Fighting burnout: Start with a well-planned week

Fighting burnout: Start with a well-planned week

Ruthless planning on Sunday sets me up to prevent burnout for the rest of the week. Consider these three tips to help yourself and your team beat burnout

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Editor’s note: In this series, we are sharing tips to help IT professionals manage their stress - and guide their teams through challenging times. Here, RichTheil, CEO of The Noble Foundry, shares three simple tips he's learned.

Planning ahead is critical

One solution I've found to manage my own stress is ruthless planning on Sunday. My weeks have been pretty intense since the pandemic hit, and the difference between a good week and a challenging week (besides getting the right rest), is the 90 minutes I spend planning my week on Sunday.

If I do it well, my stress level is down and I'm confident throughout the week. If I skip it or do it poorly, I'm super-stressed and sure to be playing catch-up for the next five days.

How to help teams cope with stress

It takes more than just asking team members how they are doing. You have to proactively do things that make life more fun.

[ Learn how to tune into the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of burnout: IT burnout: 5 warning signs ]

Laughing is a great stress reliever. We all wear goofy hats on our standing Friday Zoom call. Recently, we bought one of the guys on our team a hat because he's been more stressed than usual. When it shows up, he'll (hopefully) have a good laugh and (most importantly) feel cared for.

Leading someone who is burned out

When someone is on the verge of burnout, you want to proactively talk to them about their weekly rhythms. Are they taking at least one day to rest? When are they going on date nights with their spouse? When are they just playing with their kids? What barriers do they have to those activities?

A well-structured week goes a long way toward building a defense against burnout - and leaders can help with that. 

[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

Rich Theil
Rich helps IT Leaders fix Agile teams burdened by inadequate Product Management and broken business partner relationships. Prior to starting The Noble Foundry, Rich spent 12 years as CIO for a large, scrappy, and aggressive non-profit in Cincinnati. Additionally, Rich spent seven years at P&G in Information Technology.

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