Avoiding Burnout: Getting the Information You Need

Reviewed Apr 16, 2016

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Summary

  • Go to the source.
  • Consult your supervisor.
  • Look inside.
  • Cultivate your news sources.
  • Choose your battles.

Have you ever been delayed this close (imagine your thumb and forefinger about one millimeter apart) to a deadline because someone still had not given you that last key piece of information you needed to complete your project? It may be somebody in accounting, marketing, or information services whom you can never seem to reach, and your "chair warmer" may be expendable if you fail to deliver on time. Worse, this kind of frustration can lead to burnout.

What started out as a challenging job somehow mutated into a stressful one. Most experts in behavior agree that challenge not only energizes us psychologically and physiologically, but also motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. After meeting a challenge, we feel relaxed and satisfied. That’s when we tend to be most productive. But when a challenge turns into demands that cannot be met, relaxation becomes exhaustion, satisfaction becomes anxiety, and we feel stress.

Here are some suggestions for avoiding burnout by getting the information you need and keeping an even keel:

  • Go straight to the source. In today's increasingly team-oriented corporate culture, it may be OK to approach the source of information directly. Explain your situation calmly and listen to the other person’s response. Perhaps there’s a creative solution you can find together.
  • Consult your supervisor, if you can’t resolve this yourself. After identifying the person or department that has the information you need, go to your immediate supervisor and discuss—in a positive, constructive way—your situation. Recap the project you’re working on, describe what’s at stake, and recount the steps you’ve taken to get the information you need. Also convey what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • Look inside. Realize that burnout is not always the result of overworking; it is the product of frustration over circumstances. Reassess and take account. Could you have headed this kind of crisis off with better planning? Do you need time-management training? Are you a type A person who insists on handling everything yourself?
  • Cultivate your news sources. Socialize with colleagues and discuss experiences and ideas. You’ll gain information and insight into the company and the industry that could be helpful to you in your job.
  • Choose your battles, weapons, and strategies carefully. Keep in mind a Quaker saying: “In the face of strong winds, let me be a blade of grass. In the face of strong walls, let me be a gale of wind.”
By Brian Cohen
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. W.H. Freeman and Co., 1994; From Stress to Strength by Robert S. Eliot, MD. Bantam Books, 1994; Interview with Joyce Robbins, president and owner of Adams & Garth Staffing.

Summary

  • Go to the source.
  • Consult your supervisor.
  • Look inside.
  • Cultivate your news sources.
  • Choose your battles.

Have you ever been delayed this close (imagine your thumb and forefinger about one millimeter apart) to a deadline because someone still had not given you that last key piece of information you needed to complete your project? It may be somebody in accounting, marketing, or information services whom you can never seem to reach, and your "chair warmer" may be expendable if you fail to deliver on time. Worse, this kind of frustration can lead to burnout.

What started out as a challenging job somehow mutated into a stressful one. Most experts in behavior agree that challenge not only energizes us psychologically and physiologically, but also motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. After meeting a challenge, we feel relaxed and satisfied. That’s when we tend to be most productive. But when a challenge turns into demands that cannot be met, relaxation becomes exhaustion, satisfaction becomes anxiety, and we feel stress.

Here are some suggestions for avoiding burnout by getting the information you need and keeping an even keel:

  • Go straight to the source. In today's increasingly team-oriented corporate culture, it may be OK to approach the source of information directly. Explain your situation calmly and listen to the other person’s response. Perhaps there’s a creative solution you can find together.
  • Consult your supervisor, if you can’t resolve this yourself. After identifying the person or department that has the information you need, go to your immediate supervisor and discuss—in a positive, constructive way—your situation. Recap the project you’re working on, describe what’s at stake, and recount the steps you’ve taken to get the information you need. Also convey what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • Look inside. Realize that burnout is not always the result of overworking; it is the product of frustration over circumstances. Reassess and take account. Could you have headed this kind of crisis off with better planning? Do you need time-management training? Are you a type A person who insists on handling everything yourself?
  • Cultivate your news sources. Socialize with colleagues and discuss experiences and ideas. You’ll gain information and insight into the company and the industry that could be helpful to you in your job.
  • Choose your battles, weapons, and strategies carefully. Keep in mind a Quaker saying: “In the face of strong winds, let me be a blade of grass. In the face of strong walls, let me be a gale of wind.”
By Brian Cohen
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. W.H. Freeman and Co., 1994; From Stress to Strength by Robert S. Eliot, MD. Bantam Books, 1994; Interview with Joyce Robbins, president and owner of Adams & Garth Staffing.

Summary

  • Go to the source.
  • Consult your supervisor.
  • Look inside.
  • Cultivate your news sources.
  • Choose your battles.

Have you ever been delayed this close (imagine your thumb and forefinger about one millimeter apart) to a deadline because someone still had not given you that last key piece of information you needed to complete your project? It may be somebody in accounting, marketing, or information services whom you can never seem to reach, and your "chair warmer" may be expendable if you fail to deliver on time. Worse, this kind of frustration can lead to burnout.

What started out as a challenging job somehow mutated into a stressful one. Most experts in behavior agree that challenge not only energizes us psychologically and physiologically, but also motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. After meeting a challenge, we feel relaxed and satisfied. That’s when we tend to be most productive. But when a challenge turns into demands that cannot be met, relaxation becomes exhaustion, satisfaction becomes anxiety, and we feel stress.

Here are some suggestions for avoiding burnout by getting the information you need and keeping an even keel:

  • Go straight to the source. In today's increasingly team-oriented corporate culture, it may be OK to approach the source of information directly. Explain your situation calmly and listen to the other person’s response. Perhaps there’s a creative solution you can find together.
  • Consult your supervisor, if you can’t resolve this yourself. After identifying the person or department that has the information you need, go to your immediate supervisor and discuss—in a positive, constructive way—your situation. Recap the project you’re working on, describe what’s at stake, and recount the steps you’ve taken to get the information you need. Also convey what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • Look inside. Realize that burnout is not always the result of overworking; it is the product of frustration over circumstances. Reassess and take account. Could you have headed this kind of crisis off with better planning? Do you need time-management training? Are you a type A person who insists on handling everything yourself?
  • Cultivate your news sources. Socialize with colleagues and discuss experiences and ideas. You’ll gain information and insight into the company and the industry that could be helpful to you in your job.
  • Choose your battles, weapons, and strategies carefully. Keep in mind a Quaker saying: “In the face of strong winds, let me be a blade of grass. In the face of strong walls, let me be a gale of wind.”
By Brian Cohen
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. W.H. Freeman and Co., 1994; From Stress to Strength by Robert S. Eliot, MD. Bantam Books, 1994; Interview with Joyce Robbins, president and owner of Adams & Garth Staffing.

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