Burnout is defined as "a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job. It is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and professional inefficacy." (C. Maslach, MP Leiter, Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior. 2016).
According to Gallup research and their 2018 report on burnout, 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job."
When you abdicate control of your time and priorities by succumbing to the hoards of distractions and fires that can permeate your day, you leave yourself open to the possibility of burnout.
Here are 3 simple changes you can make right away to regain control of your time and priorities so you can avoid burnout.
1. Make Intentional Decisions About Your Priorities
The typical person receives an inbox full of other people's priorities on a daily basis. Often, the first thing we do in the morning is check our emails to see who needs our attention that day. Rather than intentionally setting our own priorities, we rely on our inbox to tell us our priorities. Our priorities become the urgent needs of those around us.
If your role is well defined, you need not rely on your inbox. Effective leaders make a concerted effort on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to list out the most important work they need to attend to. They deliberately decide what goes on their top 5 list for the week, and then they block time on their calendars to complete that work.
Taking it a step further, effective leaders require their teams to do the same. To set out their top 5 priorities each week, intentionally and deliberately. They meet as a team to share their lists so that everyone is aligned. We call this a Weekly Top 5 team meeting, and it is a structured way to ensure your team is focused on the right work.
2. Negotiate Distractions
We all like to be helpful. When someone arrives at our office door to ask us for help, we can't fathom saying no. We don't want to be seen as a poor team player, after all.
Rather than saying no, learn to negotiate. At it's basic form, negotiating your time requires 3 key steps:
3. Align Your Technology
Technology can be helpful (hard as that may be to believe sometimes). There are 3 technological aspects to your time that need to get aligned: