How to overcome burnout and stay motivated

Fri, 09, 22

Stepping away from your computer gets you out of the weeds and prompts you to reexamine the big picture...

How to overcome burnout and stay motivated


Take breaks during the workday

Burnout often stems from a lack of understanding about what it takes to achieve peak workplace performance. To perform at your best over a long term, you need regular opportunities for restocking your mental energy. Take a walk or go for a run. Have lunch away from your desk. Stepping away from your computer gets you out of the weeds and prompts you to reexamine the big picture.

But, take your breaks at the right time. When your energy is highest – often in the morning – you should focus on work and maximize your productivity. Tackle your toughest challenges at those times. Then step away for a rest.

How to overcome burnout and stay motivated

Put away your digital devices

Before the Blackberry era, leaving your work at the office was the default. If you wanted to take work home with you, that required effort and planning. That’s no longer the case. Today we’re all carrying around an office in our pocket in the form of a smartphone, so we’re both psychologically and physiologically still attached. The remedy is to actively limit your use of digital devices after hours. Place your smartphone in a basket or drawer when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or you might devise a rule for yourself about turning it off past 8pm. Put away your phone! Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow.

Studies also indicate that doing an activity you find interesting — even if that activity is taxing — is better for you than simply relaxing. What you do with your downtime matters. Sure, it’s appealing to laze on your couch with a tub of popcorn, watching a movie, but engaging in something more challenging — like a crossword or game of chess – will give your energy.

How to overcome burnout and stay motivated

Take long weekends

Feeling mentally and physically exhausted may also be a sign that you need to take some time off. The break need not be a two-week vacation; rather, when it comes to stress-reduction, you get a much greater benefit from regularly taking three- and four-day weekends. While you’re away, though, don’t call the office or check your email. You need to let go. Each of us is a little less vital than we’d like to believe.

Focus on meaning

Connecting your current assignment to a larger personal goal — completing this project will help you score that next promotion, for instance — will help you fight the temptation to slack off and will provide a jolt of energy that will give you what you need to barrel through that day or the next couple of days. Be aware, however, that this may provide only temporary relief. If you are burnt out from working too hard, you need to stop and take a real break.

Compiled by SG