Don’t let yourself burn out! 5 scientific methods to avoid professional burnout

Just as it’s hard to cut anything with a blunt knife, when you burn out at work, you cannot achieve your goals. Overworking and stress are the main causes of professional burnout. Do not think that this problem does not concern you. Poles are a society which is working its way up and over 40% of us work more than 50 hours a week. Professional burnout is also a problem that increasingly affects young people. Research conducted in 2015 [Level of stress among U.S. adults by generation 2015] have shown that the millennials are the most stressed generation. As is known, it is better to prevent than cure, so in this article I present 5 scientifically proven ways to “sharpen the professional knife.”

 Be active

Physical activity reduces stress and allows for more efficient processing of information. After analyzing a so-called “runner’s high,” researchers have found that endorphins produced during long-term physical activity affect the part of the brain responsible for mood changes. In this way, physical activity improves your mood, reduces pain, stress and tension. In addition, a study conducted in 2013 at Leiden University showed that people who exercise four times a week are more able to think creatively than non-active people. Even a short-term physical effort improves brain functioning. During the test at Middlesex University, two groups were given the same problem to solve. The first group completed a series of physical exercises just before the test. The second one was resting for a long period of time. The physically active group presented much more solutions to the problem.

Do not close yourself on people

During the work day, find time to talk to a colleague sitting next to you. Pentland and Waber research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that this can have a positive effect on your productivity. Scientists have designed IDs with radio transmitters, microphones, microprocessors and motion sensor sets. These devices tracked inter alia a length of conversation between co-workers. The research has shown that people with the largest network and number of workplace interactions were also the most productive. The result was uninfluenced by the subject matter of the conversation, but as demonstrated by different study, some topics are better to be avoided. The Betterworks report highlighted the issue of discussion about politics in the workplace. 10% of respondents stated that political discussions led, to stress, decrease in quality of work and reduced productivity. Almost every other respondent witnessed a political discussion in the work that led to an argument.

 Celebrate little victories

Sometimes we are so focused on a long-term goal that we forget to celebrate the smaller but still important steps we have taken to achieve it. Nevertheless, ticking off subsequent boxes from the to do list gives a sense of self-realization and competence. In psychology, it is known as The Zeigarnik Effect, which states that uncompleted tasks are remembered better than the tasks done. On the other hand, the research by professors Baumeister and Masicampo “Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals” has shown a correlation between the sense of accomplishment of a given task and the ability to think creatively. Those who have brainstormed about a problem and did not complete the task they had received as a warm-up, found fewer solutions.

Develop your own ritual

In the intensity of your duties, find time for your daily ritual of regeneration. It may be a moment to drink your favorite coffee, have a nap or walk in the park. This is not about the length of the activity, but its repeatability. This will allow your body to get used to the rest and learn how to manage the energy better.

 Is this the place for you?

Thomas Edison once said, “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” In addition to taking care of your physical and mental health, think about whether your work is fun and your environment supports your development. In the survey of the Harvard Business Review, six features of the “dream job” were identified:

1.    You can be yourself

2.    You know what’s really going on

3.    You have the opportunity to magnify your strengths

4.    Stands for more than shareholder value

5.    Your daily work makes sense

6.    There are no stupid rules

 How many of these qualities fit your job?


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