Shifting Into 9th Gear: 9 Tips for Neutralizing Burnout

We have these busy lives full of expectations often not of our own choice. That’s how it is they say, just play the game. I’ll cut to the chase because you (and I) have to go to the dreaded work scene soon and I don’t want to take up any more of your time than I must. Here’s what we can do to make our time more pleasant and less stressful. Nine being a magic number can get you where you want to be.

1. Get up an hour earlier than usual to get ready for a good day. Nothing can get your day off to a bad start like getting into an accident on your way to work because your brain did not have time to transition from sleep to awake enough to function. Give yourself a nice breakfast, do some light stretching exercises, and meditate for at least 30 minutes before you hit the road. The food will fuel you, the stretching and meditation will act to flex and gently wake your brain so it will behave more efficiently, calmly, and creatively. This is the short and shallow list, a more detailed account of shifting gear techniques will be available in my upcoming art therapy book. For now, just be sure to at least do step one.

2.Notice the people around you who seem to enjoy work. Pick their brains. Why are they enjoying themselves? Try their behavior on for size, some aspects may be adaptable to your own personality. The people to learn something from are the ones with genuine smiles. Take someone genuinely happy out to lunch if you can.

3. Use the suits that fit and discard the suits that reinforce the ideas that this job sucks. A change of timing at the watercooler or breaks can often be the difference between having to listen to negative job aspects you already know and coping techniques that you may not have noticed. “Friends” who reinforce only the pitfalls are really time wasters who appreciate the company of misery. The squeaky complaining wheel gets greased all right, so greasy it cannot be handled. Say a quick hello to the wheel, then let that wheel roll on by, instead of greasing it more, check you watch and time how long it takes to get down the road out of hearing distance.

4. Boredom is a mindset we can dispense with. Effective people such as you and I can elect to view each day as a challenge, an opportunity to exercise the brain in creative ways. The boredom is a result of being caught up in a linear and uncreative thought pattern. How do we get creative. I have hundreds of ways. First, decide change would be fun.

5. Take the challenge to get so good at your job that you can do it backwards, forward, right handed, left handed, upside down, and with your eyes closed all while listening to some nice mellow music. Get so good at your job you can go with the flow of the music and eventually notice the workday is over and your work got finished almost as if someone else did a fine job for you. If you are at this point you can then point out to the boss that being ambidextrous could work well for the company, given a position change (along with a raise).

6. Redecorate your cubicle with things you find inspirational and colorful. If you don’t have a cubicle, redecorate the inside of your head. Gather up and memorize inspirational images and words. Add to the inspiration list daily to give yourself and others the gift of a positive outlook. Refer to your list whenever Mr. Squeak enters, say hello to Mr. Squeak and explain you have to tend to a project and do not have time to talk. Look at your watch and time the wheel again as it leaves. Count the squeaks, it’s not just you hearing all this extraneous noise, and that can be a relief to know.

7. Do some heart-pumping exercises on your lunch break along with a healthy lunch and light meditation. The exercise and healthy lunch will help get the positive and creative chemicals moving in your body. The meditation can provide a ideas needed to make the afternoon pleasant.

8. Look for odd and novel things around you as the day progresses. Collect ideas throughout the day as if they were tokens to that vacation you want, because in reality, new ideas are the things companies want and need. Keep a private journal of these novelties. When they incubate into the big ideas, well, you’ve made some huge steps to conquering job burnout and have the tools and knowledge to master your destiny.

9. Once you get that much deserved vacation, email me about getting a good read on this subject and other flummoxing conundrums we face daily. Read my upcoming book on Art Therapy, which applies to everyone, and maybe I could call it life therapy instead… on……… me to pre-order and get a grip on the 9th gear.

Jill Annette Johnson
Copyright 2014 Jill Annette Johnson, All Rights Reserved.