Is burnout the main challenge you were facing in your DevOps work? I totally get it, it’s hard to handle increased workloads with ever tighter deadlines, while encountering friction at every step of the way.
Here are some tips that could help you tackle job burnout, so that you may enjoy your work and achieve a balance once again:
If you don’t feel any enthusiasm for your work anymore and find that you are in a constant state of stress due to workloads and deadlines, the first step should be to talk to your employer. They may not even be aware of these issues, being focused only on KPIs and delivery. Once you raise the subject, try to find solutions together, which may benefit the entire team. These may include:
– Removing friction in workflows and between teams.
– Getting positive feedback and approaching setback as learning opportunities, not failures
– Adjusting workloads among team members
– Or even changing some requirements of your current role
Make full use of your vacation days. Even though many IT pros don’t use even half of their annual vacation, you should not hesitate to take breaks from work in order to recharge your mental and physical energy levels. It will not make you appear weak or unreliable to your employer, and it will instead make you much more effective and efficient over the long term, as opposed to working non-stop and running on fumes.
You can take several shorter holidays, or one or two longer ones in a year, however you prefer, but do make sure you unplug from your work completely during those breaks. Otherwise, you will come back from holiday even more stressed out than when you left.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to make you enjoy your work again. You can try rearranging your desk, moving your work station to another part of the office, or, if possible, working remotely for a while, from home or another location.
At the same time, if you find that certain routines that you follow throughout your work day don’t give the results they used to, don’t hesitate to change them. These may range from the way you get to work (car/bike/public transport/etc.) to how you organize your work time blocks or even when and where you have lunch, for example.
Sleep and physical exercise are two crucial factors for our well-being that we often neglect when we get swamped with work or are feeling burned out. Nevertheless, getting enough sleep (at night as well as through power naps during the day) is absolutely essential to ensure your body and your mind stay healthy. Sleep can make the difference between burnout and depression, on the one hand, and productivity and satisfaction, on the other.
Exercise is also important, not only to maintain good physical fitness, but also to keep your mental acuity in top shape. Even if you don’t have time to go to the gym every day or engage in longer workouts during the day, you could still squeeze in one or two sessions of 15-20 minutes of higher intensity physical activity, every day. These could be anything from a brisk walk to the office, to short but intense interval training. Every little helps.
Finally, if nothing else works to alleviate your burnout symptoms, it’s time to re-evaluate your work. Why are you doing the work that you do? What got you started on your current career path? Can you recall what made you excited about your work when you started out? Those will be the things that can rekindle your passion for work once again. See if you can find them in your current role. If not, and if in your current company there’s no way to reconnect to the things that drive you (perhaps in other positions or teams), it may be time to plan for a company or even a career change.
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