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Last Updated on August 21, 2020

How to Recover From Burnout Quickly and Feel Better

How to Recover From Burnout Quickly and Feel Better

Professionals who experience burnout from work are often experiencing other difficulties in life that are compounding. While burnout can feel like a never-ending set of negative emotions, you can learn how to recover from burnout and feel better. If you do things right, burnout recovery may not even take very long!

Burnout can come with physical and mental symptoms. Meanwhile, you can suffer from burnout even if you are satisfied with your job and career. Therefore, learning how to recover from burnout is essential if you want to continue being productive and satisfied in your life and career.

Does Exhaustion Cause All Burnouts?

Christina Maslach and Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” in the 70s[1]. As psychologists, they independently understudied the impact of burnout on health workers and social service workers. They targeted their respondents based on chronic stress experienced, as well as the volume of interaction they had with others daily.

They discovered that burnout is not necessarily about exhaustion. There could be a detachment that comes in the form of displaying cynical behaviors towards clients or colleagues.

Also, it could come in the form of a sense of hopelessness or self-defeat with work.

Maslach subsequently came up with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, or MBI. This model is an inventory of 22 things that measure the three dimensions of burnout: depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and personal accomplishment. This model eventually turned out to be a measuring tool, or a blueprint, in the industry[2].

Furthermore, a group of Danish scientists developed a newer model known as the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, or CBI. This model analyzed burnout on three different dimensions: personal, work-related, and client-related[3].

All the aforementioned burnout models are quite complex, so instead of looking at them, you can consider these symptoms to see if you’re experiencing burnout. From there, you can begin to learn how to recover from burnout in a way that is unique to you.

Symptoms of Burnout From Work

Symptoms of burnout vary widely depending on the type of work you do, the environment you work in, the the kind of personality you have. If you notice any of these things, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout:

  • You’ve lost interest in your present job or project but cannot terminate it.
  • You’re always exhausted.
  • You need to motivate yourself to carry out the smallest tasks.
  • You feel you are compensated less compared to the value you bring into the job or project.
  • You have withdrawn from interacting with others.
  • You become short-tempered while communicating with clients and colleagues.
  • You have turned to bad habits like drugs, alcohol, high sugar intake, sedentary lifestyle, or overeating.
  • You question life and career choices generally.
  • You are experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, heart palpitations, or stomachaches.

The good news is that you can come out of it and learn how to recover from burnout once you become aware of the signs.

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5 Strategies to Recover From Burnout Quickly

The following strategies may help you bounce back from burnout.

1. Focus On Your Projects

The famous American Psychologist Abraham Maslow, in 1943, reiterated that anyone could achieve happiness as long as they can expressed themselves and maximized their potential.

This is what he termed “self-actualization.” He warned:

“The story of the human race is that of men and women selling themselves short.”[4]

Successful leaders of companies understand the significance of self-actualization. That’s why they allow their employees to work on personal or social projects. They also enable their workers to come up with and own social projects, which they implement as corporate social responsibilities.

If you’re working a 9-5 job, ensure you dedicate some hours in the morning or evening to personal projects, such as creating a blog or an app that solves problems for others.

That way, you can express your values while striving to attain your professional goals. This will help you feel a sense of control over how you are spending your time. Set boundaries between your personal and professional life to improve this. 

2. Practice Mindfulness

Meditation is a time-tested strategy to deal with burnout. According to research from Denmark, consistent meditation is connected to the development of more gray matter in your brain stem[5]. This can improve memory, self-control, decision-making, and more.

You can rewire your mind and brain to be more focused and productive by practicing meditation daily. Start small. Take a 10-minute break during work or early in the morning to practice mindfulness.

3. Detoxify Through Exercise

Toxins are poisons locked up in your system. One of the best things to do when you are learning how to recover from burnout is to detoxify through exercise. Exercise can increase your heart rate, which pumps blood faster and detoxifies your system.

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Have you noticed that you naturally feel better after a prolonged exercise that raises your blood pressure?

Anxiety is one of the major symptoms you will experience when you’re burned out from work, and exercise is a great way to quickly relieve that anxiety.

Joshua Broman, in a 2004 study, revealed that students who practiced exercise became less sensitive to anxiety[6]. Several additional studies have buttressed this benefit.

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine by swimming before work, taking a long walk in the afternoon, or spending some time at the gym in the evening.

4. Practice Journaling

Writing can heal. Writing about your emotions and experiences on a daily basis helps you process them, which can expedite the healing process.

One prominent literature review supported the idea that writing about your experiences can generate long term improvements in your mood and health[7].

How do you experience this healing when you are burned out from work life?

Keep a professional journal!

For instance, you can take a thirty-minute break during your weekends or quiet moments to assess your performance, progress, and the challenges you have faced in the past few days.

Itemize your achievements — the projects as well as the challenges that are holding you back. You can also list some uncertainties or questions about your present work. That way, you can discover patterns in your professional life and reflect on the next action to take.

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Journaling can enable you to discover solutions to potential issues before they surface. This technique is highly practical for those who love expressing themselves. However, if you don’t enjoy writing, you can use the bullet point format or memo feature on your phone to record answers to those questions.

5. Estimate the Tasks

Do you often feel like a superhuman when it comes to working, and then barely complete half of what you have planned to do?

If this is a common problem for you, try to learn how to accurately estimate how much time a task will take and how many tasks you can do in a day. When in doubt, overestimate the time.

It takes practice to become perfect in estimating tasks. Nevertheless, a surefire strategy that you can use to ensure you are working on the most important tasks is called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, shown below.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to learn how to recover from burnout.

    You can recover from burnout by revamping your work strategy using this model. Find out what task deserves most of your attention and in what order by establishing priorities.

    5 Job Burnout Triggers

    Once you have learned how to recover from burnout, it’s important to be able to recognize burnout triggers so that you can avoid more burnout in the future. Burnout recovery is best when you don’t have to use it!

    There are many things that may trigger burnout. Here are the most common culprits.

    1. Workload

    You can be more productive when you are working on a workload that aligns with your capacity. You will face more opportunities to rest and recover. It will also be an avenue for you to develop yourself and grow.

    That’s not the case when you are overloaded with work or are facing unrealistic deadlines set by your boss. You will lose the chance of regaining your balance.

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    2. Absence of Autonomy

    The feeling that you don’t have access to vital resources and a say in various decisions that affect your professional life can impact your health.

    For instance, do you receive calls from your boss all night? Does your company saddle you with responsibilities beyond your capacity? Do you have what it takes to influence your work environment?

    3. Environment

    Who do you collaborate with? How trusting and supportive are those work relationships? In some instances, you can’t choose your work environment or colleagues, but you can optimize the relationship.

    Your environment can upgrade your engagement or downgrade it.

    4. Reward

    If the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards on the job don’t align with your level of effort, you may begin to feel a lack of motivation to exert any effort at all.

    For instance, you may need a face-time with your employer, positive feedback, or an increase in your compensation.

    Find out which reward makes you feel appreciated, and seek avenues to receive more of it.

    5. Values Mismatch

    If you are working in an organization that doesn’t share your same values, you will continue to see a decline in your level of motivation. Motivations and values are inbuilt in people and organizations. For instance, if you strongly believe in making an impact first, before money, you will experience burnout on the job in an organization that prioritizes money over impact.

    Final Thoughts

    Burnout from work is not only about getting exhausted. It is a multidimensional issue that demands a multifaceted solution.

    Don’t forget, you need to diagnose the problem first and make the best effort to change. If, despite all, you still fail, then you might need to reassess your work and decide if you’re where you need to be.

    More Tips on How to Recover From Burnout

    Featured photo credit: Doğukan Şahin via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on September 30, 2020

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

    Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

    Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

    Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

    Effective vs Efficient

    Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

    A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

    Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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    The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

    Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

    When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

    Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

    The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

    If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

    When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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    • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
    • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
    • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

    Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

    Efficiency in Success and Productivity

    Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

    Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

    The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

    If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

    Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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    The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

    Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

    If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

    It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

    Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

    Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

    Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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    By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

    It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

    Bottom Line

    Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

    • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
    • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
    • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

    And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

    More on How to Improve Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
    [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
    [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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