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How to Improve Your Work Ethic Without Burnout

How’re you feeling today? Not just in terms of physical wellness, but your overall health, mentally and emotionally too.

We live in a culture where plenty of importance is placed on work, working hard, going “above and beyond” and putting our jobs at or near the top of our priority list. That’s great, but sometimes we allow the stress of deadlines and work-related pressure to overpower everything else, including our own health.

It’s possible to be a strong, reliable, dedicated employee without burning yourself out. Here are a few tips on creating a work-life balance as a person with a strong work ethic who also takes care of themselves.

Use your time wisely.

Start each morning with a to-do list. Determine the most important things to get done that day and write them down, on a numbered list. As each task is finished, cross it off so you have a visual reminder of what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t complete the list, because something came up or a project took longer than expected, don’t fret; instead, before going home, take a moment to appreciate all the hard work you did accomplish that day. Feel satisfied in knowing you did your best. Additionally, set aside dedicated pockets of time for things like checking and responding to emails, answering messages and anything else that might be a distraction from the tasks at hand. This helps minimize time wasted by things that don’t work toward achieving your goals for the day.

Be focused and present in the moment.

It’s so easy to let our minds wander, especially if we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Instead, if you feel your thoughts start to drift, close your eyes and take a breath. Bring yourself back into the moment. Then open your eyes, take another deep breath and get back into whatever you’re working on. Try not to think about the 10,000 other things on your to-do list, including any personal demands at home or social obligations. Try to stay focused on work while at work, so you can focus on everything else when you’re off the clock.

Take ownership.

If you feel like the project you’re working on is yours — you control the outcome, you manage the expectations, you delegate portions of the task to others — you’ll be more invested in the outcome and progress. Own every aspect of your responsibilities and know that you’ll come through, because you know you’ll be the one reaping the rewards. But that also means you need to follow the examples and advice set by your team leader and manager: If you see them ask for help if they’re overwhelmed, know that you can do the same. If you need more time for something, speak up. Remember, you want to do a good job on the items assigned to you; sometimes an extra day or two is worth adding onto a project in order to provide your best possible work. Be open and communicative about this and keep everyone in the loop.

Work together.

Remember that you contribute to the efforts of a larger group. Yes, take ownership of what’s assigned to you, but you are not the sole driver of this vehicle! If someone else on your team is a statistics whiz, for example, and you’re struggling to crunch numbers on an important task, see if they’d be willing to help you, then offer to help them with something in which you’re a little stronger. That’s a great way to create teamwork and foster trust, knowing that you can count on people and they can count on you as well.

Take breaks and be honest.

It might sound counterintuitive, but breaks are a productivity booster. Our brains need to rest. Focusing too much, for too long, on something that’s creating frustration will not help you break through! Take a break. Go outside and get some fresh air. Take a walk if you can, or at least get some water. Say hi, briefly, to a friend. Do something else, even if it’s just for five minutes. Your brain needs to step back and reset. Pushing through a brick wall of frustration will only make you more frustrated, more tired, more cloudy-headed. It will not help.

Stuck in a funk at work? See if Sterling Personnel has a job that’s a better fit for you!

You can be a great worker by setting boundaries as well. When you’re off the clock, you’re off the clock, unless you’re getting paid overtime or comp time for your additional efforts. Being a good worker doesn’t mean dedicating 20 hours of your day to work! You need to rest, to eat healthy foods that taste good; you need time to yourself and time spent doing things you enjoy in order to be a productive worker. It’s all about finding a balance that works.

If you try to adopt some of these changes and you’re still feeling unproductive and stressed out, it might be time to make a change. Luckily, Sterling Personnel can help! We partner with great companies who are looking for talented people and want to treat them well. Take a look at the jobs we have available and then give Sterling Personnel a call today. Let’s change your life for the better!