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Burnout: how to identify it and fix it

Burnout is a common malaise right now.

Isolation, all-day Zoom meetings, and anxiety about the future of our country and world are weighing on all of us. If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or underappreciated, you may be in the fog of burnout.

The causes of burnout, and their potential remedies, though, are a bit harder to pinpoint. Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter of the University of California at Berkeley and Acadia University, respectively, have created the Areas of Worklife model that identifies six areas where imbalances can lead to burnout.

Here are those areas and what you can do to fix them:

Workload. The right level of workload allows you to get things done, rest and recharge, and find time for professional growth and development. To manage and fix this area you need to honestly assess how you’re planning, prioritizing, delegating, saying no, and overcoming perfectionism.

Lack of control. Boss overstepping your after-hours boundaries? Not enough resources? Then figure out what might help, such as less availability after hours, more help, or better tools.

Reward. We’re all motivated by recognition, money, accomplishment, and progress. Are you getting those commensurate with your efforts? Are you rewarding yourself in small ways as well?

Community. Do you work with people you like and trust? Is there a genuine focus on empathy, good humor and relationship-building? Practice these characteristics to model them and lift the team.

Fairness. Consistent and equitable treatment across an organization recognizes value and contribution from everyone. Speak up when things are obviously biased or unfair like deadlines, workloads or rewards.

Values. Do you share the ideals and motivations of your organization? Can you or your company change and gain better alignment? This is a tough one and much harder to affect.

Burnout isn’t just being tired. It’s more complicated and requires real thought and effort to work it out.

It’s also not sustainable. So identify it, fix it, and protect it.

Because you deserve it.

Have a great week.

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