Caution! Feeling Burnt Out At Work?

Shannon Waller
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We’ve all been at the hands of performance-depleting fatigue. It’s mentally and physically exhausting and makes it difficult to deal with even the simplest of situations.

Fatigue is particularly problematic when it comes to teamwork. We want to work with people who are at their best—energized, creative, focused, and responsive—but this falls apart when we’re feeling overwhelmed and tired.

Here are some of the ways feeling burnt out at work has a major impact on teamwork:

1. Communication.

When you’re tired, it’s difficult to want to make the effort to talk to others—you just can’t be bothered. As a result, you end up isolating yourself and taking on a bigger workload.

2. Creativity.

Burnout affects your creativity. You have less mental energy to come up with new ideas, and the thought of experimenting feels too risky. You’re simply too exhausted to have what it takes to deal with the unexpected.

3. Compassion.

Compassion requires that you understand where the other person is coming from, and that takes emotional energy. You have to be able to step into someone’s shoes and look at the situation from their point of view, which is much harder to access when you’re tired. Making sure you’re taking the time to rejuvenate will set you apart from other business leaders because it ensures you’re functioning at top levels.

Take a break from your business.

This is why, at Strategic Coach, we’re enthusiasts for taking free time to rejuvenate and do absolutely no work. This includes vacations, holidays, and days off (including weekends) spent refilling your tank.

Right after you take time away from your business, you’ll find upon returning that you’re at your best and most creative. You’ll make great decisions, communicate clearly, be able to empathize with others, and be at your most productive.
So many of us fall into the trap of convincing ourselves that there’s no way we can take time away from our businesses. In fact, Dan Sullivan, president and founder of Strategic Coach, has his own story about being totally run down but convinced there was no way he could take time off.

He wrote a list of all the reasons why he didn’t think he could take a vacation—there were 20 items on the list. He put the list in a drawer and forced himself to go anyway. When he got back, ten of the items had already been looked after, four were no longer relevant, and he was able to handle another three that day. The remaining three were taken care of in the week that followed, all as a result of restoring his mental and physical energy. It’s amazing how differently we perceive things when we’re well rested.

Make free time a must.

Putting the right structures in place to give you the time to refresh and rejuvenate is one of the most important skills to develop as an entrepreneur. Empower, train, and trust your team to take over in your absence. There are two benefits to this: One is that you’ll know how good your team is, and the other is that they’ll know how good they are.

This will give you, and them, the confidence and validation necessary when it’s time for you to switch gears and get away. Give yourself the permission to take time off. It’s the key to exceptional teamwork and amazing results.