How to avoid burnout as a graduate going into full-time work

As we venture into the modern world of work, the reality of burnout has become a common phenomenon, especially among new graduates. If you’re a new graduate, you may face lots of challenges as you transition from college to a full-time role. However, burnout doesn’t have to come. By adopting strategic productivity tactics and tools, you’ll be able to navigate this challenging period and thrive in the digital age.

1. Understanding Burnout in Early Career Stages

1.1 What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. In the early stages of your career, burnout can be particularly prevalent due to the pressure of adjusting to new responsibilities and expectations.

1.2 Spotting the Signs of Burnout

Early signs of burnout may include feeling tired and drained most of the time, lowered immunity, frequent illnesses, and a change in sleep habits or appetite. Emotional signs might be a sense of failure, self-doubt, feeling helpless, and decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. If these symptoms are ignored, they can lead to more serious issues like chronic fatigue, insomnia, and depression.

Girl sitting on the stairs burnt out

2. Individual Factors Contributing to Burnout

2.1 Mindset and Perfectionism

A perfectionistic mindset can play a big role in early career burnout. Many graduates enter the workforce with high expectations and a desire to make a good impression. This can result in the development of perfectionistic behaviours, which can lead to burnout.

2.2 Coping with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is the psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a constant fear of being exposed as fraud. This syndrome can fuel burnout as it often leads to overworking and an inability to set boundaries.

2.3 Learning to Manage Yourself

The ability to manage oneself is a crucial skill to learn to avoid burnout. It’s important to maintain a balance between work, hobbies, and self-care. This can be a challenging transition if you are used to structured schedules at uni and potentially more free time during the day.

3. The Role of the Workplace in Early Career Burnout

3.1 Organisational Culture

The culture within an organisation can significantly impact the possibility of burnout. A culture that promotes long working hours, high levels of competition, and lack of work-life balance can contribute to burnout.

3.2 Lack of Clear Goals and Feedback

Lack of clear goals and feedback can lead to confusion and doubt, which can result in stress and burnout. It’s crucial for young professionals to have clear objectives and receive regular feedback to help them grow and improve.

4. The Impact of Social Media and Constant Connection

The rise of social media and constant connectivity can contribute to feelings of burnout. Young professionals are often expected to be available round the clock, blurring the lines between personal and professional life.

burnt out woman leaning on a pillar

5. Strategies to Manage and Prevent Burnout

5.1 Setting Boundaries and Managing Expectations

One of the most important steps in preventing burnout is setting boundaries, both with oneself and others. This includes defining work hours, taking regular breaks, and ensuring that personal time is respected. If you’re not getting paid for doing extra work, and you feel like you have to do more hours than it says in your contract on a regular basis, speak to your manager. It’s better to speak up early than experience burnout and quit – I’m sure your manager will be respectful and understanding. And if not, maybe this is not the place to be.

5.2 Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is a critical element in managing stress and preventing burnout. This can include physical activity, meditation, hobbies, or simply spending time with loved ones. Practising self-care helps to reduce stress levels and increase overall well-being.

What can help put this into practice, is creating a morning and evening routine for yourself. This way, you know exactly that at 6 pm for example, you start your evening routine, which includes reading a book, making dinner, spending time with your partner or friends, doing skincare, etc. The more you do it, the easier it will get to switch from work mode to relaxation mode.

5.3 Seeking Professional Help

If symptoms of burnout persist, it may be helpful to seek professional help, such as a psychologist or counsellor. These can provide effective strategies to manage stress and navigate the challenges of early career stages.

6. Leveraging Productivity Tools and Tactics

6.1 The Role of Productivity Tools

Productivity tools can play a crucial role in managing workloads and preventing burnout. Tools like Notion Templates help you organise tasks, manage time effectively, and keep track of progress.

6.2 Effective Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill in preventing burnout. Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, the Eisenhower Matrix, and prioritisation can help you manage tasks effectively and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

7. Final Thoughts

Burnout in the early stages of one’s career can be a very frustrating experience. However, with the right mindset, tools, strategies, and help, you’ll be able to navigate all of it successfully. Remember, it’s essential to seek help if feelings of burnout persist.

Remember, the key to thriving in the digital age is not just about working hard but working smart. So, take control of your work, prioritise self-care, and harness the power of productivity tools like Notion to help you navigate and thrive in your early career.

If you would like to learn more about how to use Notion in your daily life, check out my Notion templates on Gumroad, my YouTube channel, and follow me on Instagram.

Scroll to Top