Knowing how you work best to increase productivity and drive performance can be indispensable throughout your career.
Whether it's a change to your usual routine, or simply that the routine is getting a bit 'too routine' then it's important to reassess what's working for you and what isn't, to keep morale high and avoid burnout at any costs.
Learning how and what your workplace behaviours and triggers are, can be an extremely important life skill that can benefit you in many ways from the results you yield to the. If you are in a working routine that is extremely structured and ridgid or even the complete opposite, maybe now could be the perfect time to try something new.
We have compiled some of our best strategies for tackling and preventing burnout or even that lull feeling that can lead to productivity losses. Right now, your workday may be feeling longer than ever, you are not alone, many people feel like this. It's important that you take action! Whatever the reason, making a positive change to your day can drastically improve you mood and attitude to work. Reboot your routine with our tips below, there’s no better time for you to begin implementing one or two of these methods into your weekly routine.
Know your limits
Switching off from work at the end of the day comes more naturally to some of us than it does to others. Everyone is different, so get well-practiced at spotting your individual warning signs when you’re gradually becoming more overwhelmed. Pay attention to how you are feeling week to week and don’t be hard on yourself. Acknowledge any extra stress so that you can begin to counteract it, rather than feeding it.
During your work week, know when to call it a day. When your workload is getting particularly heavy, avoid accepting invitations to meetings which you don’t need to be part of and focus on your tasks in order of their priority.
Take some time out
Seems obvious right? Taking a break is the quickest way to hit the refresh button. Whether you use your holiday days to travel and get a change of scenery, or treat yourself to a relaxing staycation, the most important thing is to spend time with loved ones and be present. Be certain to set up out-of-office messages before leaving the office and avoid time spent responding to work emails.
Burnout is primarily a workplace issue, but how you use your time outside of work is equally important if you wish to avoid it. It is essential that you find time to take care of yourself and do things that you find refreshing. If it's been a while since your last break, don't put off your holiday to a time that may seem better. Taking a long weekend to properly unplug and get some distance from your work life will be greatly beneficial. This will only serve to make you more energised and productive on your return. In turn, further preventing your work anxieties from spilling into your personal life.
Know your team’s strengths and ask for help
Fill your workweek with more optimism by getting familiar with the strengths of your colleagues, as well as their pain points. The tasks that you most dread might be something that one of your teammates excels at and enjoys. Not great at managing your time? You most likely have a colleague who is a champion at being organised. Not great with technology? There’s likely a member of your team who’s a tech whizz. Knowing the values that specific members of your team can add, means that you can turn to them for advice, help, and even handy shortcuts, which will speed up your workflow and ensure you get things done more efficiently. Be sure to understand how you can also use your own skills to return the favour, so that you build stronger relationships with your colleagues, who will WANT to help you out.
Schedule free time in your calendar
Commit to this just like you would an important meeting or an appointment. Block out some time, even if it’s just half an hour a day - it’s crucial to find time for a break. If you find it hard to disconnect, remember that taking breaks only improves productivity and focus. Meaning that you will get more fruits from your labor when you get back to work, essentially gaining back the time you took off for a breather.
Plan your work week and know what needs to take priority
Be realistic about how long individual tasks and projects are likely to take. If you schedule too many things in, you will likely be rushing through tasks and may not be working effectively, only leading you to have to revisit projects and putting you more behind on the schedule than you had planned.
When planning your week, block in some contingency time that is dedicated to completing any unfinished tasks. This will allow for any unforeseen hiccups which may take place, or if you have any additional unexpected workloads sent your way. By doing this, you give yourself a greater chance of leaving the office on Friday with a feeling of positivity. Plus hopefully, you will have completed your to-do list, without carrying too much over.
Change your environment
If you are working remotely, try to switch up your environment to get a change of setting. If you’ve had a stressful few months, you will likely associate the space in which you’ve been predominantly spending your time, with these emotions. Without realising it, you may be setting yourself up to feel slightly on edge before you even begin your workday.
If you can, work from a different location and try tackling your day surrounded by fresh scenery. You could even break up your day into more digestible pieces by spending an occasional afternoon working from a different location.
Although it may feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re already feeling time-pressured and exhausted, exercise is a great way to take the edge off. It’s a way to dedicate time purely to yourself, and it’s an hour or so in your day where you can focus on one task. Not only will this help you zone out, but active life will also leave you feeling re-energised, while the endorphin rush will combat any feelings of stress and make any worries seem much more manageable.
The important thing is that you’re not hard on yourself - if you hate running, don’t force yourself to run 5k a day. Find an activity that you actually enjoy and which you will be able to stick to. It should not feel like a chore and even if you only find 15 minutes to get moving, do it! Any amount of exercise is better than nothing and something to feel proud of.
Organise time for something you enjoy
You’ve probably heard this before. The usual call to find a new hobby, discover a new passion, or get back into a consistent exercise regime could serve to exacerbate any anxiety you're dealing with - especially if you are already feeling overwhelmed that you may not be using your time and energy correctly.
Put this into perspective by starting with something small. Unwinding should not be stressful, find an activity that you truly want to dedicate time to, it could be as simple as finding a podcast which you love and making time to tune in every week. You might enjoy spending time learning to cook new dishes, trying your hand at gardening, learning to meditate, or subscribing to a new magazine.
Again, make sure you make time for activities such as these. If you’re a real workaholic, it may even be necessary to schedule this with yourself and make time for it in your diary!
Try incorporating mindfulness into your life
Mindfulness is defined as a state of intentional, non-judgmental focus on the present moment. You’re likely familiar with mindfulness techniques which are incorporated into practices, such as yoga and meditation. Research has shown that it has many health benefits, such as improving mood and stress management. There are a whole host of mindfulness techniques that you can try out, such as breathing techniques and even mindful eating. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/
The additional benefit of mindfulness is that it seeks to increase your awareness and focus, helping you to give your best performance at work.
Pay attention to your body
When you’re feeling the impact of burnout, it’s demanding on your body and physical health. The foundation of preventing burnout is to ensure you consistently give your body what it needs and feed it well with its simple but most important requirements – sleeping, eating, and physical activity.
Be certain that you’re giving your body the chance to fully restore and repair itself, especially when you’re working so hard throughout the day.
When you’re fulfilled by the way you spend and invest your time, both inside and outside of work, it’s far easier to maintain balance within your life and to manage day-to-day stresses and demands.
These are some of the easiest and most straightforward methods to implement and combat the negative effects of feeling overworked. Though you may not be able to control all aspects of your job which contribute to burnout, supporting yourself and feeling supported by the people who surround you, provides the best defense against the fatigue which you may experience in the office.
You do have the ability to take control of how you feel about yourself and life in general. Invest your time wisely and if you are already feeling burnt out, remember that it won’t last forever. You may be going through a difficult and demanding period, but always keep in mind that the endpoint exists and each day you are getting closer to it.
If you are feeling busy at work and are looking to hire, we can save time when finding new team members. We are now helping you prepare for virtual interviews and preparing candidates for the new types of questions you may ask during this process.
As a candidate, now might seem an uncertain time to find a new job vacancy, however, it could be an excellent time to join a forward-thinking business