Stop Playing Catch Up & Start Doing This Instead

Workin’ Girl

At any given time, we know there's an undeniable pressure to work harder to rid yourself of the piles of work that have accumulated on your desk, not to mention the massive amount of emails in your inbox, but is playing catch up really worth a burnout? Hell no!


The same goes for those of you who have to play catch up during leave of absences, holidays, and vacations. We know just how stressful that can be on you, but it's definitely not worth you getting sick with anxiety.

Instead, we want you to focus on self-care, enjoying time with family and friends, and not allowing your work to stop you from having a good time or getting much-needed rest. We talked to Ashley Sutton, author of Overtime is So Over, and she offered a few tips to avoid burnout before you go on break, while you're taking time off, and to avoid playing catch up once you get behind the desk again:

Before You Go.

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Focus on the Task at Hand: Aim to deliver great work with projects you currently have in the queue versus finding more projects and tasks to add to your plate before you take your time off. "Continuing to pile on work is like going back to the buffet too many times… It's irrational and will only make you sleepy," Ashley warns.

Dash and Disconnect: Once you've wrapped up everything of high importance, leave work at work. As an employee, you were likely given vacation time. If you find yourself wanting to check in on work emails, try turning off notifications, logging off, or removing your work's email app from your phone completely. "Don't devalue your benefits by using your well-deserved, hard-earned time off to do work for a company that will still be there when you return," Ashley says.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude: Often, the stress of the job or the people we work with can put a damper on our happiness and lead to a spiral of negativity. Have an attitude of gratitude. Try jotting down what Ashley calls "weekly wins" and by the end of each week, you'll realize you have accomplished so much more than you realize.

While You’re On Vacation.

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Keep Your Peace: If you're traveling back home for the holidays or a vacation, everybody and their mama wants to see you, meet up for happy hour, so it can be a cycle of go out, eat, wake up and repeat. While you may be ready for a good time, the holiday break isn't just to eat, be merry, and get toasted. Set some boundaries, and always be sure to pencil in some "me" time. Remember to also get plenty of sleep.

According to Ashley, "It's a time for reflection and solitude. You learn a lot about yourself when you're alone with your thoughts."

Feed Your Mind and be Happy: There's a lot going on in the world right now. It's important to feed your mind with positivity and keep the creative wheels spinning, even during your scheduled time off. This doesn't mean for you to write a 20-page book report, but you shouldn't just sit on the couch 10 days straight watching Netflix or hanging with people who only want to gossip or reminisce on something that happened in 7th grade. Do your best to spend time with people and on experiences that fuel personal growth and happiness.

Before You Go Back.

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Take a P.E.E.K. at your Current Role: Not feeling very inspired in your current work situation? Were you only excited about the time off because you feel as though you need to escape work? There's nothing to be ashamed of because we've all been there. Ashley has laid out her P.E.E.K. Method to help us analyze whether you're fulfilled in your current role. Grab a pen and paper, and try it out!

Purpose: What's your purpose as it relates to any role you decide to take on? In other words, what will drive you to get up day in and day out to go to work? List these.

Environment: Describe your dream work environment. What type of company culture will help you thrive?

Enthusiasm: What are you excited about? Do you like creative writing, building products, music, etc.? Don't worry about "feasibility," focus on listing out what you're truly passionate about.

Know-How: Break down that résumé! What are your key skills? What are you good at doing?

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, see if your current role hits each of those buckets. If so, you may just need a little recharge. If not, it may be time to pivot in the new year.

What are some other ways that you can avoid burnout in your life and in the workplace? We'd love to hear from you!

Be sure to get involved in #TuesdayTactics with Ashley Sutton here.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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