Beating the Mid-day Burnout

We’ve all been there. You have a deadline coming up that you absolutely have to meet, you’ve been working your butt off to get everything prepared, you’re getting less and less sleep but you’re still expected to put out the same level of work . . . and then you crash. You’ve hit what every employee and college student absolutely dreads: burn out. And there’s only one thing that can fix this — a full eight hours of sleep, a healthy meal, plenty of water, and your favorite Netflix show.

What if I told you that this isn’t what burn out always looks like? After all, burn out doesn’t just happen as you’re approaching a major deadline or even if you’re overworking yourself. Most of the time, burn out comes as a result of little habits that wear down on your body and mind until finally you hit a wall. And when you finally reach the edge the solutions above are often the best and only way to recuperate.

But what if burn out hits you in the middle of your work day, when you can’t conveniently go take a nap or watch Netflix in an effort to help recover?

Mid-day burnout is one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had while working at my job, and I realized that it isn’t necessarily something that many young professionals talk about. Sure, we’ve all experienced the burnout, but that (hopefully) only comes once every couple of months. So how do you mitigate the far more common mid-day burnout so you can continue to be productive?

Set goals to get you through the day.

Hitting your burnout point in the middle of the day is rough, because suddenly those four hours you just completed mean nothing but those four hours ahead of you? Man, they seem impossible. And god forbid you get burnt out after an hour or two because at that point it feels like the day will never end!

So if you feel yourself approaching that breaking point, take the time to set out some simple goals that you want to hit throughout the day, and some rewards you’ll give yourself when you reach them! It’ll help keep you focused and motivated as you work and make sure you stay productive. Maybe when you finish the task you’re working on you’ll take a walk outside, or you’ll go get a coffee from the break room, whatever will get you motivated to get your work done!

Setting small goals and rewards can keep you focused and motivated through a #burnout while avoiding feelings of overwhelm so you can get your work done! Click To Tweet

Take a few intentional breaks to walk around the office.

This isn’t to say that you should be getting up from your desk every hour and not return for 20 minutes, but sometimes a small change of scenery can be good to refresh your mind and replenish your resolve to finish the day out strong. Stretching your legs can also relieve that antsy, tingling feeling you get when you sit too long without moving.

Take a quick stroll around your office building to give you some fresh air, walk to the water cooler and refill your water bottle to keep yourself hydrated, or take a quick bathroom break to check your phone and reward yourself with a much-needed escape. But don’t stay away from your desk for too long! Try to limit yourself to 5 minutes each time so that you feel refreshed but not discouraged when you get back to your desk.

A breath of fresh air can do wonders to improve your mood when you're going through a #burnout at work. Reward yourself with a stroll outside to keep you motivated! Click To Tweet

Have a conversation not about work every once in a while.

When you’re burnt out it’s beyond easy to fall into the trap of complaining about work. You’re tired, your brain feels foggy, your eyes feel strained as they stare at the computer screen, and it’s nearly impossible to focus on the tasks in front of you . . . It’s the perfect recipe for a nice complaining session with your coworkers.

But when you’re feeling so terrible, continuing to talk about it can only make it worse! Allow yourself a moment or two to commiserate with a coworker, but from then on, try to guide the conversation to something besides work and how burnt out you are. Focus on discussing topics that will keep you motivated to finish out the day strong, such as your after work plans or a hobby that you enjoy, and to keep your mind off of how you’re feeling!

Skip the coffee and drink lots of water.

With burn out comes the tell-tale exhaustion and irritability that often accompanies a lack of restful sleep, so you may be tempted to load up on coffee in an effort to stay focused at your desk. But resist the urge to go for that third or fourth cup in the break room and switch to water or tea instead!

Coffee dehydrates you, and when you’re already on the edge of a burnout or going through one it can lead to a dehydration headache that will only make your day more miserable. Or worse, you’ll over-caffeinate yourself, leading to feeling alert while the rest of your body feels groggy and achey — a juxtaposition that, trust me, you never want to experience. Make sure you’re giving your body what it needs — water — so that you can function for the rest of the day! Your body and brain will thank you.

Too much caffeine can dehydrate you and make the effects of a #burnout even worse. Skip the second or third cup of coffee and opt for water to keep yourself hydrated and focused on your work! Click To Tweet

Put your watch away.

Here’s the fact of the matter: it doesn’t matter how many times you check your watch throughout the day, it will not make time move any faster and will only demoralize you. I have days where I’ll feel like ten or fifteen minutes have passed and when I look at my watch it’s only been three! And then I feel like the day is never going to end and I’ll never have time to rest.

So take that watch off of your wrist and stick it in your pocket, turn the clock on your desk around, put a sticky note over the time on your computer, and focus on the work you have in front of you. Once you get into the rhythm of things you’ll be amazed how quickly time flies, but breaking your concentration to constantly check the time will only make the day move slower!

What’s your best tip for powering through mid-day burnout? Let me know in the comments below!

18 thoughts on “How to Beat the Mid-day Burnout

  1. This is great advice for anyone of any age. Midday burnout is a real phenomenon and your tips will surely help me and those who experience it. Thank you!

  2. These are great! I find that having a to-do list keeps me on top of my tasks. If I’m feeling burnt out, I’ll see what’s on my to-do list and switch tasks for a bit.

  3. Thanks for the tips Logan. When I hit midday burnout, I turn on some music and that helps me refocus. If I’m already listening to music, I change the genre which refocuses my mind.

  4. You can always catch me walking around the office around 2pm so I don’t get bored. I have a hard time sitting still for such long periods of time. These are all great tips!

    1. Oh man I wish I could power nap at work but I’d always be too afraid of getting caught or in trouble! I keep arguing that our office needs nap pods but we’ll see where that goes lol

    1. I definitely think there’s a point every day — without fail — where I just feel completely burnt out, so I feel you! During lunch I always try to get outside for a breath of fresh air too, it’s a nice way to break up the day.

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