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Project Management Burnout and How to Recover

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 18th January 2019

There probably isn’t a project manager out there who hasn’t experienced some level of stress or burnout on their projects no matter how many project management qualifications they have.

There are a huge number of things that could trigger this stress, for example an unreasonable client, a challenging team with a lack of clear organisational skills and the ability to manage their time effectively or even just a higher than normal level of technical complexity involved in the project. When the adrenalin levels caused by stress become out of control they can result in people working long hours and not just in the short term, this eventually leads to burnout.

In small burst this stress can be very positive and push people to work better but when it goes on for a longer period of time it can be very detrimental to the health.

Unfortunately, this type of stress isn’t simply down to those external factors that can occur as a result of working on a project there is a possibility that it is linked to those habits that are deeply rooted in a person. Often those people who are suffering with chronic stress are completely unaware of it, although it is obvious to those around them.

The first steps

The first step to recovering from project management burnout is realising that the warning signs are there and being able to take them seriously enough to take positive action. You might be struggling with insomnia, have lower than normal levels of patience, fidget all the time and are unable to sit still, it is also highly likely that you will be unable to relax and enjoy social events or holidays.

Identifying these signs is the first step that you can make on your path to recovery from burnout.

Identify why it happened

Unfortunately, project management burnout doesn’t just go away once you realise you are suffering from it. Identify why it has happened and then you will have something to work with. The things that you can change, and relatively easily are the reasons why the burnout happened. A good way to identify them is to try keeping a stress diary, this will pinpoint those days when something happened that made you more stressed and help you narrow down the bigger issues.

Take some time for you

One of the best ways to help yourself on the path to recovery is to remove work and any related issues from your life. Time spent away from work should give you the space to mentally distance yourself, relax and destress. This won’t help the problem to go away but it will give you the strength to tackle the deeper issues.

Reassess your goals

If the reasons you are struggling with project management burnout could be helped with further training or a refresher course, then why not look into Parallel Project Training courses and see if there is something that might help you.

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