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To Beat Career Burnout, Solve This Problem First

Topics: Career Advice
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Professional burnout can send your life into a tailspin. But changing careers is a big deal. It’s important to keep in mind that burnout can happen to anyone. So if you love your job but worry you’re starting to burn out, before you give notice, it’s wise to focus on how you can turn things around.

It’s important not to underestimate the impact of career burnout, or overlook its warning signs. If you live with chronic stress, struggle with perfectionism, or have a hard time unplugging for work, you should know you’re traveling down a dangerous path. But if you really want to beat burnout, there is some good news. Simply limiting distractions could make a world of difference.

Career Burnout in 2018

There are a lot of things about modern life that contribute to high rates of career burnout. First of all, our modern culture of overwork normalizes stress and long hours. People brag about being “so busy” as if it’s a mark of accomplishment rather than a signal that they’re over-scheduled. Plus, technology keeps the world connected at all hours of the day and night. These days, the work never stops, and that’s a recipe for burnout.

Erin Falconer, author of How to Get Sh*t Done, discussed how career burnout is felt acutely by millennial women in 2018 with Brit + Co. These professionals know how to work hard. But when this work ethic combines with technology that keeps you constantly connected to work, it’s difficult to pull away, take breaks, or focus on just one thing at a time.

Limiting Distractions is Key

Falconer feels that the key to avoid burnout is to limit and control distractions. She says this is particularly true for millennial women who are especially vulnerable to this stressor.

“I find millennials in general work hard, but a lot of their time is distracted,” she told Brit + Co. “For example, if you’ve set aside an hour to get an assignment done, but during that hour you’ve responded to a couple of emails and texts and scrolled through your Instagram or Facebook a couple of times, you haven’t put in an hour of actual work. So at the end of the day, you feel like you haven’t accomplished all that you could have — and you’d be right. To remedy this, the idea is to take calculated, isolated time to do work, and then calculated, isolated time to take breaks or relax.”

Of course, Falconer isn’t the first person to talk about the importance of limiting distractions in our modern age. The idea of the importance of working in flow state, for example, has become more widespread in recent years. Many are beginning to experience the awesome power of concentrated, distraction-free work firsthand as a result.

Start By Assessing Priorities

Limiting distractions is a great place to start if you’d like to begin to try to reduce your risk of career burnout. Then you can work on your most challenging and complex tasks during times you’ve set aside for optimal focus. Start by getting real about how you’re spending your time now.

“In the book, I discuss the idea of doing a seven-day time challenge, where you literally write down how you’re spending every hour of every day for a week,” Falconer continued. “At the end of that week, you will probably be shocked to find how much time you are really wasting or giving away. If you can find a better use for that time (for instance, using it to focus on things you love to do, bring you energy, and move you closer to your goals in a meaningful way), you can easily keep burnout at bay.”

If you’re serious about trying to prevent career burnout, you have to get serious about limiting distractions first. Spending just a few hours a day working on your most challenging tasks, in focused phone-free flow, should make a real difference.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think that limiting distractions could make a big difference in your life? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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