You’ve been in this position for a while now, and you’re already familiar with the daily workflow. But there seems to be very few things you can do to keep your spirits up and go all out at work — we call such a stage of work a “job burnout period”. Many people have been in this state, or are in this state, it often comes without obvious omen, you may not even be aware of its existence, but it really affects our working state. Today, we want to talk about how we should get through the burnout period.
1. seek new challenges.
Riceman: The reason we feel tired is probably because the job is too light for us to be challenging enough. In fact, if your work has not changed a lot and you’ve been growing at work, burnout is actually a good sign that you need to look for new challenges – just like your body is signaling your illness by producing pain. A good feedback mechanism.
The new challenge can be: actively seeking more difficult projects at work. The key here is the word “initiative” in two words. In my first year at the company, I received very little demand for projects, and soon I began to feel like I was repeating myself, so I began to repeat my desire to take over new projects in conversations with my boss, and I began to take the initiative to participate in projects that I was more interested in, to advise colleagues and to be busy with them. Help others when you do not come. These attempts didn’t work immediately, and I stayed with my original project team for a few months, but it wasn’t long before I started taking on new, more interesting projects because of some personnel and strategic changes.
New challenges can also come from a new job. Many people think of job hopping when they encounter workplace bottlenecks and burnout. I noticed that many of my friends had high expectations of job-hopping. Some people seemed to think that it would be unrealistic to change jobs and go to a better company. Most of the time, job-hopping only brings you a superficial change – the environment, the salary, even the title, but the content of your job has not changed substantially. I call the feeling of job-hopping a “false sense of freshness”. When the fresh energy passes, you will soon return to the original state of burnout. Therefore, job-hopping is not a panacea against job burnout, only when job-hopping brings new job content to force you to learn and progress, that can really help you out of burnout.
2. do side project.
Riceman: What we’re talking about is looking for new challenges at work, and of course, new challenges can come from outside of work. In fact, it was during my first period of job burnout that I came up with the idea of being a Chinese design podcast for UX Coffee. This amateur project gives me a sense of control and satisfaction that I can hardly get at work.
If you work in a large company with clear responsibilities, when the design requirements are given to you, the product has been clearly defined and planned, leaving you little room to play. Or maybe you’re an illustrator, but you rarely get a chance to actually do it in your daily UI design work. At this point, amateur projects can become an outlet outside your work to compensate for the lack of overall control of the project, or the pursuit of art and creativity at work.
In addition to doing amateur projects related to your job, you can also choose to do something less relevant. My colleagues and friends have done sidelines in their spare time, including, but not limited to, carving rubber stamps of all shapes (yes, anchor scratches); sharing their wear experience online as a fashion blogger; setting up an Instagram account for your pet cat to publish cats on a daily basis (already good). Tens of thousands of powder! A homemade milk tea shop with no shops and only weekend takeaway. The most important role of a part-time project should be to serve as an outlet and supplement to your work. You don’t have to pursue results, enjoy the process, and do it for yourself.
3. celebrate the achievement of every small goal.
Hoka: You might know a psychological term, self-efficacy, which represents whether a person believes he can accomplish something. For people in the workplace, self-efficacy is an important motivation — Everyone wants to see themselves “growing up” – that is, learning to do things step by step that they can’t do. Sometimes we feel tired because we feel the goal is too difficult, too stressful, or too long to get a sense of self-efficacy. In this case, we need to learn the principal’s father’s strategy – to set ourselves a small goal.
Game designers may be the most important people in the world to understand the importance of “goals”. Riceman and I had been addicted to Star and Dew Corn Language for a while, and the game was fascinating because you could keep setting small goals for yourself. In the game, the most important long-term goal we set is to unlock a greenhouse before winter comes. This is a challenging goal, and it takes us more than a month to achieve it. So based on this long-term goal, we set ourselves medium-term goals, such as “I’m going to make 10,000 gold coins this week” and break it down into small goals “I’m going to get a wave of food today.” Every little goal is accomplished, and we encourage each other, and then move on to the next little goal. Led by these small targets, we successfully unlocked the greenhouse before the end of autumn.
It’s the same at work. For example, if we get the task of “redesigning an app in three months” and the time line is long, the task load is heavy, and we can’t start, it’s easy for us to feel too stressed and tired. At this point, we can set ourselves some small goals: the first two weeks to do user research, competitive analysis, the third and fourth weeks to design a long-term vision, with product managers, engineers set priorities, in the next two months to design. Design, you can also start from the navigation design, and then complete the design of the home page, and then design other pages. By setting these goals, you know what you’re going to do every week, you can see the results, and you’re more likely to feel fulfilled.
4. seek help from friends and mentors.
Riceman: A lot of times, when we’re at a low ebb, it’s hard to get out of it on our own. At this point, the help of others, especially those who have had similar experiences, can often give you some guidance and inspiration.
I’ve had a lot of confusion in the workplace. But a lot of times, after chatting with colleagues and friends, I find that they have, or are, the same confusion with me, and the feeling of “so you are” will make my heart feel a little more relieved.
In addition to friends and colleagues, there is a special role in the workplace that may help you get out of your job burnout: mentor. Workplace mentors are becoming more common in the US, especially in Silicon Valley technology companies. The mentor is not your boss, or you may not be in the same department, or even in the same company. Every once in a while, mentors and mentees have a one-on-one conversation where you can talk about a specific problem at your recent job, your career plan, or a hot topic in the industry. Ideally, the relationship between a mentor and you is both a mentor and a friend, and your communication helps each other. In the first two years of my internship and formal work, I met very good mentors, and they shared a lot of experience with me, especially when I encountered difficulties and fell into a depression, and their exchanges helped me a lot.
5. rest and vacation
Riceman: When you’re in a period of job burnout, your productivity drops, and you’re likely to get the idea, “I’m too inefficient. I should spend more time working to ensure my productivity.” It’s a dangerous idea, because the longer you work, the less efficient you are, the less satisfied you are with yourself, and the more tired you are with your job, so a vicious cycle of job burnout can easily occur.
An important way to break this cycle is to rest. People will be tired. In the face of fatigue, the best way is to rest. Rest is easier said than done. There are so many reasons why we don’t let ourselves rest — I can’t rest until the end of the month when a new version is released; I can’t rest until the performance review is imminent; another colleague in the group is on vacation, and I can’t rest now that the organization needs me… In fact, all these reasons are not valid in the face of physical and mental fatigue. You don’t have to feel guilty about the length of your break or the timing, because in the end, what you provide for the company is your final output, not the length of your work.
In terms of rest, finding the right way and rhythm is most important. Some people need nine hours of sleep a day to be energetic during the day, while others need only five hours of sleep. Some people rest through sleep, while others rest by singing, running and playing games. Likewise, only you know best when you need a holiday – May Day and National Day are legal holidays, but not necessarily the days your brain wants to take. Find your own pace and give yourself a break so you can have a good rest.
6., giving jobs a higher meaning.
Hoka: I recently read Agassi’s autobiography The Net, which was written by former world No. 1 tennis player, and I found his mental journey very enlightening. Agassi had a very strict father who forced him to play tennis at an early age and even made his own servers, so he averaged 2,700 crickets a day. When other children go to school and play, he can only do one thing – playing tennis. This childhood experience made him love and hate tennis. It’s hard for him to feel the joy of tennis, even if he wins the ball. This mentality made him fall to the bottom. But soon, something happened that helped him to realize the return of the king. It was when he went to South Africa, met Mandela, and encouraged him to set up an education fund and start a tennis school. He told himself that every time he swings in a game, it’s not for himself, it’s for the kids at tennis school. He gave a higher sense of meaning to his work, and this sense of mission helped him overcome his demons. “Tennis has provided me with a platform to bring about change for generations of children, more powerful than winning a Grand Slam,” he said. ”
For us, it may not be possible to set up a foundation of our own for the time being, but we can also look for jobs that are more meaningful. Beyond KPIs like click-through rates and conversion rates, we can understand what work means to the company and to society — how does my job make the world a better place? This sense of mission can help us go further.