06 Jul Project Management | Professional burnout in IT: causes, symptoms, overcoming
In every person’s life there comes a moment when fatigue, apathy and indifference may appear.
There’s no wish to work, communicate with people or follow the routine. Nothing brings joy or pleasure.
I’ve been in a similar state once; my friends and colleagues have passed or are passing through this, as well. You can see signs of this at the candidate interviews. This is burnout. How shall we recognize the first symptoms and prevent professional burnout? How could we feel the desire to achieve success again? This is not about ordinary demotivation when temporarily we are not willing to do a specific task or work at a particular place.
It is worth worrying if you have lost the desire to communicate with colleagues or to work at some easy short causes. Or besides the customer’s requests got annoying. You might become inattentive, unable to concentrate on the task or doing everything on autopilot without thinking about the result.
There is uncertainty in one’s own abilities, a feeling of guilt for not doing the work on time. You try to shift the responsibility for what is happening to your colleagues, clients or supervisors. You may more and more start using the subjunctive mood: if not … Craving for overeating, shopaholism, computer games, and, as a result, health problems are the impetus of your loss of interest to your favorite things, a hobby rejection or so on. It is impossible to cope with such condition. Sleep, rest or vacation do not do any help.
Burnout is not cured with a job change – it is an overemployment syndrome, a prolonged state of the emotional exhaustion. If you have analyzed your feelings and honestly admitted that you have been experiencing something similar, ask yourself the question: “How often does this happen?” If it happens 2-3 times a month – this is quite natural and may be caused by the weather, hormonal balance, temporary fatigue. This is high time to make a switch and invigorated, and have a good rest on weekends to return to work renewed. If you have been in a state of an almost every day nervous exhaustion for several weeks, it’s about time to pay serious attention to what is happening and understand its essence.
The most common causes may be excessive workload, unclear distribution of roles and responsibilities or lack of professional employees’ competence. Some suffer from an excess of communication (especially analysts and project managers), too emotional reaction to what is happening, or conflicts with colleagues and clients. The constant feeling of “tailings” like unfinished work, outstanding tasks, “yesterday’s deadlines” these unsettle thoroughly. Tomorrow’s uncertainty, inabilities to rest or “reboot” quickly lead a person to a state of anxiety and mental stress.
How to help yourself recover from a depression back to a sane, full life? Specialists helped some of my acquaintances: coaches, psychoanalysts, mentors. Others have learned to tidy up their feelings, thoughts and feelings on their own. What did they start with? First of all, you should admit that there is a problem, and analyze why the burnout has occurred.
Answer your questions:
- What do I want to change?
- What do I want to feel when I wake up in the morning?
- What do I value my work for?
- What professional goals do I set for myself and how do I spend a working day?
The answers to these questions had better be recorded. A top tip is to start a Success Diary and record what good things happen during the day. Bring your thoughts, achievements and gratitude there. It is a good idea to draw up an Action Plan for the next 3-4 weeks and mark the points that are implemented.
It is necessary to determine things pleasant for you with which you will start your day. For example, buying a croissant and a cup of your favorite drink on the way, listening to interesting videos for 15 minutes, learning something new or humming a funny tune. In the morning you need to plan 2 things that you do in the evening.
These can be either very simple tasks or more complex ones. Cleaning the desktop, sending letters to the client, drawing up a report – these are important to outline and necessary to do. You will see your work to appear much easier and happier!
Many people think that changing a job helps to find inner harmony and balance. But problems can be solved at the current workplace, regaining interest in what you are doing. And then, armed with a positive attitude and constructive thoughts, you are welcome to look for a new place, if needed.
There are different ways to begin your journey toward life balance and satisfaction.
Here are some of the options, suggested by friends and colleagues; and tested by me, as well:
- Smile and take strong postures. It is proved that our emotions are reflected in poses and facial expressions, we give signals to the brain to trigger the corresponding changes in the hormonal balance. So these the change emotional state. You can check it out right now! Walk 30 meters hunched over, getting the hump, scraping along the floor. What are you feeling? Now straighten your shoulders, smile, look straight and walk easily. What about now?
- It is unpleasant to communicate? Start listening. Carefully, thoughtfully. Try to understand what the interlocutor wants to convey. It is not necessary to answer immediately – think it over.
- Think of tasks that you don’t like in terms of the opportunities they give. May they teach you efficiency? Or the print speed development? Eloquence? Responsibility? Kindness?
- Watch your emotions. What causes anger, annoyance, disappointment, what pleases you? Why is it so? What are you feeling about them? By analyzing our behavior, we take control over emotions, and they control us less.
- Ask colleagues for help or advice find moreover whom to help and means to do that.
- If possible, work in another place: a meeting room, a cafe. Take breaks, get up every hour and look aside at what is happening around you.
- Spend your lunch time on yourself, try new dishes, visit different places and don’t talk about business!
- Grasp and focus on one thing at a time. Try to alternate tasks: a difficult, a simple one.
- Limit the time you spend in social networks.
- Pamper yourself! Create motivation to successfully complete the task within the deadline.
- Each day observe something good in your colleagues, supervisors, or clients. Do not waste time complaining, gossiping and discussing others.
This is not a complete list of options. You can enlarge it with your own items, you can randomly select anything three. The main is the desire. Action follows desire, motivation follows actions! It is also important to remember difficult times, mistakes and defeats are given to us so that we become better.
The main thing is not to doubt, but to act! Under the law of causation, positive thoughts transform the person`s character and destiny. Internal changes will affect your surroundings miraculously and entail favorable events.