Job burnout can happen to even the most well-intentioned professionals. It often occurs when you become overburdened and overwhelmed or, perhaps, your work becomes less challenging and, as a result, less stimulating. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and respond to them before it becomes worse. Here are some things you should consider:
You dread going to work. This is a telltale sign of burnout. If you find yourself avoiding your office, finding excuses to stay away, or bracing yourself for work that was once enjoyable, you need to consider what has changed. Tracing the burnout back through your symptoms and to the cause will help you better deal with the stressors that are making you feel overwhelmed.
You feel unmotivated and depressed. Often apathy and sadness are emotional signs that you’re struggling with burnout. Consider what, specifically, is making you feel this way. Diagnosing your ailment is only helpful when it enables you to pinpoint what’s causing it.
Your work is suffering. If you find it takes longer to do ordinary tasks and the quality of your work has declined, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed by your job and all that it entails.
You avoid clients and other financial professionals. When you’re experiencing job burnout, you develop an aversion for things you once enjoyed. Often that includes those with whom you work or share common interests.
You live day-to-day rather than look with anticipation to the future. When you’re consumed with the stress and anxiety of your job and have lost sight of your future, than you need to take a step back and ask yourself what’s causing you to feel that way.
While these are just a few of the symptoms, if you find yourself relating to two of more of these stressors, you may want to think about performing a personal intervention where you take action to eliminate the burnout before your practice suffers. Consider the following action items:
Avoid working too hard and too long. Not taking the time to relax and unwind can lead to job burnout rather quickly. You need to achieve a good balance between your business and your personal life. And we realize that many of you are working long after your day-job has finished. Take the time to evaluate your work schedule and see how you can ensure that you’re getting enough sleep and time to yourself. This may require setting some practical boundaries. One way you can achieve that is by vowing to work only within designated office hours. For example, you might decide that you won’t work after 9pm, and you don’t go to bed after 10pm. Or perhaps it means you reserve your weekends for yourself and your family. Whatever you decide, ensure you reduce this stressor before it leads to greater physical and emotional problems.
Look for greater reward and satisfaction. If you’re feeling unrewarded or unsatisfied with your business, you need to determine why. Perhaps you could set specific goals and then reward yourself when you achieve them. Or maybe you should introduce a greater challenge to your day-to-day routine by adding more services to your menu, like tax preparation and planning. And remember that having your own business is no fun if you don’t take the time to enjoy some of the fringe benefits. Don’t wait for your clients to praise your work; learn to appreciate that a client’s continued use of your services is reward enough.
Consider consulting with a doctor. Some of the emotions you’re feeling may be a manifestation of a physical ailment. If you address the burnout to no avail, we suggest you visit a doctor to see if there’s a way he/she may be able to help.
It’s important that you look for ways to avoid burnout altogether. Taking a regular break from your business is one way to do that. Either way, watch for potential symptoms so that you can alleviate burnout before it affects your practice.
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