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Accountability, Team Building

Employee Burnout: More Than A Feeling

employee burnoutAs a field representative, you have a lot on your plate on a day-to-day basis. From approaching new contacts, to keeping your managers up-to-date, to tending to dissatisfied customers, and to meeting your weekly quota, it can all come at you like a giant wave. Once the wave hits, you’re discouraged and unmotivated. Any business professional has experienced it before: burnout. It’s more than a feeling (cue Boston’s hit). Burnout is exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. It has adverse effects, as it lowers an individual’s and ultimately a  company’s overall energy and productivity. So how do you avoid burnout, or overcome it if you’re stuck?


1. Pace Yourself

Field work is a marathon, not the 500-meter dash. Set realistic goals and work at a reasonable pace. Create a schedule for yourself with a checklist of prioritized things to do and check off each item as you go. As you complete tasks for the day, you will feel accomplished and satisfied with your level of work, knowing you did what your job requires. After a week, if you feel that you can handle more action in your days, add some more tasks to the list such as an extra phone call or store visit. Keep adjusting it until you find the perfect to-do list for yourself. If you are a worker who thrives in dynamic settings, schedule days with different levels of rigor: challenging, average, easy. Changing things up can keep you on your toes and avoid mundane workweeks.

2. Take Breaks

Make sure you are taking breaks to refuel your tank and increase your mental stamina. According to Neil Patel of Inc., generally you should be taking 15-20 minute breaks every 50-90 minutes. There have been studies that show that more specific times work as well such as 17 minute breaks every 52 minutes. While you don’t have to set multiple hourly alarms and be strict about the timing of your breaks, you should follow Patel’s general rule to avoid burnout. What should you do during breaks? Patel says anything but work. Watch a short funny YouTube video and then take a walk around the block. Bursts of physical exercise will help boost productivity and energy as well so you’re ready to concentrate when you’re back at your desk. Ron Friedman of ignite80 points out another perk of taking breaks: “It’s often in the intervals between thinking really hard about a problem and then stepping away that solutions becomes apparent,” he says.

3. Listen to Your Body

Do you have a balanced diet? Are you exercising enough? Sleeping enough? Maintaining good health is a huge component of avoiding burnout. When you don’t feel your best, both physically and mentally, you won’t be working at your fullest potential. You can take care of your body by having daily routines such as scheduled workouts, meditation time, a set lights-out time, or starting every morning with a piece of fresh fruit. Make sure to focus on you so you can bring your best self to work.

4. Ditch the Devices

Nowadays leaving the office does not always mean leaving work. With your cell phone strapped to your body, a message from your boss or email from a client is only a touch away. When you’re off the clock, try to stay away from your laptop or mobile phone. This will give you the full mental cleanse you need before returning to work again the next day. Rebecca Knight of the Harvard Business Review suggests stowing your phone away or making a rule for yourself about when you can and can’t use your phone at home.

Burnout is a phenomenon that exists in any industry and job. Even the most successful leaders and entrepreneurs experience burnout, but they take the right steps to prevent and overcome it. If you’re experiencing the same worn out feelings, follow the five steps above to revamp yourself and your work!

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Aya Tsuruta

Aya Tsuruta is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly where she covers sales and marketing content through a creative lens. In addition to writing for Repsly, she is a frequent contributor to the music blog, Indie Music Filter, and BC magazine, the Gavel.

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