How to tell your boss you’re feeling burned out

If you’re feeling burned out, you’re not alone. Working remotely has put many of us on a “work, eat, sleep, repeat” cycle, with family responsibilities thrown in to make things interesting. In fact, Greg McKeown, author of Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most, says there are two kinds of people today: “people who are burned out and people who know they are burned out.”

“It’s an achievement to get into the second category,” he says. “Research has shown that the more burned out you are, the less you are to be aware of it. The nature of burnout is that it clouds your judgment and clarity, including your self-awareness.”

After 16 months of the same cycle, it’s time to find a different way of doing and being.

“Assume you’re burned out, then look for the evidence,” says McKeown. “One litmus test is when any request pinches you. Your child may come in and ask for you to brush their hair. It’s not a huge thing, but with so little space everything costs more, emotionally.”

Burnout is a significant agenda item for many organizations right now, says Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer of the people management platform Hibob. “The toll that the last year has taken on top of the stress we were all feeling before the pandemic has added a significant amount of stress on employees, impacting them in a much greater way than what we’ve seen historically,” she says. “Fortunately, we’re seeing more companies putting well-being and mental health to the forefront on the executive agenda.”


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