The Biggest Productivity Killer: Burnout

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Shot of a young businesswoman with her head down on her office desk

Each and every one of us aims to be more productive and successful in our careers. However, the world we live and work in is extremely complex. While earlier generations maintained a life of work-life balance, our generation is having to embrace a life of work-life integration. Eventually, the lines are blurred and with the removal of boundaries comes the challenges of extraordinary pressure and stress.

Almost 25% of the workforce reports being burnt out at work at any given moment. Burnout is damaging for the people facing it as well as the companies and organisations they work for. Burnout has been known to cause stress, fatigue, anxiety, high blood pressure, substance misuse, depression, heart disease and more.

Under the challenges of the current circumstances, an ever-increasing number of people are reporting that they feel burnt out. Most of the world is now working from home, and this forced merging of work life and home life can make us feel as though we don’t have time for ourselves.

However, it is important for each and every one of us to remember that we have the right and responsibility to take care of ourselves. We are at our best when we are feeling motivated and stress-free. Here are a few ways for us to ensure that we can prevent and manage burnout:


Meditation is a powerful tool. Studies show that people who meditate for just 10 minutes a day automatically report feeling less stress and anxiety. Meditation also enhances self-awareness and attention span, which are powerful skills to hone in order to make effective decisions at work and home. People who implement a daily meditation routine into their life have shown long-term positive changes in the brain structure over a course of a short two weeks.

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Just 20 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to boost overall mood since exercise releases endorphins. It also reduces anxiety because the body uses all the energy  it produces during it’s fight or flight response to perceived threats. A long-term exercise regime has been known to treat mild to moderate depression without medication.


The brain is a powerful tool and makes connections that aren’t always evident to us. If one is working from home, it is important to maintain a workspace away from the bedroom. This is because if one doesn’t, the brain can associate a bedroom to be a place of stress and you will find it harder to relax, unwind and sleep. The bedroom should be used for rest and relaxation only.

Have a morning routine

Human beings are creatures of habit. We thrive when we have boundaries and schedules to maintain. It is important to start the day well if one wishes to end the day well. Every morning, you should have a routine that motivates you to move on to the next thing. Wake up, shower,  exercise, meditate, have breakfast, get dressed and make your way to the workstation. Whether you can find ten minutes for yourself in the morning or one hour, you can build a routine to include activities that are suitable for your lifestyle.

Maintain balance

When one stretches themselves too thin, they end up becoming extremely unproductive and inefficient in their ability to help those around them or to help themselves. As a result, you must learn to set boundaries that don’t stretch you out too thin. While working, make it clear to your children that you will only be available at certain hours (let them know that this rule does not apply to emergencies). Similarly, establish set family and personal time and let your teammates know that those are the hours you won’t be available. They will understand and perhaps, even be inspired to follow your footsteps!

By following these few suggestions, you can truly find yourself feeling happier, healthier and more productive!

Restructuring a nation through technology: How UK businesses are facing a post-pandemic future

Originally published Jul 16, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023

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