The stress to perform above and beyond at work can have unwanted effects if not managed efficiently—especially when working in a high-pressure environment.
One of these effects is called burnout. Burnout can make you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, unmotivated, and just plain done with your position. (Here’re more early signs of a burnout!)
Feeling burnt out at the office is the exact opposite of feeling happy and fulfilled in your work, and can lead to a huge dip in overall life satisfaction.
As such, we want to ensure you have the tools to work well under pressure, so you can avoid burnout and stay motivated from nine to five. Here’s how to work under pressure so you won’t burn yourself out:
1. Learn how to recharge
In many industries, it’s not uncommon for workers to experience long hours or to find themselves working during their time off. Focusing on work for more than 50 hours a week is a fast-track to burnout, but the good news is, it can be prevented.
To stop burnout in its tracks, the key is to learn how to recharge.
Often, when we devote so much of our time to maximizing our productive output, we try and find ways to squeeze in extra productivity wherever we can. This could be (you guessed it) more work, chores around the house, working on side businesses, you name it.
In order to prevent ourselves from becoming burnt out, it’s important to relax during your downtime in order to fully recharge whenever possible. If you’re like me and have a tough time letting yourself “do nothing” but relax, it may be time to try meditation or proven relaxation techniques to get your mind and body into the zone of total relaxation.
2. Utilize workplace perks
Does your employer offer unique benefits such as a gym membership, yoga classes, or company-sponsored outings? How about common offerings like a health club or book club?
Partaking in your workplace’s special benefits and events can help you de-stress from work and provide an opportunity to get to know co-workers outside of a work setting.
Participating in workplace events while focusing on your health can have a fantastic effect when preventing burnout. This route will help you take care of yourself and find some time to unwind and enjoy your time—two things that should take high priority when preventing burnout.
3. Be a team player
A major contributor to burnout is a sneaky one: the pressure to do everything on your own.
If you prefer to do all of your tasks alone without an ounce of help, you definitely aren’t alone. However, you’re probably at an increased risk for burnout if you let the pattern continue.
There’s no shame in asking for help from your coworkers or management team. In fact, colleagues who often work together are more likely to reduce stress at work and lower their chances at burnout. Asking your management and support staff for assistance can also reduce stress, as you gain the opportunity to get on the same page as your boss regarding expectations and workload, as well as the chance to get to know them better.
When you have a strong team and support system, you’ll open yourself up to more resources when it comes to reducing stress while meeting goals at work.
3. Get your priorities straight
When it comes to performing under pressure, my favorite tip is prioritization.
Prioritizing all the tasks and goals you need to accomplish at work can set you on a clear path to achieving them while cutting out overwhelming clutter and less important items from your schedule.
When you narrow your focus point, you allow yourself to see exactly what needs to get done and the bulk of your time becomes devoted to accomplishing those set goals. So, not only will you be effectively managing your tasks and time, but you’ll be preventing burnout head-on by reducing the stress from becoming overwhelmed by unnecessary or secondary tasks on the job.
Bonus: the feeling of accomplishment you get from tackling your most important tasks can help keep you motivated and even raise your overall job satisfaction!
4. Ban procrastination
While prioritizing can be a surefire way to perform well under pressure while simultaneously preventing burnout, this plan of attack only works if you actually do it.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, a cause (and subsequent symptom) of burnout is the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted at work.
The best way to feel overwhelmed in the office is to let tasks, especially the big ones, pile up until you’re faced with a mountain of work with an impossible deadline. So, the solution is easy: you have to ban procrastination from your workplace habits.
By forgoing procrastination and focusing on prioritization instead, you’ll already have the tools and plan of attack to perform well under pressure while preventing burnout from interrupting your life. The best part of banning procrastination is that this habit can also follow you into your life outside of work, allowing you to be more productive and get important things done quickly.
This is a huge bonus since you’ll have more time to relax, guilt-free, knowing you’ve taken care of your priorities.
If you start feeling the signs of early burnout, like feeling mildly cynical, irritated, exhausted, or overwhelmed at work, then you may need to set some time aside for reflection. During this time, it’s a great idea to take a look at your work situation from the big picture to the little details.
Do you have the ability to change the things that stress you out in the workplace? Do you like your role? Do you feel fulfilled? Would a department switch or less work make you feel less overwhelmed? What about working at a brand new company, or a brand new career? Perhaps your main stressor is a difficult coworker or a temporary task?
Really analyzing your situation can show you if your early burnout is a sign of temporary unease or a sign of worse things to come. But don’t be alarmed—if your analysis makes you realize you’re on the road to full-blown burnout, there is hope yet. You have the ability to begin making changes for the things you can control, and working on accepting the things you can’t.
Even better, catching the signs of burnout early can help you make big decisions like going for a promotion or switching companies (or even careers!) with a clearer head. This is why it’s important to catch early, as once you’ve fully reached burnout, the stress, anxiety, and overwhelming nature of the situation can influence your decisions, and not always for the better.
The important takeaways from this post are to allow yourself to perform well under pressure by prioritizing and taking care of yourself. This means making the most of your downtime, staying healthy, asking for help, and setting good work habits that can help you manage tasks, time, and stress.
And remember: it’s never too late or too early to do a little (or a lot of) self-reflection when it comes to your work—it could mean the difference between succumbing to early burnout or preventing it and thriving in your position.
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