The final quarter of the year is often associated with holiday season, but in professional and academic environments, it heralds something more sinister—burnout season.
It is the time of year when monthly reports show all the targets that haven’t been reached and thus, need to be prioritised.
Teams begin scrambling to finalise Facebook marketing partners and collaborations for the upcoming year.
Beyond the professional realm, students also suffer from end-of-year burnout.
For students who are living away from their families, burnout can team up with homesickness for a double whammy of awfulness.
In general, this time of year is difficult for anyone trying to accomplish anything. Productivity slows down, as do results, which makes it even harder to stay motivated.
This is particularly challenging because most people know what it’s like to be on the go throughout the year.
The fact that the end of the year, when they are supposed to be pushing themselves more—either to generate more newsletter ideas or to improve expense management—is when they can’t do as much, is deeply frustrating.
But it isn’t impossible to continue to stay motivated even as burnout threatens to take over the final quarter of the year.
Prioritize Tasks for the Quarter
Yes, there are several tasks that need to be completed in the final quarter of the year.
You will have personal and professional goals that have been hanging over your head all year, and suddenly, you only have three months to get them done.
But ask yourself this: do they have to be completed right now? Is the real estate market active enough right now for you to get your client quota?
Or can it wait till the start of next year, when potential clients will be done celebrating the holiday season and be in a better frame of mind for business?
The same goes for students—the final quarter of the year is when most students are studying for finals or writing the last papers for the year.
Other activities can be put on the backburner so they can focus on getting the essentials done—such as studying and researching for the final papers and exams.
Give Your Mind a Break
With the pressure of the final quarter bearing down on you, it can be difficult to quieten your mind. Everything that needs to be done is racing through your head and it stops you from focusing.
This is when you have to clear your mind of all the extras clogging it up.
Instead of trying to do several things at once—like researching web development services while checking emails and messages—do one thing at a time.
This will help your mind focus, and will make you more productive. An uncluttered mind is a motivated mind.
Take Physical Breaks
Mental breaks are necessary but so are physical ones. We understand that with deadlines looming, you might want to work non-stop, but that is bad for your health, your mind, and your productivity.
Instead of foregoing lunch breaks, weekends, and vacations, indulge in them. Have your lunch, and not at your desk. Lack of nutrition isn’t going to help you work better.
Take your weekends off and spend the time with friends and family.
If you have your vacation coming up, take the time off. Foregoing a vacation will make your family unhappy, and make you resentful of your work and school. Which will only increase the risk of burnout.
If you absolutely have to keep in touch with your professional environment, you can always choose a dedicated time to log into your content collaboration tool and touch base with your team.
Speak Openly About Burnout
Burnout happens to everyone and it is nothing to be ashamed of. But people still believe burnout to be a taboo subject that mustn’t be discussed.
This often stems from the incorrect belief that you should simply power through burnout, or that others have it worse, or that your bad planning has put you in this position.
Some of these points may be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are feeling overwhelmed and that burnout is sneaking up on you.
Don’t suffer in silence. Instead, speak to others about burnout, such as your friends and family, and your volunteer program. This will help you feel less alone about the emotions you are going through.
But you should also speak to your colleagues about it. You may be surprised to find that others are feeling that same burnout you are, and that they are as relieved to have company.
Burnout is an unfortunate fall-out of modern life and you aren’t the only one whose suffering from it. Talk to people and let them be there for you, so you can be there for others, as well.
Can’t Do It? Don’t Do It
With the stresses of the year-end scrambling your brain, the last thing you want to do is take on more work than you can handle.
If you feel you can’t help a colleague out with their proofreading while you make a website for the company, taking it on will only stress you out more and lead to burnout.
As difficult as it is, you will have to learn to say ‘no’ if you can’t physically and mentally handle an additional task.
The same goes for students—studying for finals takes up time and energy.
And as much as you want to help your friends with their podcasts, or help grandad with his new phone, you are going to have to prioritise according to your abilities.
It does feel awful to say ‘no’, but if it means that you won’t burnout before the end of the year, it is worth doing so.
Make the Final Quarter Work for You
The end of the year doesn’t have to be a time for stress, worry, and burnout. The above tips will help you keep the final quarter on track so you can accomplish more without getting burned out.