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How To Avoid Project Burnout?

  • Agile
Created on :
February 26, 2013
Saket Bansal
Updated on :
February 26, 2013
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There comes a time in your job when almost everything right from resources to the team members gets exhausted. That state is generally is referred as a burn out. It’s the time when the task under process or the project on which you are working loses its importance. It hardly matters to you where it is going what you want is to get it done asap and have good riddance. How so monotonous be it yet it is important to avoid this project burnout phase and fight with it.

Burnout is mostly common during huge projects going on over the months and have very rigid deadlines. Usually what happens is that a project work tests your limitations, and you work way past your endurance level. This is the basic reason of project burn out. Team member undergoing such torments renders only few inputs and fails to perform his task effectively. So, if you are a project manager, then it becomes your ethical and professional responsibility to look out for such situations and handle them before it gets too late and the team collapses completely.

First and foremost find out- is project burn out situation taking rounds in your team?

  • Team members are showing less interest in using new ideas
  • Lack of concentration
  • Frustration and procrastination
  • Emotional breakdown
  • Lethargy and dullness
  • Repetitive mistakes

These all are the signs of intense burn out. So gear up and see to the matter immediately. A project manager should think of innovative strategies to avoid project burn out and keep the work tandem in the reins. However, it is important to understand that burn out is not stress. It is caused when you are overworked and lack motivation; Stress can have bigger connotations like an individual may be exhausted physically, psychologically, socially and financially. But burn out is a mental exhaustion and losing interest in the work. Now, to approach this issue in a smarter way it is essential to make a checklist of the steps which can be taken to avoid project burn out.

  • Priority setup-Prioritize the subjects in a project. This way you can start with the most important ones first and then in the end you will be left with few lesser important ones which can be done with a slow pace too
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  • Slack-There needs to be a slack time allowance to every project. There are always chances that a project may take time little longer than expected. So, this slack allowance will help you in completing the task with ease and no rush. You just need to allot a little extra minutes to the very project.
  • Small Breaks- A few minutes break in between the work may be of great help. One tends to get exhausted working incessantly. Tired mind that’s been working straight six-eight hours become less productive. A short coffee break or a small walk in the corridor or even sitting with eyes closed for a while may revitalize your brain cells.
  • Be present- while doing a project one faces lots of situations. Some of them can be sorted out easily, and few really take a toll. In such cases do not wait instead be right there to take things in your hands so that impediment gets solved immediately. Usually executives avoid approaching project managers for solutions and keep trying, and thus trying takes a toll over their mind and their energy drains out completely.
  • Appreciation & Evaluation- Keep a track of all the tasks. This will help you in determining how much the project is completed and what all needs to be done in the stipulated time. Appreciate your team members at the completion of tasks assigned to each of them. This will motivate them to perform better and quicker through the rest of the project. This step will also help you in devising quick and smooth ways for achieving the deadlines.
  • Set the ambience-work atmosphere should be friendly and not tensed.

The rule to avoid project burn out is no rule. It’s just the matter of understanding your team and utilizing their potential in an effective manner. Take your team out for lunch when half of the project is done so that you can discuss your ideas and ways of working with them; lend your ear to their suggestions and requirements. This would be a kind of open house gathering for them and for you an opportunity to be a good project manager.