Managing Burnout: 12 Ideas for a Healthier Work-Life Balance

Instructional Design. - Managing Burnout

Burnout can plague even the best companies. No one is immune. Not even you.

Two of the most significant benefits of effective training programs and well designed learning systems are improved employee retention and reduced burnout. So it’s a little ironic when L&D professionals like you become disengaged. It happens.

When you find yourself having more bad days than good days, and you’ve blurred the lines between work and home life, it may be the onset of burnout. If you’re struggling with simple tasks, easily aggravated by your coworkers or loved ones, and feel like you can’t do anything well, you may already be burnt out.

The first step towards finding a cure is to diagnose the causes of the problem.

Time to take your temperature:

  •  You dread getting out of bed. Feeling overworked and worn out before the day even starts? If you’re suffering from decreased motivation, reduced productivity, physical and mental exhaustion, and it’s a chore just to drag yourself to work – you’ve got burnout.
  • The thrill is gone. Is there a lack of pleasure or satisfaction in your job? Do you feel irritable, cynical, uninspired, or just plain bored? If you’re not feeling any energy, excitement or enthusiasm, or feel undervalued and unappreciated, these are clear signs of burning out.
  • You’re unable to fix things by yourself. Are you increasingly frustrated or overwhelmed? Do you feel isolated and ineffective? This leads to heightened stress, difficulty concentrating, poor decision-making, and indicates the onset of burnout due to a lack of empowerment or not enough support from management.
  • Your career is going nowhere. If you feel like you want to escape, you’ve got a bad case of burnout. Everyone wants to grow professionally. Isn’t that what learning & development is all about?

Here’s 12 things you can do to manage and prevent burnout, and promote a healthier work-life balance:

  1. Talk with management. Many problems can be solved by improved communication. How can things be fixed? What can be changed to make it better? Is there a need for a big cultural shift? Would new technology help, such as AI tools?
  2. Check your boundaries. Say no. Read your job description and remind yourself to stay in your lane. If you’re expected – or want – to take on a special project, ask your manager to delegate another part of your workload to someone else. You’ll be less likely to feel fatigued or overwhelmed because you’ve taken on too many extra tasks.
  3. Don’t fear failure. Nobody’s perfect. Don’t be your own worst critic if you miss a deadline, make mistakes, or struggle with what you think should be an easy task that proves to be more difficult. Hey, it’s part of the learning experience!
  4. Foster friendly work relationships. Building trust, teamwork and bonding with your co-workers will improve your sense of belonging, reduce feelings of isolation, and make it easier to ask for help. If you work remotely, it’s even more important to make healthy connections.
  5. Ask for help. Don’t do it alone. Get help and support from a family member, friend, colleague, or company leader. Or maybe you need a coach to help keep you on track?
  6. Organize. Prioritize. Delegate. Minimize chaos by segmenting your to-do list into what’s important or urgent and what’s not. Do you have to do it now? If not, when? Can you delegate a task to someone else? Or collaborate with a colleague to get it done on time?
  7. Schedule and budget your time. Set realistic expectations. Reset your schedule when things change. Plan for the unexpected and interruptions, and expect unforeseen changes. Most importantly, schedule time-out.
  8. Celebrate small wins. Feel ineffective at work? Incentivize yourself with a reward for completing a project, or reaching each milestone along the way to completion of a big project. You can also give yourself a boost by completing personal tasks. Clean out a junk drawer. Finish a book.
  9. Separate work from your personal life. Set a work schedule and stick to it. Don’t check work email after hours. Delete work accounts from your personal devices. Challenge yourself to unplug for 24-hours on one day of every month.
  10. Practice mindfulness. Take a deep breath. Pause and breathe when things get intense. Be still and quiet for ten minutes each day, and think about what’s important to you. The silence will help you pay attention to your feelings. This will help identify and manage anger, disillusionment, frustration or resentment, before negative emotions become all-consuming.
  11. Prioritize self-care. Never underestimate the effects of stress on your physical and mental health. Every doctor on earth will prescribe the same things: Eat right. Exercise regularly. Get enough sleep.
  12. Focus on the positive. Be grateful. Have fun. Laughter is the best medicine.

You don’t have to do all of the above to beat burnout.

Find the right prescription with a mix of these remedies to make adjustments that fit your environment, individual circumstances and organizational changes. Adaptability is key.

Organizations invest in L&D programs, learning management systems, instructional design, training, upskilling, reskilling and coaching for the workforce to gain a strategic advantage in innovation, creativity, and engagement.

Make the same investment in yourself, your career health and personal well-being.

Or maybe it’s time for a change of scene?

If you’re feeling the burn (or not), it’s always a good idea to keep your options open and explore new opportunities. We invite you to see how TrainingPros can help you advance your career in the L&D industry.

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