How to Prevent Burnout (Before It Happens)


Burnout is no joking matter. And as a student working hard, maybe also working a part-time job, you’re at risk for running yourself into the ground if you don’t take the time to actually take care of yourself.

The worst part about burnout is that it sneaks up on you. It can happen without you even realizing it, and recharging afterward is much harder than working to prevent it. So, before you burnout, here are some proactive steps you can take to prevent it before it happens:

Actively Manage Your Time

Time is finite – there are only 24-hours in the day. It’s important that you are actively managing your time to take full advantage of it.

One of the best ways to do this is to track your time to make sure you’re using it to the best of your ability. There are plenty of apps and online time trackers that you can use to see what your time is actually being spent on. As an added bonus, when the clock is running you tend to work with more purpose!

Don’t Take on More Than You Can Handle

Stop saying “yes” to everything. Are you one of those people that love to help others? Saying yes to everything because you like someone, the project or even simply want the experience? While you have good intentions, over committing yourself usually ends up being destructive in the end.

Not getting things done in a timely manner (or at all) can really hurt your credibility and personal brand, which can be devastating when you’re starting out. So before you say yes, make sure you have the time and it’s something you actually want to do.

Work With Purpose

Bumbling around on your laptop searching random things and paging through papers does nothing but tucker you out. When you feel like you’re constantly working on something but getting nothing done, chances are that you’re burning yourself out.

When you sit down to do work, have goals in mind for what you need to do. Work purposefully, work well and take breaks. If it helps, take a few minutes before you start your work to pen out a few goals for your work session.

Set Aside Fun Time

Constantly working hard without taking breaks to just be you, eventually takes a toll on your mood. Always tired and easily angered? That may be a sign you need to lighten things up a bit.

One of the best ways to prevent burnout is to make sure you set aside “fun” time for yourself. Your version of fun. If you don’t like going to the club, then don’t spend your Saturday night “off” going somewhere that won’t bring you joy. Whatever you want to do to enjoy time away from school or work, that makes you excited and leaves you feeling happy, that’s what you need to do!

Unplug Over the Holidays

Holidays are there for you to take a break, and while you could get a jump on next semester, try giving yourself some downtime first. Take a real break over the holidays, you deserve it. And it’s one of the best ways to prevent burnout before it happens.

When it comes to unplugging over the holidays, it doesn’t mean you need to hide all of your electronic devices (though you can if you want to). But you should “unplug” from school—don’t check your email, obsess over your grades or thumb through your textbooks. Just take a break.

Burnout is a terrible thing to experience, and it happens all the time to people who swear they take time for themselves. While it’s important to work hard in school, it’s also important to take time for yourself and relax. If you’re running yourself ragged, your work quality and you will suffer in the end.