By Edmund Zhen
Published: April 10th, 2019
Work is nothing short of eternity. In its multitude of shapes and form, it presents itself in our lives every day in a way where we rarely anticipate the downside of it. For some people, they avoid work like its a plague, but for many others, they roll up their sleeves and grind through the work with gritted teeth. But most often, the grind lasts more than it should. Frequently, people don’t realize they are doing a lot more than they should, because the process or the reward can be too addicting. And that presents a huge unspoken problem. Burnout.
It’s that heavy weight around your temples when you look away from the computer screen or it’s the dark circles around your eyes when your reflection stares back at you. It’s also that void in your chest that won’t stop screaming for you to feed it something other than work; but all you can think of is deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines. As college students, I’m sure this is something that hits home. Balancing between work and school often leads to late night book grinds after an arduous eight-hour work shift, is generally the precursor to that. So what am I suggesting?
Work smarter, not harder.
A team of scientists led by Pavlos Deligkaris in Aristotle University conducted 15 studies to gauge the effects of burnouts. Thirteen of the 15 studies revealed that burnout leads to cognitive deficits. Deligkaris and colleagues reported that “specifically, executive attentional and memory systems appear to suffer in association with burnout, and cognitive functioning is impaired in burned-out individuals.” It very well explains the lack of focus and short attention span that precedes a burnout. That said, how can one’s work be the best when he/she isn’t even in the best state of mind?
One way to prevent a burnout would be to create a schedule of your daily chores/work. Having an exact idea and time to do certain work would allow you to manage your time better and have the time to do whatever you need to do as well as activities that bring you joy. You can also find what’s taking up most of your time and can make the right adjustments to your schedule in order to get your priorities straight. Sometimes that would mean dropping a part-time job to finish school or dropping school in order to meet ends meet. Either way, sacrificing your mental health and maximum efficiency because of a poorly managed schedule is never a good deal. As we age, the work only gets harder and heavier. Starting now to have a balanced schedule and learning how to manage time well will go a long way for you in the future when you’re set and settled in your career. Hang out with a friend. Go play your favorite sport. Take a sabbatical. Recharge your mental state and go back to it when you’re ready.