Am I burned out?


Jamie Street

<Republished>

So I completed a little quiz on how “burned out” I was in my position.  According to the quiz I should be seeking professional help quickly.  Of the three different areas covered I was at the extreme end of the scale on all three.

So, thinking that this was an anomaly I completed four additional tests on whether I was burning out. (Oh, the lengths I go to in order to write one of these morning notes.)  I was pleased to learn that only two of the five tests said that I should be seeking professional help while the other three pegged me as “moderately” burned out.  That kind of made my day.

Although each test I took was different there were some common threads that seem to be woven through them that were indicators of whether or not you were susceptible to burnout or in a role that was susceptible to burnout.  Guess what?  My role, indeed the role of my team, was a prime candidate for burnout.  If you are in an operational role, responsible for the operations of almost anything on a day to day basis you are in a role that is more susceptible to burnout.  That is simply just the nature of the work that we are in.

So, what can you/we do to reduce the risk of burnout?

  • Reduce the number of interruptions you experience throughout the day.  Interruptions include text messages, email, phone calls, instant messaging, drop by visits, etc.  The more interruptions the less likely you are to feel that you are accomplishing something.
  • If possible, plan your day out to the hour.  If you are in a position where it is possible to plan your day on an hour by hour basis, do so as soon as you can.  The feeling of order and accomplishment is magnified by the fact that you were able to successfully complete your schedule.  You may be in a position where this is impossible and if you are, don’t even try this route as it may exacerbate the problem.
  • Take a walk at lunch and while you are on your walk listen to music or an audiobook.  Take you mind away from your work so that it has time to relax.
  • Reduce the number of “work in progress” items you have going on.
  • Do something different.  Sometimes routine is what contributes to the burnout.  Do something different like going to a convention or write a novel. Do something different with the intent of experiencing something new.
  • Talk to someone.  It is amazing how much talking to someone can actually reduce stress.

Or, if you’re like me, you read and read a lot.  Starting in July I was aiming to read a book a week until Christmas.  I finished reading my 25th book on Sunday, almost four months ahead of schedule and I am reading all sorts of books.  I’m doing something different and it feels pretty good.

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