these burnout symptoms? Are you often stressed at work when emails flooding your inbox or the constant ‘ping’ of your phone? Do you have any savvy tips or tricks to combat work related stress? Please share in the comments below!
If you would like to talk to a professional about burnout symptoms, please refer to the resources, below.
Bron is an aspiring mindset coach and lifestyle blogger who focuses on personal growth, specifically focusing on how we can create our own version of success. Check out her work at www.allkindsofme.com
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Burnout symptoms. Go on, kick ’em to the kerb