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Which Burnout Is Yours: Overloaded, Under-Challenged, or Neglected?

Not all job burnout is the same. Understanding the nature of your work-related stress is an important step to dealing with it.

It’s no secret that business-event planning means managing multiple tasks on tight deadlines, while unforeseen challenges are par for the course along with long hours on site. On top of that, expectations are high, budgets are often tight, technologies are constantly changing, and the results of the work—the quality of the meeting—are on display for everyone to critique.

Bottom line: Burnout among meeting professionals is a significant concern. It can negatively impact health, job satisfaction, and the success of events.

There are many well-known strategies for tackling burnout, from time-management tools and more-effective communication to better delegation of tasks and mindfulness exercises. However, an article in the Harvard Business Review provides an interesting perspective on the problem: Not all burnout is the same. According to research, there are three types of burnout, and the way to tackle each is unique.

As meeting professionals work to effectively address their own stress or that of their team, it’s helpful to understand the differences between the three types: overload burnout, under-challenged burnout, and neglect burnout. The HBR article provides signs to watch for and suggestions for addressing each type. For example, this piece of advice from the authors for tackling overload burnout: “Strive to diversify your identity—to create self-complexity—by investing in different areas of your life beyond work.”

Another recent study related to workplace burnout was conducted by MyBioSource and reported in Forbes. It turns out that taking time off from work is not a quick fix. “When employees get overloaded with work, they think PTO or a vacation will remedy the problem. But that’s a mistake,” according to the authors, reporting on the study of 1,007 American employees. “Instead of feeling renewed after a vacation, 50 percent of employees report that time off often leaves them feeling drained for at least a week upon return.” Those people complain of low energy levels (65 percent), motivation loss (63 percent), fatigue (58 percent), and feeling sad (29 percent) after vacation.

The takeaway: While vacations are essential, taking steps to address the root causes of the burnout—and the specific kind of burnout you’re experiencing—may be the most effective path to mental health.


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