How to avoid burnout as New Manager

Posted on May 05, 2024 in Leadership

How to Avoid Burnout as a New Manager

First, I want to thank you for deciding to read this article. Second, I'll make a few assumptions about you that might have led you here.

My first assumption is that you've recently taken up the role of managing people. By "recently," I mean you've been in this role for about 1 to 3 years or less. My second assumption is that you find yourself overwhelmed with new responsibilities.

Understanding the Journey to Burnout

So, you are a new manager? Congratulations! You are now in charge of your team. This could have happened through different paths—perhaps you were promoted within your team, brought in from an internal transfer, or hired directly into this role. Regardless of how you arrived here, the challenges are often similar.

What might have led you to this phase of your career? One of the reason is that you are likely trying to balance the role of an individual contributor while also managing and being responsible for others' work. By the way, the word 'balance' carries the subtle in-built stress. There's always pressure whenever you are carrying out the act of balance.

Recognizing Burnout

It's easy to get trapped in trying to prove your worth by burning the candle at both ends, but this is not sustainable. While delivering or overachieving in the first few years can be rewarding, it's crucial to develop skills that will help you grow into a senior leader while keeping your life enjoyable both at work and outside of it.

Here are some signs that you might be experiencing burnout or are on the verge of it:

  • Eagerly Waiting for Weekends: If you find yourself constantly counting down the days to the weekend, it might be a sign of burnout.
  • Monday Blues Start Sunday Afternoon: Feeling anxious or stressed about the upcoming workweek on Sunday afternoon is another indicator.
  • Low Energy and Dreading the Day Ahead: Consistently feeling drained and apprehensive about your daily tasks is a red flag.
  • Feeling Overwhelmed and Out of Control: If your workload feels unmanageable and you can't seem to get on top of things, burnout might be looming.

Strategies to Combat Burnout

Now that you've identified potential burnout, let's talk about addressing it and what you can do to mitigate it.

Set Healthy Boundaries

  • Time-Block for Rest: Dedicate time blocks where you do not think about work. Your brain needs a break from a single type of activity to recharge effectively.

Rest Up!

  • Take Breaks Instead of Quitting: "If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit." - Banksy. Make sure to rest adequately, both during the day and with a full night's sleep.

Do Something You Love – Outside of Your Job

  • Pursue Hobbies: Engage in activities you enjoy outside of work. This could be anything from reading, playing a sport, or any other hobby that brings you joy.

Be Practical

  • Manageable Workload: Only take on tasks you can realistically accomplish in a day. Break larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Structured Schedule: Calendar your work schedule, including breaks. Use tools like Google Calendar to set reminders for breaks and to manage your time efficiently.

Ground Yourself

  • Nature Walks: Spend time walking in nature or just outside your office. Even a brief stroll can rejuvenate your mind.
  • Doodle or Scribble: Engage in small, creative activities like doodling between meetings to give your brain a short, enjoyable break.

Embrace Context Changes

  • Mindful Transitions: Be mindful of the transition from one meeting to another. Avoid back-to-back meetings when possible and allow yourself time to shift gears.
  • Move Around: Take small breaks to move around between meetings. A quick stretch or walk can help reset your mind.

Intentional Pauses

  • Pause and Reevaluate: When feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to pause and reassess your priorities. This helps in regaining control and perspective.

Believe in Yourself

  • Confidence in Your Skills: Remind yourself of your capabilities and why you were chosen for this role. Trust in your skill set and your ability to grow and succeed as a manager.

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can mitigate the risk of burnout and create a more fulfilling work-life experience.

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