Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the emails you need to read and meetings you need to attend? You go into the office each morning and find 100 emails you need to read just to get your day started. Then you spend the day running around from meeting to meeting and attending to all those “urgent” matters.
You get back to your desk after all your meets only to find 100 new emails you must read. You look up at the clock – it’s 5 p.m., so once again you start to read your emails and think about all the urgent requests you will have to deal with tomorrow. You stop for a moment, look up from your computer and realize it’s now 7 p.m. and you are starting to feel fatigued, and you know you are done for the day.
Sounds familiar? Well, a recent study reported that on average people have 60 hours worth of work to do on their desk at any given time during the week. Working around the clock answering emails and putting out fires has caused many professionals to reach the point of burnout. It’s been estimated that employee burnout is costing the Canadian economy 50 billion dollars a year, and I am sure it is similar in other countries around the globe.
There are several contributors to workplace burnout, and there are varying degrees of burnout. Below are some actions you can take when you do start to feel you are burning out.
1) Get clear
Setting clear goals and objectives sounds simple, and it can never be over-emphasized, since those goals and objectives direct our work efforts. Many professionals get lost in the daily distractions of emails and “urgent” requests, but most of the time these activities have very little positive impact on organizational goals and objectives.
Getting clear and keeping clear on tasks and actions you need to perform starts with reviewing the overall goals and objectives you are trying to achieve. Then ensuring your actions and your team’s daily actions are influencing those goals and objectives.
2) Set boundaries
I am often amazed when working with clients how little attention or thought they sometimes give to establishing boundaries, both personally and professionally. Setting boundaries and sticking to them is the “glue” that is required in order to perform at a high level.
This can be something as simple as setting office hours and leaving work each day at a certain time, no matter what. Alternatively, it might be setting aside two hours in order to focus on a strategy document you need to write without any disruptions and distractions. I know, it might sound simple, or it might sound unrealistic, but the impact of setting boundaries will be immeasurable.
3) Say yes or no
Related to setting boundaries and getting clear is the ability to say yes and no. Once my clients learn to say no to activities that don’t align with their goals and objectives and say yes to the activities that do, they are able to achieve goals and objectives with greater ease and enjoyment. Learning this performance skill and using it regularly often directs people and teams away from the burnout zone and keeps them performing as high-level performers.
Most actionable performance skills sound simple and easy when reading and talking about them. However, when you start to take small performance improvement steps and practice them consistently, you will start to see measureable improvement in your performance.
Turn Your Knowledge into Action
Use one of these actions this week to help move you towards your performance goals and objectives and away from the burnout zone.
All the best in achieving your highest performance.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net