Burnout in IT – First Bells. When it is time to say STOP to yourself?

Have you ever lost motivation? And Inspiration! Have you felt the project you are working on is not inspiring you anymore? Have you every thought you no longer want to continue doing what you do?

I’ve been in these shoes myself. As I’m in the IT field, we will talk about the burnout in IT.

Hey guys, today I would want to bring up some really important topic. I’m talking about this 
because I have been in this situation myself, and what is more, I’m seeing a lot of people who are also diving in. Therefore, the topic for  today is a burnout.

To be honest, I am planning to separate this topic into two because the first step what you would really want to do is to define that you are currently burning  out as sometimes this is not pretty much obvious and people are sinking without really realising they are. The second topic would be how to recover when you finally realise that you are absolutely burned out and you do not have any powers to continue doing what you do.

If this sounds like somewhat familiar to you then you would definitely want to keep going.  

Burnout in IT

A little disclaimer guys, I’m not a therapist and  in this content I’m sharing my personal experience and the steps that I have allocated for myself in order to prevent similar cases in the future. I hope that this could be useful for you as well, but again, this is my experience only.

So, the problem with the burnout is that it has the cumulative effect. Meaning, when people are tired 
at work, when they sometimes feel exhausted it does not necessarily mean they’re burning out.
However, the more you are engaged, the deeper you are in your project, the more complicated it is 
to define that you are diving in.

This is also called like professional depression I would say because similar with the depression people do not realise that they are burning out. Here is actually the danger because when you finally define that you are completely burned out you are far far away from the first step when you can just realise it instantly and do some activities that 
can help you not to sink in this ocean.

Getting back to my story, basically I was so much involved and engaged in my projects, like many of you are, that simply when the time comes it was too far away for me.

Say Stop For Yourself

Another problem that I recognise, it is really hard to say stop for yourself. Meaning when you are constantly running this marathon you just keep going further. You keep doing more and you’re continuously taking more  than you can actually produce. At the end of the day when I finally defined that I was on the edge and that I cannot actually afford myself taking more my business day lasts for about  12 to 14 hours every day and even sleeping over the weekend didn’t help me to recover by Monday and to find some powers or energy to stay on the top of my efficiency as I could have done this before.

To let you know in advance it took me several months to recover until the moment when I realised I’m ready to continue doing what I used to do at the same pace. The point of this video is to give you an understanding, an idea on how to define if you are currently burning out and what is the right moment to say stop for yourself in order to undertake some activities for protecting your mental and emotional health on your professional journey.

Bell #1 – Issues with sleep

The first bell you would want to pay special attention to is you’re having issues with sleep. The business day is over, you’re sure you have done everything possible that was planned for today. 

However, when the time comes to go to bed you cannot even start falling asleep. You continue rolling in your bed and you continue rolling thoughts in your mind. You are thinking about possible project risks; about project issues; change requests that have been addressed; new deadlines that stakeholders have put on you and so on Finally,
you cannot just stop thinking about it and at the end of the night you can simply lose any hope to fall asleep at all. What we usually do in this case?

We are sit up, take our laptop and start polishing the project plan; start recording project risks; or potentially we start doing what is planned for tomorrow. This is extremely negative experience and it causes a lot of fatigue. It prevents you from having rest and it eats a lot of your energy.

Bell #2 – Pressure at work

Bell number two that you would want to pay your attention to is unhealthy work environment. What I’m talking 
about is the continuous pressure at work that we may experience on a regular basis. For instance, absolutely inefficient and unstructured meetings; demands to stay over time or to stay at work when we are actually do not meant  to be there, for instance overnight or on weekends.

Continuously addressed challenges without proper recognition when you are hitting goals. Basically, when you are put into the not  healthy and not secure work environment it eats a lot of energy. Initially it might  seem something normal and something that people are dealing with on a regular basis. 

Be honest with yourself. This is not a healthy situation. If you are continuously  being under the pressure it will definitely have a negative impact further on.

Bell #3 – No desire to work

Bell number three, lacking the opportunity to sleep well and being constantly under the pressure could lead you to no desire to start your business day. Obviously, this could happen to anyone once or twice in a while.

However, if you start feeling this  constantly; if every business day doesn’t bring any joy for you and you prefer not to wake up  in the morning rather than starting your business day again, you need to pay attention to this.

Bell #4 – Constant irritation

What  is more, it could get even worse, so bell number four – you’re getting annoyed with everything that you do at work. You’re not happy to communicate to people; you’re not happy to work on your projects and to do the stuff that you got used to do and that you were happy about doing previously.  

You are irritated about everything that is going on during your business day no matter whether you are in the office or at home.

Bell #5 – Inability to have rest

And the final fifth stage of this  burnout journey is when you completely have no opportunity to get rest even over the weekend. Thus, during the weekend you’re continuously thinking about your work. Actually, you’re thinking about the possibility not to start this business day on Monday again. When it comes, it brings only more irritation than you had before. That was the final point where I ended up about a year ago.  

Be sure to pay special attention to not only what you do at work but also to how do you feel about what you do at work. At the end of the day we spend the majority of our time for our jobs. If we do not feel any inspiration, motivation or energy, we are not gonna bring any value neither to 
ourselves nor to others.

Remember, burnout is an  enemy of productivity.

In the upcoming episode I’m gonna be sharing the activities that helped me to recover from the burnout and can also help you if you feel that you are getting to the similar stage.  

Let me know if you are interested in the real project management life ups and downs!