In Utopia, burnout would be a term no one ever used or heard of. Everyone would be matched perfectly with the career they not only enjoyed but knew exactly how to succeed at. Unfortunately, burnout is real, it’s draining, emotional, stressful and typically affects both professional and personal lives. As an administrative professional for the past 20 plus years, I have learned how important it is to avoid burnout in one of the largest career fields in the world. One key point is keeping day to day tasks fulfilling even if you are not matched with your ideal position. Another key is personalizing the position with your uniqueness.
Burnout creeps in once a position becomes routine, devalued or uninteresting. Attitude and creativity can extinguish even the smallest first spark of burnout. A typical position consists of a general duty and expectation list. You, the individual, bring life to that list. You have the power to either let that list define you or you define that list by using your experiences and personal positive attitude to create your own Utopia.
Some days the administrative professional’s role is to maintain a sense of calm in chaos by dealing with last minute changes, communicating changes, preparing managers for the changes and balancing the other 20 unexpected tasks in such a way that managers are uninterrupted and carry out their schedule and duties efficiently. Other days are spent marking off tasks from a long to-do list and developing more efficient ways to accomplish goals and meet deadlines. Days are rarely uneventful; anything even resembling downtime can be filled with tasks that have been moved down a list that is re-arranged daily.
So how do we ensure we take care of ourselves, keep our daily tasks fulfilling and avoid burnout?
- Share your positive attitude with others. A positive outlook can make any position, day of chaos or routine task fulfilling. Avoid burnout by bringing your unique talents and skills to your position. When you share a part of your uniqueness with a workplace you connect with that position. Connection brings comfort and control.
- Engage your team. Collaboration and efficiency is enhanced when a team works together, even if not on a particular project, unity leads to productivity. You can actively participate in team meetings, professional development training, reading and discussion of a book the group picks, or encourage more face to face interaction rather than numerous emails. Supporting a positive team-focused environment helps reduce stress that can cause burnout.
- Plan a lunch away from the office once a month or at least a few times a year with your department team or administrative professional team. Don’t talk about work, get to know each other since communicating in a casual setting will ultimately enhance professional communication. Feeling comfortable asking for and offering work assistance promotes a healthy workplace.
- Actively learn personally and professionally. Enhance work skills by learning as much as you can about the programs you use, organizational tips, and meeting coordination. There are numerous free webinars, courses and a variety of professional conferences and seminars. It is imperative to also make time for yourself. Learning or enhancing interests can be incorporated easily into your daily routine. Read a few pages of an interesting book, take a creative community education class, plan a day trip with your camera, schedule a spa day, join a small group (writes, artists, entrepreneurs, parenting, etc.), journaling, be a tourist in your own city, schedule time with friends and family or other activities that encourage self-love. Making time for your life outside of work typically reduces stress allowing clearer thinking at work for better decision making.
- Anticipate upcoming projects and deadlines. Planning gives you more time to evaluate the process and create a more productive to-do list and timeline.
- Create your own work Utopia. Whether you work with a large team, independently, virtually, or in a positive or negative environment, being in control of your happiness and productivity is extremely important. Find creative ways to turn a chaotic busy routine into a challenging, yet fun opportunity. Creating a Utopian workplace by participating in professional development trainings, sharing ideas and creating efficient procedures provides multiple ways to bring your unique talents to any position.
The company, career field, and position you choose needs your uniqueness. Confidently acknowledge your experience as a valuable asset. Continue to learn through professional and personal development to create an environment you choose to work in. Whether you plan to retire from your chosen position or are working toward another goal you can choose the attitude you bring daily. Burnout cannot spark in a valued position with a positive administrative professional refusing to fan the flames.
“A positive attitude gives you power over circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” – Joyce Meyer
How do you uniquely create your own work Utopia and avoid burnout?
Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.