resources Overcoming Job
Burnout: How to
for Work, by Beverly
Phil Frank, $14.95,
Reclaiming the Fire:
Burnout, by Steven
Berglas, $19, Random
Slack: Getting Past
and the Myth of Total
Efficiency, by Tom
Coming up Part 2: In the next
issue, I’ll cover specific strategies for
confronting and overcoming burnout.
To figure out the root of your burnout, take the
time to make some honest observations. Try to identify
the source of your distress by asking yourself
some frank questions:
How long have I felt this way? Did something precipitate
When do I feel poorly—at work or all the time?
Has this ever happened before? How did I get out
Is there a pattern to how I feel—e.g., worse after I
eat? Bad on Mondays?
Then, ask people whom you trust to give you honest
feedback to questions like:
Do you see any difference in my general behavior
Am I less pleasant to be around than I have been
in the past?
Have you ever felt burned out, and if so, how did
you overcome it?
Finally, you will find it helpful if you actually document
your own feelings and patterns of behavior.
Keeping a journal, even for just a month, will give
you good insight into what may be precipitating
your bad days. Try to write when you first wake up
in the morning. Writing in the morning when your
thoughts are your own and not jaded by the day’s
events will yield the most insights. Jot down what
you ate the evening before and how you feel in general
and specifically about the day ahead. What are
you worried about? What are you looking forward
to? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you
want to see? Who do you hope to avoid? Rate your
energy level and your enthusiasm level on a scale
from one to ten.
By documenting your days, you’ll begin to
identify predictors for how you feel; this allows
you to search for ways to address what’s ailing you.
Don’t look at your entries until the entire month
has passed, then read the entire journal, with an eye
toward finding the root of the problem, or at the
very least clues to when it seems worst.
About the author Sheree Clark is managing partner
of Sayles Graphic
Design in Des Moines,
Iowa; an author and
speaker on organizational
issues; and owner of
which provides selfpromotion