How to Stay Productive Through Burnout

Burnout is real and it can be incredibly detrimental to the work you put forward. Know that you aren’t alone. According to Gallup 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or actively disengaged. Be kind to yourself, and to your team. Ask for help if you can. Get out when you’re ready.

Working in a job you hate is awful, but sometimes it’s a reality of life. Bills still need to get paid and groceries still need to be bought. If you have a family they need to be fed and housed as well. All of this is true, but not necessarily motivating when you have to get up every morning to do a job you do not enjoy. If you’ve come to my blog, this may be you. In fact, hating your job may be what is motivating you to create a side hustle. Unfortunately, until you get there you may need to find a way to work through the burnout of your 9-5 and not get fired for spending your day on Snapchat (or Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, etc). 

1. Make a list of why you are there

Hopefully, you enjoyed your job at some point. Think back to why you applied. Do you connect with the organization’s mission statement? Are you helping, advocating for, or otherwise supporting a population or community you care about? Perhaps you’ve stayed because you have incredible co-workers, clients, or patients. If none of that rings true – a paycheck with benefits is still an important reason to have a job. Instead, list the people you are supporting by sticking it out.

2. List bare minimum priorities

What do you have to do to not get fired? Nobody wants to get fired. It puts you in an uncomfortable situation, and it can be difficult to explain in future job interviews. Write a list of all the things you absolutely have to to do in a day, week, month in order to say confidently that you have met your minimum job requirements. Start by looking at your original job description. This is literally a contract for what is expected of you. From there add all the things you do above and beyond your description. Decide what is benefiting your work and what if “fluff” to fill your time. If you are actively and consciously trying to get fired, then you may just want to consider quitting instead.

3. Schedule your week

Since it is hard to get anything done when you’re feeling burnt out, schedule time in your calendar to get your minimum requirements done. If that doesn’t feel feasible than at least have your list somewhere visible where you can reference it and get things done instead of buying another coffee, gossiping with coworkers, or googling the origins of post-it notes (but actually do the last one sometime – it’s a good story).

4. Is there anything you do like and can do more of?

Go back to your priorities list and highlight all the things you do enjoy doing in green, all the things you can do with ease in yellow. Can you do more of the things you enjoy? Can you delegate anything that isn’t highlighted? Once you are done considering these questions and adjusting your schedule, think about what you would like to do in your current job. If you feel comfortable, bring these ideas to your boss and discuss them together. This will do one of two things. Either it will create more time and space to do things you actually want to do or solidify that you need to find your way out.

5. Make an exit plan

Knowing that your situation has an end date will make your day to day so much more bearable, but for your exit plan to work for you, you’ll need a few more things. Your exit plan should also include deadlines to update your resume, submit your first job application, and ask for informational interviews. Consider maximizing your time outside of work to take classes, read books, and attend networking events or trainings. This is especially important if you plan and switching fields. Bonus if you can find a way to work learning new skills into your current day job. If an exit plan is not in the cards for you right now, at least plan a vacation. You don’t even have to go anywhere. Just give yourself some time to relax and space to rejuvenate.

Burnout is real and it can be incredibly detrimental to the work you put forward. Know that you aren’t alone. According to Gallup 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged or actively disengaged. Be kind to yourself, and to your team. Ask for help if you can. Get out when you’re ready. How do you work through burn-out?

 

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