Let’s face it. Everybody is SO over the Zoom, Webex, Skype, and whatever else video-conferencing service out there. Most of us have hundreds of unread emails in our inbox. 

With all of the dismal headlines about unemployment and furloughs, some people may feel like if they “turn off” it can put them at risk for being let go. Thus, a vicious cycle of overworking and burnout.

However, learning how to be productive and avoid burnout in the workplace is needed now more than ever. 

What is the Meaning of Burnout? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is a special type of work-related stress. It is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion which also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment.

Some may not even realize they are in the midst of experiencing burnout and will often chalk it up to just the normal stress of their jobs. In fact, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health notes a few lies people will tell themselves out the stress work has brought upon them. 

Phrases like “I’m fine”, “I love my job”, “I need a vacation and I’ll be ok”, are all statements people believe are true, but only end up prolonging the issue. Forcing yourself to believe you are OK doesn’t handle the root cause. 

It is important to be in tune with how your mood and environment have changed to spot the employee burnout signs.

Employee Burnout Signs

So how can you tell if you are suffering from burnout? Here are some burnout symptoms you may want to evaluate to see if these seem familiar.

  • You have a hard time concentrating at work
  • Low motivation. Dreading going to work and procrastinating getting started once you arrive
  • Using other coping strategies such as food, drugs or alcohol to deal with the stress of work 
  • Feel unappreciated in your work environment despite all of your accomplishments
  • Suffer from workplace dysfunction and unclear job roles
  • Irritability with coworkers and the workplace overall
  • Fatigue and headaches 
  • Increased frustration, more than usual
  • Increased errors in your work and less efficiency 
  • Negative outlook and attitude towards your work

Prolonged burnout can even transform into depression, which no one wants.

The solution isn’t hiding from work. The solution is to work smarter (not longer). Sometimes all we need is a little structure to help us see the bigger picture, unscramble our tasks, and get a clearer vision. 

If you’re finding yourself experiencing any of the above, working unfathomable hours, unable to manage your workload, or just burned out, we’ve got 3 quick tips for you to help with avoiding burnout in the workplace. 

By the end of this article, you will be thanking us for keeping you sane. 

3 Tips for Managing Burnout in the Workplace & How to Recover 

1. Switch off email notifications on your phone and schedule when to check emails

Sometimes email can seem like a counter-productive tool due to the considerable amount of time we spend managing it. Searching for past emails, sorting, organizing, replying, and deleting emails are all time-consuming.

If you receive email notifications on your phone, you are distracted frequently by your phone, so it’s hard to concentrate on what’s truly important to you. Try being intentional about when you plan to check emails. 

We suggest checking after you’ve gotten through the urgent emails, and after you’ve finished the main tasks of the day, e.g. after 4 pm. 

Using this tip, you actually prioritize your critical work, rather than a false sense of productivity through replying to emails all day long.

2. Focus

I find it interesting when some colleagues go on and on about how they are juggling 5 things at once. Almost as if they’d like a badge of honor for being a “pro-multi-tasker”. 

In actuality, this mindset is not very helpful with productivity. Multitasking can often lead to mediocre work on one project, while you consequently (and simultaneously) have mediocre work on another task. 

I always try and focus on one item, and get it done. And for crying out loud, stop procrastinating. We all do it. 

No matter how many times you seem to have met your deadline, procrastinating is never a good idea. We all know Murphy’s Law: you never know what could change or prevent you from getting something done, so don’t put it off.

3. Make a Hot List.

Do you have a “to-do” list? Does it read like William Faulkner’s long-lost novel? Is it almost a page long? 

A to-do list should not be written in full-blown sentences, nor should it read like an epic. One of the greeting cards in the line comes with a free productivity guide where I share my all-time favorite productivity tips. This one in particular is something I implement every day. 

The Hot List is a daily to-do list, but it can only be comprised of 3 to 5 key items that you must complete. I usually stick to 3 key things a day. 

No, this does not include checking emails or attending meetings (sorry folks). You may be wondering; how can 3 tasks sustain someone for the whole workday? 

Well, these 3 to 5 tasks are not simple tasks like checking emails. These tasks are usually pieces of a bigger project that you likely need to focus on, or a critical presentation (as an example). 

If you’re having trouble zeroing in on 3 to 5 tasks, write down everything that comes to mind, then go back and refine your list by the work that is either more time-sensitive or meaningful. You’ll quickly identify the key tasks. 

Additional Self-Care Tips to Deal With Job Burnout

  • Attach yourself to a job with a purpose and/or mission you can get behind vs. just selecting a job
  • Exercise often
  • Speak to a professional about your work stress to cope responsibly 
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Meditate to help manage stress

For additional help, check out the Hustle & Hope Ultimate Self-Care Guide. With this guide, we break down our T.A.P. method designed to help you re-calibrate and focus on investing in you.

Self care guide