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Effective goal-setting underlies the fundamental aspect of your motivation and keeps stressful situations at bay.
If you don’t set goals in positive, attainable ways, you may fall into a cycle of stress and negative emotions, hindering your decision-making, breeding a lack of creativity, and eventually making you feel mentally exhausted and burnt out.
As losing resources is more likely to cause burnout than gaining resources is to mitigate it, dealing with the negative aspects is more beneficial than using positive “band-aid” fixes. You want to drive down uncertainty and inefficiency to ensure that you aren’t doing unnecessary tasks and minimize your emotional exhaustion. To do that:
Emotional exhaustion colors our perception negatively, leading to disengagement and feelings of doubt/distrust. This cynicism demotivates and leads to burnout, as we focus on avoiding losses more than on approaching gains. Cynicism recovery happens by reframing the motivational system into one that is more approach driven (as opposed to avoidance driven), as it generates more excitement and less procrastination. To do that:
Performing obligations makes you want to do desired activities to compensate, which often leads to failures in self-control and feelings of inadequacy. It’s important to not overwhelm yourself with obligations so you don’t lose control later and incur in inefficiency.
Burnout occurs when job demands consistently outweigh the resources available. The first thing you need to do is to set proper limits.
When you limit your time spent on specific tasks, you give yourself permission to make choices. Instead of fighting perfectionism for example, you learn to stop when things are good enough.
Researchers listed fifteen different coping strategies commonly used by people experiencing burnout. Not all coping mechanisms are constructive.
Regardless of the coping strategies you use, try not to push through burnout. Attempt to get support, take a break, and make space for self-reflection.
Knowledge workers, especially in software development suffer from an inherent absence of fairness, where the usual ‘tangible’ indicators of work like staying late at work doing overtime are rewarded by the managers.