Recognising The Signs Of Business Burnout


There’s no doubt that the workplace is a tougher environment to be in than it used to be.Business Burnout symbol

Even before the recent economic problems psychologists and economists were describing work and business as moving into a ‘knowledge economy’ rather than the ‘physical economy’ that previous generations were used to within a working day.

This means that for many of us, the psychological pressures of going to work are greater than they have ever been before.  It’s no wonder then that the numbers of people experiencing Business Burnout are also increasing.  However many don’t realise that they are on a road to burning out until it actually happens.


Take A Look At The Typical Signs Of Business Burnout:

If you are noticing any of the following symptoms happening frequently within your life, then it might be time to take action…

  • Regularly feeling unmotivated by your work?
  • Not getting things done at work – even when you know what to do?
  • Not enjoying your work as much as you have before?
  • Becoming short tempered, irritable or aggressive with colleagues or clients?
  • Struggling to concentrate?
  • Finding ways to avoid doing tasks or even go into work – such as calling in sick?
  • Feeling physically exhausted
  • Struggling to see the point in your job?
  • Daydreaming about quitting or changing jobs to a much lower grade?

Whilst this list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you an idea of the common changes that people often notice when they are burning out.


The Miracle Cure:

Sadly, there isn’t a miracle cure to business burnout – but there are a number of quick changes you can make to reduce symptoms of burnout and get yourself back on track.  Why not try the following ideas in your life?

1) Problem Solve Routine Tasks:

If there are aspects to your job that happen routinely, try to plan ahead for them as much as possible.  What things can you do in advance, or even delegate to someone else?

2) Be More Aware Of Your Work-Life Balance:

Take a sheet of paper and total up how many hours you have spent working over the past two weeks – which also includes those times that you find yourself doing work when you’re not actually in the office, for example thinking a particular project over on the train journey home or when you are watching your children play football at the weekend.

Now total up the number of hours over the same period that you have spent doing other activities, for example – hobbies and interests, family time, home improvements, spiritual activities.  With the number of hours you have spent doing these, and doing work, see if you can create a pie-chart showing the balance between these different areas of your life.  How does it look?

Now see if you could do the same exercise but in reverse, starting with a desired pie chart.  What would healthy balance look like? Once you have an ‘ideal pie chart’, see if you can compare the two.  What areas of you current one need increasing?  Does work need decreasing – if so, by how much?   Next, ask yourself, ‘what activities can I do in the next two weeks to change the balance?’

3) Play The Game:

One consistent piece of advice given by workers, business leaders and other people at the top of their field is – ‘do something you enjoy.’  By having a job that you actually enjoy doing it is likely to stimulate and energise you, rather than lead to business burnout.  Take time to consider if it’s the right time to look for a career change or diversion?

If not, try this instead…

See where the challenges are in your job.  What areas need solving, or require tactics and skill?  How can you turn these areas into a game or mini personal challenge, rather than an obligation?

4) Inject Humour, Reduce Tension:

Identify the people that you most have contact with at work, for example a colleague in the same team, a secretary or an immediate manager.  Ask yourself, ‘what are my conversations with these people usually like?’  If you are finding that you answer with things like ‘dull’, ‘unstimulating’, ‘boring’, ‘difficult’ then it is time to think what things you personally can do when you are around these people in order to improve the quality of conversations and interactions with them.  This will help work start to become somewhere that is more fun to be.

5) Maintain Your Physical Health:

Aspects of your physical health also play an incredibly important role in maintaining your emotional wellbeing.  It may seem surprising, but two simple ways to reduce business burnout don’t happen in the office at all!  Sleep and Exercise.

We’ve all heard it before, but by getting enough sleep your memory and concentration are likely to significantly improve.  Research is increasingly showing the role that sleep playing in categorising and processing memories, which in turn can make it easier to concentrate in the moment.  Why not take a look at our Tips For Improving Your Sleep?

Another area of research that is closely linked to emotional wellbeing is exercise.  We know that for people experiencing severe depression exercise is an invaluable tool to improving mood, and the same is true for business burnout.  Take time to do at least 20 minutes of good exercise a day – whether at a gym or local sports centre, or simply having a walk somewhere interesting, but crucially allowing yourself not to think about work tasks whilst you’re doing it.  This will help increase the levels of endorphins in your body – which are chemicals associated with pleasant emotions.


Finding Out More:

Sometimes you might be struggling to make the changes above, or simply not sure how to.  That’s ok…

If this is happening for you then it might be a good idea to get some help in reducing your business burnout.  A good first step is to speak to your immediate manager and explain the problems you are experiencing to see if there is any way they can help.  many companies also have an occupational health team that can help too.

If you don’t want to raise the issue at work, or believe that you need more professional help then there are two options that might be helpful for you to consider:  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Corporate Resilience Training.

Both of these options are similar in their approaches in that they work wit the emotional aspects of doing your job.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will tend to focus much more upon problematic moods such a stress and anxiety, whereas Corporate Resilience Training often takes a coaching-based approach in which you can explore how to optimise skills you already have in the workplace as a way of enhancing your emotional resilience.

If you are interested in either approach, get in touch to see how Dynamic You can help you.


Recognise Business Burnout - busy office