The Surprising Reason Behind Burnout (And How To Battle Back)

Burnout—being in a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that negatively impacts your work and life—is on the rise. An Indeed survey shows that more than half (52 percent) of U.S. professionals are experiencing burnout this year, up from 43 percent before the pandemic.
Work-related burnout can leave you feeling exhausted from seemingly never-ending demands. When you’re burned out, you may have physical symptoms like headaches or difficulty sleeping. Unrelenting stress may also leave you irritable or unable to think creatively.
Garrett Mitchell, the lead engineer for Twobird, says smartphones and remote work have only opened the door to more burnout. You may feel like everyone else is more productive than you, and you end up feeling defeated and behind.

But why do people feel this way? According to Garrett, the unlikely culprit is a lack of laziness. Many professionals think working harder is the way to fight back against burnout. However, this isn’t the answer and can exacerbate your stress.

Could you use a few quick reminders on the importance of taking breaks? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Mitchell’s thoughts on burnout and how to avoid it.

Remember the cost of every activity. How many times an hour do you check your email? How about your phone? Every message you read and send comes with an associated cost. This means you’re tapping into your mental energy with every decision. For example, do you reply to that email now? Do you return that text before or after your call? It may not seem like your day is packed with large, important projects, but all the little decisions add up over time.

Pay attention to how you feel. You know yourself better than anyone. If you’re feeling unmotivated, understand that those feelings are usually there for a good reason, says Mitchell. They can be an early warning sign that you’re overworked, which means you’ll be less productive and less effective. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself permission to take a break. You can’t fix the problem of being overworked by working more, notes Mitchell. Instead, you need to set boundaries and take time to rest.

Accept laziness as a way to be more efficient. It sounds counterintuitive but allowing yourself to rest and step away from work occasionally can lead to more creativity and better results. In fact, science supports the benefits of doing less unnecessary mental labor. Mitchell points out a study that reveals that participants who daydreamed while completing a mundane task performed better on a subsequent creative task than those who completed the mundane activity without daydreaming.

Let some things go. Every ping on your phone and computer is a distraction, but not every one of these communications is equally important. Remember that you don’t need to respond to every message right away. Reserve your energy for the day’s most important tasks and postpone the demands that don’t warrant your immediate attention.

When you’re accustomed to working almost nonstop, it can be challenging to tap the brakes and even stop sometimes. However, continuing to work hard with little rest is a sure path to burnout. Allow yourself to shake the negative connotation of being lazy. Sometimes, a little unstructured down time is the best thing you can do for your overall well-being.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Garrett Mitchell is the lead engineer for Twobird, an all-in-one inbox for task management.

filed under October 2021
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