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8 Signs You Might Soon Approach A Mental Burnout At Work (And How To Fix Them)

8 Signs You Might Soon Approach A Mental Burnout At Work (And How To Fix Them)

A typical capitalist society is built on a few basic, and quite fair postulates – you earn money for the work that you do, and the amount of wealth that you can accumulate is proportional to your ability to thrive in a modern day work environment. However, things are not nearly as clear cut in the real world as they are on paper, and some people end up working incredibly hard to earn their keep. While it is good to be ambitious and to want to invest a bit more energy than the average worker into furthering your career, focusing solely on your work all the time can lead to burnout. Here are some of the common signs that you have reached the point of burnout at work, and that it is time to make some serious lifestyle changes.

1. You lose your temper at every little thing

If you succumb to blind rage every time someone at the office does something mildly irritating, and find yourself giving sarcastic or cynical answers to even the simplest questions, then you are definitely pushing yourself a bit too far at work. We all have bad days, e.g. we may be a bit hungover on Monday or stressed over a breakup, but if you are constantly in a bad mood, it’s a clear sign of being overworked.

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2. You feel like you are always behind schedule

A common thing that most people who are near a mental burnout feel is the irrational fear of failure. At some point it seems that no matter how much work you put in, there is always something else to be done, and if you just finish up a couple of little things today you’ll be able to breathe easier tomorrow. However, tomorrow brings additional obligations and you get stuck in a self-perpetuating loop of worrying, working your fingers to the bone and then worrying some more.

3. You are constantly under tons of mental fatigue

You get to the office, make some coffee and have a few big gulps to wake yourself up, but even after 2-3 cups and several hours you still feel like there is a thick cloud weighing down on your head. This often happens when people push themselves a bit too hard and fail to get enough rest, both in terms of breaks at work and getting enough sleep art home.

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4. You feel that you lack control over your own life

With all the job-related stress, an airtight schedule and tons of little annoyances, it can feel like the entire world is plotting against you. However, if you find yourself blaming others for the fact that your life has become a hectic mess, and feeling like there is nothing that you can do to make things better, i.e. all the logical options that your friends offer like “well, just take a break” or “why don’t you talk to your boss” seem too simplistic, chances are that you have cornered yourself with added obligations and you just don’t want to admit it.

5. You don’t get any joy from the work you do

No matter how menial a task is, a person usually takes at least some pride in the fact that they have done a good job and have earned their paycheck fair and square. Every job has its boring and frustrating sides, but there are always a few redeeming aspects – e.g. the people at work are nice, you get good money for overtime, you get to travel or you meet interesting new people each day. If you can’t seem to get any pleasure from your work, and you once used to, then it’s not just about the job itself, it’s all the extra workload that is keeping you down.

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6. You don’t seem to have any time for friends and family

People who are constantly overworked usually spend very little time with friends and family, and their relationships tend to suffer because of their job. Seeing less of your friends and family throughout the week is a normal part of a responsible hard-working adult’s life, but if it’s been month since you’ve had a family dinner, a cup of coffee with a friend or did something fun and romantic with your significant other, then you might just have a problem.

7. You hardly get any sleep anymore

There are people who’ll brag about surviving with only 4-5 hours of sleep a night and joke about their caffeine addiction, like the fact that they have huge bags under their eyes, are all jittery and sluggish is a good thing. You can’t be nearly as effective when you don’t get enough sleep, no matter how much caffeine you have in you – it’s incredibly unhealthy for you, and you just can’t think as fast as you normally do. If you can’t go to sleep early, either because you are working late or are too stressed to relax, you need to reevaluate some of your life choices.

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8. You feel that your sex drive has been significantly diminished

It is common to experience a reduced sex drive while under a lot of stress, and this can be particularly damaging to a relationship. If you notice that you haven’t really been intimate with your partner in a while, and that you have started getting into fights over little things, it is likely that you are too preoccupied with your work.

What can you do to get back on track?

Once you’ve established that you are nearing burnout, based on some of the signs outlined above, you can try some of these tactics to help you recharge your batteries:

  • Take a nice long vacation and forget all about work for a while – the quickest and most effective way of recovering from a mental burnout is to forget about the job for a couple of weeks and go somewhere fun. If you have some vacation time lined up and a bit of money saved up, then pick a nice location and get some rest.
  • Give up the nine to five and start working from home – this is quite a drastic measure, but it is often the best solution. If you don’t see things changing any time soon, you can simply leave the company and start your own business from home. Now, running your own business can be just as stressful, but setting up a functional online shop is fairly simple nowadays, and you will have all the freedom in the world to set up a schedule that works for you.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew – while showing initiative at work and taking on more challenges with time is a good think, you have to make sure that you don’t burry yourself in the work. If you need more than 9 hours of work, including breaks, to get things done, then it’s time to reduce your workload. A small bonus or a pat on the back isn’t worth losing your nerves over.
  • Talk to the boss about implementing software that allows you to reduce the workload – sometimes people get bogged down by all the mindless grunt work that has to be done in addition to more creative and challenging parts of the job. There is all manner of business process management software that can make everyone’s life a whole lot easier if effectively implemented. If you approach your boss with your concerns and offer a good solution at the same time, there will be no need for things to get hostile.
  • Avoid taking your work home with you all the time – it may be necessary to finish up a few things at home from time to time, but if you are always bringing tons of work home, you won’t be able to get some peace and quiet. Don’t doubt yourself too much, and separate your work and private life.
  • Make it a point to schedule some quiet time with friends at least once a week – you need to spend at least a few hours a week talking with friends or just laughing and having fun. It is a good way to vent, get some advice and recharge your batteries, so make sure to fit the ones closest to you into your schedule.
  • Get some exercise and go to bed a bit earlier – working out gets the blood going, makes you feel energized and focused, carries tons of health benefits, makes you feel better about yourself and helps you get to sleep a bit earlier. Getting a good 8 hours of sleep will do wonders for your concentration and stress levels.

You need to make sure that you are taking several of these steps, and actively trying to minimize your workload and to balance your work and your personal life.

No one can be satisfied at work all the time – even those who love what they do get bored or frustrated at times – and everyone will have to take on a bit of extra work sometime, but if you are always stressed, tired, chasing deadlines and spend very little time with the important people in your life, you are definitely experiencing a mental burnout. Luckily, there are a bunch of things that you can do recover, but you need to identify the signs

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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