It’s that time of year again when we’re racing to beat the clock, and stress is mounting. End-of-year reports are due, you haven’t gotten your annual raise, you don’t have a clear idea of what your boss wants on your latest assignment, and numerous other projects are piling up on the corner of your overstuffed desktop. Tick. Tock. These worries, combined with the busier holiday schedule, probably leave ready to hit the “snooze” button — all day.
You might be experiencing some of the symptoms of burnout, such as fatigue, stress, cynicism, and, the most concerning, inefficacy. In other words, you may feel like you’re not doing a very good job, and chances are you’re right.
One of the most difficult challenges for employees, and one that leads to stress and burnout, is the inability to establish healthy work boundaries. The most successful people are those who learn and practice this skill. By incorporating healthy self-care techniques, the feelings of renewed energy and accomplishment will come naturally.
If you think you’re suffering from burnout and need a new perspective, let’s create some goals that will help you alleviate the stress, so that when 2018 rolls around you can hit the ground running.
Goal #1 Take your break.
Studies show time and time again that our mind functions better, from a physiology standpoint, when we work for an hour and a half and then take a break. When we work past our break time, we become stressed and tired, and it’s hard to recoup from that. Walk away, take a breather and then dig back in.
Goal #2 Boost your organization skills
Being unorganized can double the time it takes you to complete a task, which increases your stress. By taking the time to organize your workload, you’ll be reducing the time you spend on the task, making deadlines more manageable.
Goal #3 Adapt healthy responses
When the going gets tough, don’t get going for fast food or a stop at the liquor store. Instead, focus on healthy outlets that will boost your physical and mental health. Eating better and exercising both have psychological benefits that will translate to your work performance.
Goal #4 Add “Me Time” to your schedule
Don’t just think about taking some time for yourself, instead mark it on your calendar so you make it a priority.
Goal #5 Find your Do Not Disturb sign
Search just about any job resource site and you’ll see the same question over and over, “My boss wants me to work 24/7, what can I do?” It’s easy to feel pressured to further blur your home and work boundaries. Resist. Spend your evenings and weekends with your family. If you’re in the midst of a big project, make an exception. Otherwise, remember, you can stop work overload by setting boundaries.
People who work from home face unique challenges when it comes to work boundaries. If you’re a home-based employee, managing work boundaries will come with some unique challenges. Use these tips to:
- Create a designed work space. If you’re working from the family room or your bedroom, it’s harder to establish work and personal time boundaries. Use an unused bedroom, or the basement to set up your working area.
- Get dressed the same as if you’re going to work, which will improve your productivity.
- Take a break to finish some laundry or prepare for dinner. This will recharge you.
- Plan uninterrupted time for projects. If you’re working on something big, schedule a time to complete it interruption free. Don’t let distractions hinder your work quality.
- Have a quitting time. Failure to establish an end to your day will result in working longer hours, which leads to dissatisfaction over time.
As you head into the new year, establishing these goals will help renew your passion for your work, and, more importantly, for yourself. Get some extra rest, and accept some extra help. Plan some extra exercise. Take some extra deep breaths. And who knows, maybe come 2018 you’ll be getting that raise you’ve been waiting for.