How to Prevent Burn Out

· by Brian Buchanan

Brian Buchanan is the VP of Operations at HTI. He has been with HTI since 2001.
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Need some tips on how to prevent burn out?

Is every day starting to feel like Groundhog day? Is it feeling impossible to prevent burnout? Between the social distancing/quarantine effects of the pandemic and regular, every day monotony it’s easy to feel that way.

Today happens to be Groundhog Day. Do you think of Punxsutawney Phil or the 1993 Romantic Comedy “Groundhog Day”?

No disrespect to the famous badger, but I think about the memorable movie written by the great Harold Ramis and staring Bill Murray.   Murray plays a disgruntled and self-centered news reporter that dreads waking up every day and going to work.  I’m sure many of you can relate to this feeling.   Murray is tired of covering boring news stories and after getting assigned to report on Punxsutawney Phil’s winter/spring prediction the assignment only makes him grumpier.   In an unexplained voodoo like spell, Murray gets stuck in a time loop where he wakes up every day for numerous days in the same hotel room on the same day, Groundhog Day.  He stays in this time loop until he finally starts appreciating his job, appreciating his life, and starts being nice to people. He then finds love, and finally escapes the purgatory of the time loop and becomes a better man.

Thus, if you have ever asked someone “How’s your day going?”, and they reply, “It’s Groundhog Day” they are basically saying “different day but same ole same ole” referring to the movie. It’s also likely they are experiencing burn out.

I think we can all feel like this at times, but I also believe we can choose to make every day a little less mundane.

All our jobs have repetitive tasks that we have to do every day because either management, the law or the good of the entire organization requires it. However, one way to prevent burn out from these essential tasks is learning to better appreciate every day even if they are routine at times. Personally, my job is tedious at times, stressful at times, and sometimes I would rather not deal with the challenges that I know that I must address.

But, when I really think of it – I’m grateful to have a good job, I’m blessed to be healthy and able to go to work, and I understand that whatever I contribute each day is for something bigger than me. This applies to every job. Someone has hired you and is paying you to not only help you put food on the table, but also put food on the table of others.

Here are some tips to prevent burn out and help you look forward to each day and the year ahead.

  • Change up your routine and schedule often. Plan two weeks at a time, but don’t be afraid to change direction if you need to do so.
  • If you are doing something cumbersome that you feel doesn’t make sense, elevate it, and recommend a better option. There is something to be said for “keeping it simple”.
  • Try to make work fun, not only for yourself but for those around you. When was the last time you had a fun lunch or drinks with your team?
  • Plan a vacation or personal days off 2-3 months ahead of time. That will give you something to look forward to. We all need time off.
  • Set annual spiritual, physical, and financial goals. We all need basic drivers in our lives.
  • Grab a good attitude before you walk into the office or your site every morning. If that means listening to a song that makes you happy, do it.  Your attitude is infectious.

To sum it up, appreciate each day that you have a job and can take a breath no matter what you do, or you WILL get stuck in “Groundhog Day”.  Also, let’s hope Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow and we have an early spring!  That’s something we can all look forward to!