Burnout is a very real reality for many of us as we find ourselves 16 months into a global pandemic. It occurs when we have too much chronic stress in our life, which is stress that we face repeatedly. Researchers have identified six burnout triggers that productivity expert Chris Bailey says we can try to counteract, once we’re aware of them.
Unlike acute stress, which is a temporary one-off, chronic stress is repeated stress that we face day to day, such as constant demands at work, financial anxiety, relationship issues, or perhaps just living through a global pandemic and worrying what a post-pandemic future will look like.
The state of the world today led Chris to be curious about burnout, and how and why we burn out in the first place. Burnout is actually a workplace phenomenon that is caused by one thing and one thing only, Chris writes, chronic stress, and it’s characterized by three attributes: exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack productivity. For it to be actual burnout, you have to experience all of these at the same time, Chris says.
Chris found a research study by one of the world’s foremost burnout researchers, which found six main areas of work that are a breeding ground for chronic stress. The worse you experience these, he says, the more likely you are to burnout. These six areas are:
- Workload: How sustainable the amount and level of your work is over time.
- Control: Do you have autonomy at work with the flexibility to choose which projects you work on? The less control you have, Chris writes, the more likely you will burnout.
- Reward: Are you recognized for your contributions? This means monetarily but also socially.
- Community: Are you supported at work? The stronger your relationships are the less likely you are to burnout.
- Fairness: Do you feel that you and your co-workers are treated with respect? A respectful workplace often creates a feeling that decisions at work are just and fair.
- Values: Do you connect with your work at a deeper level?
If you are feeling burnt out, Chris recommends that you review these six triggers and reflect on how well you are doing in each of them. Rank them on a scale of 1-10 to determine how healthy your work is in each of these areas. Keep a working table so that you can chart the fluctuations of your stress in each of these areas and become aware of patterns.
No job is perfect, Chris writes, and it’s impossible for us to control all these of areas, even if we do work for ourselves. But, by being aware of them, he says, we can try to bring a sense of control back. We can get a bigger picture about where our stress is coming from and be better prepared to handle it. Or, even better, actually improve the way we work.
“When facing unprecedented amounts of chronic stress,” Chris writes, “taming the stress we can control is critical.”
Chris Bailey is a productivity and performance expert, who has spent the last decade experimenting with every productivity tactic under the sun to determine what works and what doesn’t. Today, as a keynote speaker, he provides audiences with practical and tactical advice for becoming more productive in the workplace and beyond.
Interested in learning more about Chris and what he can bring to your event? Email us at [email protected].