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The secrets to avoiding burnout at work

Apr 6, 2021 | Tips

Burnout is no joke. It happens in the workplace and it doesn’t denote weakness or ineptitude. It’s a blatant reality that can affect anybody and we need to learn how to stop burning out at work before it takes root.

The ability to handle a high workload, client pressure, shifting work environments and an actual personal life is a fine art. An art you should learn if you want to avoid experiencing burnout.

Identifying and understanding burnout

Are you burning out at work? Do you know what signs to look for?

Burnout is a state of excessive mental, physical, and emotional overload which leads to disengagement and apathy. It differs from stress in terms of its apathetic impact rather than overdrive, so keeping an eye out for the signs and symptoms of job burnout is crucial.

The symptoms of burnout at work are:

  • lethargy
  • a feeling of hopelessness and poor mental health
  • a loss of motivation
  • detachment
  • cynicism
  • poor performance
  • physical ailments and health problems

What are the other signs of burnout to look out for? Do you regularly relate to the following?

  • Every day is bad.
  • Caring or putting in effort is a waste of time.
  • I’m exhausted all the time.
  • Every task I do is unfulfilling.
  • Every task I do is incredibly overwhelming.
  • I don’t have enough room in my brain for all of this.
  • No matter what I do, it’s not enough.
  • I’m over it.
  • What’s the point in trying?

Causes of workplace burnout:

  • a lack of clarity in roles and duties
  • time pressure
  • high workload
  • lack of support
  • perceived unfairness

If you’re seeing yourself reflected in the above, try and put the following into practice to remedy the debilitation of workplace burnout.

Ways to manage and mitigate workplace burnout

How can we avoid, manage, or prevent burnout to stop it from causing undue effects?

1) Approach HR or relevant colleague

These are often human resource concerns. Don’t be intimidated by approaching the issue by setting up a private meeting with HR or a relevant person or body.

If you’re experiencing perceived unfairness or lack of support, HR is often well placed to help manage and mediate the issue.

2) Approach your manager

In many cases, approaching the issue head-on is a way forward. If your burnout pertains to lack of role clarity, time pressures, high workload or competing priorities, in many cases your manager may not be aware of your predicament and a direct approach can help find a solution.

2) Self-care

Often, practicing good self-care is central to beating burnout.

  • Sleep is the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health, make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. It’s truly a wonder what sleep can help you achieve.
  • Diet is also central to a well-managed brain and body. Try to cut down on sugar, alcohol, saturated fats, and salt while increasing vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. It’s a good idea to consult a nutritionist who can tailor a diet to suit your body and lifestyle.
  • Exercise is a wonder booster to energy, brain function and stress relief. Try to get out and get at least 20 minutes of high intensity exercise to reset and equip yourself to beat burnout.
  • Carve out some ‘me-time’ for your favourite activity. Simply scheduling downtime can help bring the zest back to your working life and help you refocus on yourself by regaining a sense of fun and contentment.

3) Re-prioritise

Are your priorities out of whack? Have a look at what’s most important in your role and your life and focus on these things. When we get bogged down in thankless tasks and low priority output, we can be easily overcome and lose sight of what’s important and what our value is.

4) Organise your day better

In many cases, tackling too much at once or bouncing between tasks can be at the root of workplace burnout. Spend some time looking at how you organise your workday and personal hours.

Try switching off distractions, monotasking not multitasking and creating a more rigorous calendar of events.

In many cases, organising your time better can lead to better time management, less stress, more productivity and less burnout.

5) Seek professional assistance

Sometimes you need to seek professional counselling or similar services to help shed light on the issue of burnout.

Don’t be hesitant to book an appointment and seek professional help outside your organisation and personal life to gain the advantage of qualified and exterior opinions and advice.


If none of this is working for you, in the long term you may need to seek a new role or career. It’s an extreme move and a last resort but prioritising your wellbeing is important for everyone involved.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.