The do's and don'ts of overcoming burnout

Burnout has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace, according to journalist Rebecca Knight. Physicians, especially, are at risk for burnout — nearly half of all physicians reported burnout in recent survey conducted by Medscape.

However, burnout can be kept at bay. Ms. Knight outlines the do's and don'ts of overcoming burnout in a Harvard Business Review article. Here are her suggestions.

  • Do: Take breaks on a daily basis to restore mental energy.
  • Don't: Take breaks when your energy is highest, whether that is in the morning or afternoon. Instead, use this time to maximize productivity and take a break when energy wanes.
  • Do: Limit electronic device usage after work.
  • Don't: Focus on avoiding using electronic devices and work. Rather than using "avoidance" goals use "approach" goals — goals that focus on engaging activities unrelated to work, such as cooking dinner with friends and family.
  • Do: Focus on why work is important and try tying it to a personal goal, such as a promotion.
  • Don't: Ignore burnout. If you can't find a meaning in your work, it is time to take a break. Ms. Knight suggests taking long weekends more regularly, as opposed to a long, two-week vacation to maximize stress reduction over time.

If these suggestions are not effective, it is possible burnout is not the issue. It could be time for a career change, according to Ms. Knight.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

7 ways lean strategies can combat physician burnout
USC’s Keck School of Medicine receives $10M from private donor
AmSurg acquires 8-physician practice

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