Work Wednesday: Three Ways to Prevent Burnout

home office

Back to semi-regular scheduled programming. I am by no means a house restoration expert, and while I do plan to share what’s been going on in my personal corner of the world, this isn’t a space dedicated solely to home renovation. So today, I’m here to talk about something incredibly relevant in my work life: ways to prevent burnout – especially when your personal and professional life can be equally hectic.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I am incredibly lucky to work for an employer who values the health and wellbeing of its employees. While things were falling apart (literally) at home last week for myself and many of my colleagues, my workplace was incredibly flexible. I was able to get myself together, and I’m fully back at work as of this week.

But, just because I’m in front of my computer, doesn’t mean that my mind isn’t a million other places. This week, especially, I’ve found it pretty hard to focus. And, after talking with several work friends who are going through the same thing, it seems to be a common theme. It was a disastrous event, and we owe ourselves some grace. So, I’m digging into both work – and taking care of things on the home front, knowing that this, too, shall pass. I’m sharing three tips on this “Work Wednesday” to prevent burnout. After all, you just can’t be your best self if you are tired and burning the candle at both ends.

Three Tips to Prevent Burnout

  1. Make a list. Several if you need to. I make one list for work that is stored in a calendar invitation I create for myself each evening before I log off. That way, I know what I need to do the next day, and I am my best self when I have a targeted way to focus on the to-dos that need to get done within each work day. If it’s a bigger project, no problem. I can see it on my list when I log on in the morning, and I can plan out my work day accordingly. Keep a personal list. Usually this consists of vet appointments, errands I need to run, things that need to get done around the house, etc… Now, I’ve also created a third list that I handwrite every day that includes the vendor that will be in my house for the day, the things they will be doing and any work or phone calls that I need to make for the house. With so many things to juggle right now, it’s really important that I stay as focused as I can to make sure that I don’t fall behind on work projects – or that my house project are delayed due to lack of organization. Having the burden of juggling so many things can lead to burnout, but having a list makes everything seem much more doable. We can do this, friends!
Erin Condren

2. Maintain a calendar. I use the Erin Condren Life Planner, where I keep track of both work and personal appointments. I use a digital calendar strictly for work. I love the Erin Condren planner for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it’s cute and it makes my mess look manageable. I can see what my month looks like at a glance and decide when I might need to move things around if it starts looking too out of control.

For example, Buttercup (our lab) is scheduled to have surgery in March, and I completely forgot about that in the craziness of last week. After looking at my calendar on Monday, I know her surgery just isn’t going to happen. I need to make sure she’s comfortable and not stressed in her own home while she’s recovering, and I know she isn’t going to be able to do that with random vendors in and out of the house.

Maintaining control of your calendar allows you to minimize some of the burnout associated with things that can overload both your work and personal schedule. Move things around and spread them out a bit. It doesn’t all have to get done in one day – or even in one week!

Terry Hershey Park | Houston | cycling

3. Honor your weekends. This is a hard one. Because I know that sometimes, there is so much work that it isn’t always possible to not work on the weekend. But, when you are able to step away from the computer and email on your weekends, do it. I very rarely work from my computer on a weekend unless I’m under a deadline or something urgent comes up. I might glance at emails on my phone just to keep track of what’s happening, but I try to avoid emailing other colleagues on the weekend because I think it creates an unfair standard of response time.

I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband owns his own business. And he works a lot. I’m talking evenings and Mondays through Saturdays. So, when we both have time off, where we can really be present with one another, it’s important to step away from the computer and turn off the email. No one wants to be at a dinner when one spouse is checking his or her phone constantly for email. Not to mention the technology fatigue that we all probably have at this point. So, take some time this weekend and step away from your email. You will be more refreshed and better able to tackle your to-do list because of it!


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