Sane September — 4 Tools to Bust Burnout

Before robots take over the workplace, most of us still have to work with our fellow humans, whether we like it or not. Unlike robots, humans need help to stay motivated, focused, and sane.

Occasionally, the things we do to keep ourselves sane at SoapBox may seem a little bizarre. Employees are allowed (encouraged) to participate in the seemingly ridiculous. Yes, at times it is disruptive and I am totally ok with that. Truthfully, I am typically the biggest the disruptor around. I personally believe that breaks and recreation (aka fun) lead to greater productivity and the kind of bonding that makes for great company culture (aka people like working here more than they don’t).

Feel free to try out some of our antics. Or send us some of yours. We are always looking for new things. The staff, in particular, is always looking for new things that keep me from forcing them to participate in some sort of physical outdoor event.

  1. Office Olympics

Monday has a tendency to be the most “sluggish” day out of the week. Everyone is back in their chairs, blowing the dust off of their keyboards and responding to all of the emails that they “missed” over the weekend. To get the Monday blood flowing, we have downloaded this app called Sworkit.

This is how it works: every 30 seconds the instructor demonstrates a new stretching exercise and every 15 seconds we switch sides (if the exercise can be done to the right and left side.) Since the majority of us aren’t Olympic athletes, we stumble, fall over, and laugh at one another’s expense. One warning: if you want to institute this activity in your office, maybe warn the women not to wear skirts or heels that day.

  1. Decorate for Decompression

I draft more emails than the NFL does prospects and it would be extremely draining if my office resembled a mental prison. To stay sane, I love to keep art on the walls so that my brain can wonder off and absorb some creative vibes. They say seeing certain colors evokes different emotions — green for fresh thinking or blue for serenity. I would suggest avoiding heavy use of red, since it’s known to evoke aggression. My emails are offensive enough as it is.

Even better than calming wall art are quirky desk statues. My friend Mendy made this sculpture of me (image at the top of the page) and it makes me smile every time I look at it. And when I’m smiling everyone has a better day.

  1. Let Your Inner Actor Out

If you can feel your stress level rising and your patience wearing thin, TAKE A BREAK.This sounds like a no-brainer, but I constantly remind my staff and myself of this. Negativity has a way of spreading like a plague. Go to the conference room (if your office doesn’t have a conference room, use the restroom) and make a bunch of weird faces or do 20 jumping jacks. Let it out! And if anyone asks you if you also heard those weird noises coming from the conference room, just shrug casually.

Diane Costigan, Managing Director and Coach at Shannon & Manch LLP, in a Forbes article about how to deal with burnout as an entrepreneur, said; “Due to the immense pressure on entrepreneurs to be producers, they often struggle to give themselves permission to take a break and regroup.  And often, there’s no one else around to give them permission or remind them to give themselves permission.”

This is especially important for leaders who do not have day to day managers, or even those who have sucky mangers. If you happen to fall into this group, I am giving you permission. In fact, I am begging you to do this. Put a sticky note on your computer, add a reminder on your phone, write it on the wall. Whatever it takes. Trust me restraint of pen and tongue is going to be much more productive than trying to undo what you did when you were pissed off.

  1. Rip It Up and Toss It Out

Another great technique I observed is tearing up or shredding unneeded papers at your desk. Get rid of those old take-out menus and notes that you don’t need anymore. The act of ripping/shredding paper can relieve tons of bottled up energy. And in return, you’ll have a clear mind and a clean station to continue working.

Practicing these tips can make you excited to come to work instead of dreading the thought of spending all day there. As a boss or as an employee, do yourself a favor and allow yourself to be human.

Share your favorite work sanity tips, tweet me jax_rosales

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