Avoiding Work-Related Burnout As An Independent Professional

In general, a person beginning to experience burnout might feel they’ve little or no control over their work situation, they will probably find themselves working longer hours, and may not be able to find any work-life balance. As an Independent Professional Contractor, you need to stay aware of the signs of burnout as early as possible and this blog will give you seven ways to avoid it altogether!

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We are all prone to occasional stress at work, especially when we are working on a busy project or when we have a tight deadline to hit.
Burnout is different, it usually results from more long-term issues, like having overly demanding expectations, working in a highly pressurised environment, or overworking yourself to please as many clients at once. 
In general, a person beginning to experience burnout might feel they’ve little or no control over their work situation, they will probably find themselves working longer hours, and may not be able to find any work-life balance. This leads to a feeling of exhaustion, hopelessness, and loss of motivation. It’s important to catch work-related burnout early before it has the chance to escalate into further problems. 

Workplace stress tends to snowball for us all. One minute, you’re feeling slightly stressed about an upcoming deadline and the next, you find yourself stuck under an avalanche of missed deadlines, unfinished projects, and ultimately face burnout.
As an Independent Professional Contractor, you need to try and avoid hitting this stage as much as possible.
When working as a contractor you must remember you are the only one in charge of your brand, you need to try to remain level-headed and as focused as possible.

In reality, this isn’t as easy as saying “I’ll avoid getting stressed”.
We understand that it can be hard to keep on top of everything while juggling your personal life too.
That is why as an Independent Professional Contractor you need to stay aware of the signs of burnout as early as possible. The last thing you want is to fall out of the loop with work while you try to juggle all things at once!

Here are our 7 top tips to better manage your workload as an Independent Professional:

1. Avoid taking on too many clients at once

We all want to reach our full earning potential, particularly when working as an Independent Professional. It can be easy to try and squeeze an extra client into your workload, however, stretching yourself too thin can lead to issues down the road. ​​For example, taking on too many clients can hinder your ability to meet the terms of your contracts with your current clients and as a result, it can negatively impact the quality of your work, and the opportunity for further opportunities with this client.

2. Stop over-promising

Similar to the point made above, when accepting projects, it might seem feasible to make large promises. However, it is vital to avoid making claims to clients that you may not be able to deliver on. Not only does this have a negative impact for the client, but it can also have negative effects on your reputation.

3. Be realistic 

When setting your workload, try to remember there are only 24 hours in a day and of this time you can only dedicate a finite amount towards client projects. It is important to set yourself a realistic number of tasks per day/week. 

4. Don’t be afraid of breaks

Many of us try to work for hours on end in order to meet upcoming deadlines. Studies have shown that the quality and efficiency of our work would increase if we factored in more regular breaks into our daily routines. Working straight through an eight-hour workday without a break can quickly become overwhelming.
Allowing yourself to take short breaks throughout the workday will not only help to clear your mind but it will allow you to return to your work with a refreshed mindset. We would recommend for every few hours of work, try to take at least a 5 to 15-minute break. Don’t knock it, till you try it!

5. Set boundaries 

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it is important to set boundaries about the amount of work you will take on and how late in the day you will work. Not only that but it is important to place boundaries between your work and your personal life. It is just as important to take time in your life for the important things; family, friends, hobbies, creative outlets, and general unwinding. Therefore, make sure to set concrete barriers between your work and your personal life, make sure you have firm working hours and try to avoid doing any work outside of these hours, and yes that includes checking up on your work email. 

6. Get organised

When your workload suddenly becomes overwhelming, creating a highly organized schedule can help ensure that every hour of your working day is used in the most efficient way possible. Without a plan, you can get easily overwhelmed by the amount of looming tasks and in some instances forget some tasks altogether. There are straightforward ways to combat this, for example using a to-do list. A simple to-do list can help you keep track of your workload and decide what tasks need to be prioritised and what can wait.
iPerks is also something that you should consider, check out Wellbeing through the Icon Accounting App!

7. Ask for help 

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like you have too much work on your plate, it’s not a bad thing to ask for help.
Being an Independent Professional doesn’t mean you have to go at everything alone. For example, an accountant can make a considerable difference by helping you tackle part of your daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities. Accountants can guide you through your financial processes, achieve greater tax-efficiency and help you establish a financial system you can understand and follow.

If you are a contractor that is interested in hearing more about the benefits of working with a specialised accountant, please reach out to our team by emailing info@iconaccounting.ie or by calling 01-8077106.

Sean Piggott

Sean Piggott

Business Development Manager

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