“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.”

— Isak Dinesen
(Danish author)

Performing Better

Are You Whistling While You Work?

When was the last time you felt enthusiastic about your work? If you've been at your job for very long, chances are you may be focusing more on the negatives than the positives. That can lead to loss of interest, loss of productivity and eventual job burnout. Before the situation turns bad, try these anti-burnout strategies:
Learn to talk about your feelings. Venting with coworkers can help all of you alleviate stress.
Whenever possible, avoid taking on several stressful projects at one time.
Learn to ask for help. It's not wise or practical to try and do everything yourself. Delegate responsibility when it's appropriate, and ask for help if you're swamped.
Work according to your personal energy patterns. Some people feel more alert and productive in the mornings; others in the afternoons. Work on your stressful and demanding tasks during your high energy periods.
Take breaks. Instead of snacking at your desk, use lunch or break time to do something totally unrelated to work, thus refreshing your attitude. A brisk 10- to 20-minute walk is ideal.
Improve your work-related skills. Take classes, attend seminars and seek out additional job training. Know what changes are developing in your field, and keep abreast of them.
Exercise regularly. Even if you feel too tired at first, persevere. Regular exercise will give you energy and boost your mood. If you find it hard to stay motivated, organize a group to walk together during your lunch hour.
Learn to relax. Give your mind and body time to relax during off hours. If need be, seek counseling in order to cope with stress and improve your relaxation skills.
Take regular vacations. Studies have shown that workers who take regular vacations are much more productive overall.

Burnout Stages

heck the characteristics below to see if you fall into any of these documented stages of job burnout. It's relatively easy to reverse the symptoms in the first stage, but if your symptoms fall into the second or third, you probably could benefit from professional counseling. If your company has an employee assistance counselor or office, that's a good place to start when seeking help.

    Stage 1 - Pessimism and Early Job Dissatisfaction. This is characterized by frustration, low morale, boredom, physical fatigue and mental fatigue.

    Stage 2 - Withdrawal and Isolation. People in this stage often withdraw from coworkers and experience anger, depression, hostility, negative thinking, difficulty concentrating and extreme physical and mental fatigue.

    Stage 3 - Irreversible Detachment and Loss of Interest. People in this final stage experience severe emotional distress, physical problems (such as headaches, stomachaches and tooth-grinding), extreme cynicism and negativity toward their workplace, low self-esteem, inability to work with or get along with others and a high rate of absenteeism.

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