Chances are, if you are thinking about “quiet quitting,” it’s because you’re getting burned out at your job. This could be due to a variety of reasons. Your workload may seem unsustainable, where you’re missing deadlines or turning in low quality work. You may feel like you don’t fit in with the company culture. You might have realized that you’re not happy with the career path you’ve chosen. Or, you could have problems outside of work that are affecting your overall happiness and wellbeing. Whatever the case, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of burnout, and take steps to overcome it.
The Three Dimensions of Professional Burnout
Dennis Consorte is the author of the upcoming book, Triumph Over Burnout, which includes numerous tools and techniques for workplace wellness and productivity. He explained that modern psychologists say that burnout has three dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. According to Consorte, “If you’re feeling fatigued, irritable, and find yourself frequently missing deadlines or delivering work that’s below your own standards, you could be experiencing professional burnout.”
Consorte says that burnout is rampant today. Much of that was due to the way our lives were completely transformed due to the lockdowns and other societal changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people still haven’t overcome the effects of social isolation, weight gain, and despair over the past few years. Now, companies are expecting people to come back to the office after several years of adjusting their lives to the new paradigm. Some people responded negatively, either by quitting their jobs or “quiet quitting.” There are many cases where a job just isn’t the right fit for someone, or where people have moved beyond the concept of working in a physical office space. But there are also cases where quitting—or quiet-quitting are the result of burnout. If you’re in this category, there is an alternative to withdrawing from your job.
How to Overcome Occupational Burnout
The symptoms of occupational burnout are exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. The opposite of those are: high energy, confidence, and efficacy. According to Consorte, one way to overcome burnout is by focusing on these three areas. If you take steps to increase your energy levels, improve your self-esteem, and lead a more productive life, then you will effectively replace all of the symptoms of burnout with their positive equivalents. The net outcome is that you will no longer feel burnt. You’ll focus better at work, and you’ll be happier all around. So, think of ways to address each of these three dimensions.
Energize Your Life
Get into a state of higher energy by building movement into your life. Start by cutting out unhealthy habits like spending hours on end scrolling through your social media feed or watching TV. Instead, go for daily walks as a starting point. The simple act of building movement into your life will stimulate physical and mental health. Eventually, you can work your way up to regular workouts at the gym, or sports and other physical activities. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to get active, then find a workout buddy or accountability partner. Knowing that you’re accountable to someone else will make you more responsible about your own actions.
Additionally, try taking a vacation. Travel somewhere fun to clear your mind, and reflect on your future. Sometimes, getting away from work for a period of time is enough to energize yourself back into a healthy frame of mind.
Get your Confidence Back
As you engage in more healthy activities, some of your confidence will come back. Amplify it further by setting small, achievable goals at work and in your personal life. At work, set goals to complete small projects every day. Then, set slightly larger, yet achievable goals on a weekly basis. At home, your goal could be as simple as making your bed or taking out the trash every day. In the gym, it could mean spending an extra minute on the treadmill each week, while you work your way up to a longer workout.
Make sure these are SMART Goals, or: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. Define them precisely, set metrics for success, and set deadlines. This will keep your goals from lingering for weeks or months. Over time, you can reflect back on all of the small things that you accomplished. In aggregate, they could amount to a tremendous amount of positive change in your life.
Completing each of these small goals will give you a natural dose of neurotransmitters that positively affect your biology and confidence. You’ll naturally be happier, and that will transform you into a more confident version of yourself.
Improve Your Sense of Efficacy
Each of these dimensions builds upon one another to drive you out of burnout. Higher energy levels will stimulate you to engage in activities that improve your confidence. And, completing small, achievable goals will help you to regain your confidence. This in turn, can help you to improve your efficacy, especially at work. You’ll naturally produce more and better deliverables each day, and each week. This will motivate you to do better on bigger projects, too.
Take it a step further by incorporating some productivity frameworks into your life. For example, try the Eisenhower Matrix. Make a four-square grid with “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” across the top, and “Important” and “Not Important” down the side. Then, categorize your tasks as urgent vs not urgent, and important vs. not important by placing them into one of the four boxes.
- Do the urgent and important things first.
- Schedule the not urgent, yet important things for a future date
- Delegate the urgent, yet not important tasks to other people
- Eliminate everything that is neither important nor urgent
Get More Advice on Overcoming Burnout
There is plenty of information available online to help you overcome burnout. You may even find a better option than “quiet quitting” when things aren’t going your way at work. One place to start is with Dennis Consorte’s podcast, Snackable Solutions. Although it is targeted to small business owners and entrepreneurs, there are numerous episodes that deal with the challenges of burnout, and overcoming them.
Also read articles on how to deal with burnout. You can find numerous articles on this website, and around the internet. Try different tactics that experts prescribe. Some of those tactics may not work well for you. Others will be a home run. So, just keep going until you find the winning formula. Recognize the problem, take small steps to overcome it, and live a happier, healthier life.