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The 5 Ps to Preventing Burnout

By Kerstin Woods

Between work, home, family, COVID and, right now the holiday season, things are beginning to feel a bit overwhelming. Hopefully you’ve already started planning out your days with to-do lists and prioritizing what you need to accomplish to help keep you organized and focused.

But if that isn’t doing the trick and you still feel that burnout coming, here are 5 tips that help me feel more balanced.

1.Periodic – Especially if you are working on projects that will take a long time to complete, set periodic goals or deadlines for yourself along the way. It’s less difficult to procrastinate and you create the opportunity to feel that rewarding sense of accomplishment.

Instead of patting yourself on the back at the end of a four-week project, why not give yourself 4 mini-goals to achieve and celebrate. That sense of achievement will boost your mood and motivation.

2.Perform – Nothing helps solidify ideas and create a sense of energy like performing or presenting your ideas. Create opportunities to showcase your work, even if it’s just 1:1 with your boss or another team member.

Our ideas need to see the light of day and it raises our spirits too. As a manager, I’ll have my team present ideas, even on simple tasks sometimes, because I want them to feel heard and engaged.

3.Promote –  A great way to feel accountable for a goal is to tell people about it.   Promote some of your goals externally to other colleagues, your manager, or even on social media and then make sure to follow up when you are done.

For example, on Monday share the goal – “This week I’m going to do 10 virtual sales calls with valued clients about their document management challenges!” And, on Friday close it out. “Crushed my goal and ended up with 11 virtual sales calls this week!” External accountability helps drive focus and motivation.

4.Pause – It’s ok to take a break during the day. Get outside if you can, even for a short walk to the mailbox. Fresh air, exercise, focusing your eyes on something other than your screen – these are all healthy for your body, mind, and soul.

Schedule it in if you need to, but give yourself permission to do it.  It’s not distracting you from your workday, it’s renewing you for it.

5.Positive Thinking – When COVID hit, many of the things we did to relieve stress were no longer accessible and we were forced to find alternatives. What I found helps me is having something to look forward to, even if it’s something small. My go-tos these days are virtual happy hours with friends and introducing my kids to classic holiday films with buttered popcorn and hot cocoa.

This holiday season may be particularly difficult for many who can’t be with loved ones or celebrate like usual. Every year I’ve watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Christmas Vacation” with family around the holidays.  At first, I was bummed we couldn’t continue the tradition, then it dawned on me… we can watch it together virtually (thanks Amazon watch party feature!). Shifting my expectations really helped put me in a positive frame of mind.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, but really focusing on those small moments that bring joy can help you decompress and face the day with a fresh perspective.

Hope you give these 5 simple burnout avoidance tools a try!

Be sure to check out our blog Plan It Out Before You Burnout for more tips.

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