While burnout used to be more common in lower-ranking positions, it has flipped and now it’s very common for higher-paid employees to put in more than 50 hours a week. That means the threat of burnout is real at all rungs in the career ladder now, but what can be done about it? In an article for Harvard Business Review, Matt Plummer gives some advice on how to be more productive without burning out:
- Be strategic.
- Define a metric.
- Focus on one change at a time.
- Change your behavior.
- Find someone to hold you accountable.
For starters, not all employers have been unaware of the situation. Some have tried to compensate for the extra hours with increased benefits, while others have decided to make work spaces a far more casual environment. Plummer noticed this and worked with others to identify ways to systematically limit burnout.
He managed to isolate it into the above five ways to improve your performance. He starts off by saying that you need to be strategic about your specific approach to productivity, in precisely the same way that a strategic approach needs to be taken with leading business. To be strategic, your approach needs to be sustainable. Define a metric that measures sustainable productivity for you, such as “average weekly hours worked.” Plummer then says to focus on one change at a time:
There’s a lot that goes into becoming more productive. I’m sure you’ve read many articles that talk about the “five steps” or “8 things” or “10 ways” to getting more done in less time. But it’s too much to work on so many skills at any one time. Instead, figure out which one thing is the biggest obstacle to your productivity. What would save you the most time if it were removed? Time spent deciding what to do next? Facebook? Being interrupted at your desk? Start there.
After figuring out what you’re going to change, change the behavior. Being productive isn’t like reciting the periodic table, but a lifestyle choice, despite how corny that sounds. It is about consciously introducing new, better habits that replace the ineffective old ones. Furthermore, establish a solid support group that will help you through this process. You need people to hold you accountable for your slip-ups and keep you honest about your progress. You can do the same in turn for them.
You can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-to-be-more-productive-without-burning-out