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Coping with Burnout

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Your boss just asked you to write a presentation for a conference she is attending in three days. You’re flattered, but this is just the latest in a series of last-minute projects you’ve been assigned. You dread the thought of another late night but know it’s the only way you’ll be able to finish all your tasks.

While everyone has busy days, maintaining a breakneck pace can quickly lead to burnout, or psychological exhaustion brought on by prolonged periods of work-related stress. Before you know it, your morale, productivity and quality of work could suffer. Following are some tips to help combat burnout:

Talk to your manager. Let your manager know when you have too much on your plate. He or she will be just as concerned about preventing burnout as you and can probably help you delegate responsibilities or free additional resources to help lighten your load.

Keep priorities in mind. Be sure that whatever you work on is strategically linked to your short- and long-term goals, focusing first on those objectives that are most pressing. For example, although you can’t change the fact that you must write a presentation in the next couple of days, you can postpone non-critical meetings to free up more time.

Take a break. Even if you’re working long hours, it pays to take occasional breaks throughout the day. Go for short walks around the office, and instead of eating lunch at your desk, take your meal to the break room or outside. Just a few minutes of “down time” each hour can help you recharge and work more productively.

While it may be impossible to eliminate all workplace stress, it’s important to recognize signs of burnout. It can negatively affect not only your overall job performance, but also your personal life. By taking measures to reduce the amount of stress you face, you’ll be happier and more productive at the office.

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