homeWelcome, sign in or click here to subscribe.login



Architecture & Engineering

print  email to a friend  reprints add to mydjc  
Clive Shearer
by Design
By Clive Shearer

December 9, 2015

Management by Design: How to avoid holiday burnout at work and home

Special to the Journal

Being burned out limits our ability to enjoy the festive season. It’s hard to relax when occupied with pressures instead of pleasure, worries instead of well-being, and anxieties instead of amusement.

Here are some ways to brighten your holidays:

1. Don’t take on too much

Doing too much can result in burnout, and applies at work and at home. When we feel overloaded, our performance is affected, and our attention can become divided. For example, a football receiver who drops the ball typically does so because he is focusing on where he is going to run, or who is coming to tackle him, and not on catching the ball.

One cannot really focus on two complex tasks at the same time.

By fracturing our attention we open the door to mistakes and forgetfulness. And stress is common when things go wrong, when preventable errors occur, and when we don’t meet expectations.

2. See through time illusions

No one gets more than 1,440 minutes a day. Time management is really task management because our time allotment is fixed. One approach is to commence quickly, work fast, and speed through every task to get things done. Procrastination is avoided, and action is encouraged. However, there are times to wait, times when is it better to be patient and reflect.

Rushing into action can result in a task not done well. For example, it might be better to first gather input, rather than pushing ahead with the data at hand. In many cases, this sedate approach results in better outcomes. In other cases, patience is preferred when the team is not yet set, and racing ahead may force a delay to allow others to catch up.

Starting a task before budgets are approved, or before a scope of work is defined might lead to considerable backtracking, with delays and sometimes embarrassment.

3. Don’t get overloaded

Delegation is often available in the workplace, yet we elect to avoid it, deciding instead to do the task ourselves. Why? The common answer is “I don’t have the time to delegate, it’s faster if I do it myself” Fine! But then you condemn yourself to always doing the task. By not delegating you miss a teaching moment. And, you must deal with the stress caused by having to do your own work, plus the tasks of others.

If your staffers can’t do the job adequately, whose fault is that? It is no good complaining if they have not been coached correctly. In summary, don’t take on the stress of doing two jobs; instead take a load off yourself and delegate to people who have been shown how to do the work.

4. Be good to yourself

Sometimes we do or say something that we later regret. Why? Emotion is the usual culprit. We can lose our logic when someone touches a hot button, when we feel someone resisting us, or when we feel a personal affront. Later, when calm has returned, we realize we could have handled the provocation differently.

When you can apologize, do so sincerely. Sometimes that opportunity does not arise — the person won’t take your call, or read your e-mail, or is not contactable. In that case, there are two things to do. First, apologize to a higher power if that is appropriate for you, and then review in your mind how you might have handled the situation differently — knowing that’s the better way. Second, forgive yourself. Don’t carry the burden of the past on your shoulders. This is the season for forgiveness.

Clive Shearer is a professional trainer, educator and retreat facilitator and can be reached at cgb9@yahoo.com

Previous columns:

Email or user name:
Forgot password? Click here.