Burnout is never a fun feeling. You go to resume work on one of your projects, and no matter how pressing its deadline is or how passionate you felt about the work when you started, you just can’t bring yourself to complete the job. Don’t fall prey to any feelings of inadequacy, though.
Project burnout occurs when you look at a project too closely for too long, and it can arise in anyone.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to combat project burnout and bring back the project-oriented passion that you feel you’ve lost.
First, if you’re feeling less than energetic while working on a project, acknowledge how you’re feeling.
You won’t be any use to anyone if you’re puttering around and trying to convince yourself to work when your body and brain are telling you to rest. Take into account your feelings and productivity.
How much do you feel like you’ve accomplished in the past few hours? Are you unusually tired or irritated? Don’t repress these feelings – address them and acknowledge that you need to take steps to take care of yourself as a professional.
What brings about a bad case of burnout?
Like we said, burnout usually sneaks up on a person when she’s been working with a project for too long. If a project has proven especially overwhelming, or if numerous difficulties with clients or expectations have arisen, for example, you may find yourself at risk for burnout. Once the negative elements of a project begin to outweigh the positive elements, take a step back and assess your situation. It’s easier to prevent burnout, sometimes, than it is to come back from it.
You may be experiencing burnout if you notice any of the following:
Like we mentioned earlier, though, there are ways to combat burnout – you won’t be stuck in your fugue state forever.
If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms of burnout or other, similar behaviors, make sure that you reach out to a supervisor or friend in order to brainstorm your own individual solutions as well as consider the ones we mention here.
If, in your discussion, you realize that it’s your team members who are making your work on a project less than enjoyable.
In this case, you may be able to have your supervisor swap out who you’re working with. This won’t always be the case and is less doable if your compatibility with a client is lacking. However, swapping out the team members working on a particular project can not only rejuvenate the mood of a group, but it can bring fresh ideas to the table and give a project the energy it needs to resume forward motion.
When a project is stalling out, you’ll want to meet with the client you’re working with in order to let them know how you’re progressing – even if you’re not progressing at all.
Meeting with a client will allow you to alter deadlines as necessary. You’ll also have the opportunity to re-establish a project’s goals, set new expectations for yourself, the client, and your teammates, and to sooth any tempers that have risen in light of delays.
Communication is essential to workplace productivity, and it, as much as anything else, can help you find the energy to resume work on a project.
If you find yourself wondering whether you’re experiencing burnout or just misusing your time, time tracking apps can help you develop a better understanding of what your day-to-day schedule looks like.
For example, Timeneye enables you to record the amount of time you spend working on individual elements of a project. If you notice that you are spending a reasonable amount of time brainstorming ways to get your project off the ground, then you may want to schedule yourself some time away from that particular project, if only to give yourself a break and let your creative juices recharge.
Finally, one of the best solutions for project burnout is changing your surroundings.
Get out of your office! Go for a walk down the street to stretch your legs, or talk with your supervisor and see if you can’t work from home. Take your meetings with your teammates and client to coffee shops, a nearby park, or places where you feel comfortable. A change of view can perk up your brain and allow you to see your project from a different perspective.
It may seem simple, but moving around and setting into a new environment may be all your project needs in order to find its spark again.
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