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Burning out? Think hard about that next big project

If you're burning out, undoubtedly you're aware of it, and it could be the upshot of taking on challenging project after challenging project, says Harvard Business Review.The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http://www.hbr.org).

“The reward for accomplishing a high-profile project in a short timeframe is often another challenging project with an even tighter timeline. Taking on increasingly impossible assignments will cause you to burn out, fail, or both.

“Next time your manager recruits you for that project only you can get done, ask for a few days to think it over. Use that time to plan the project, identify the resources you'll need, and predict bottlenecks.Harvard Business Review and HBR.org suggests: “American culture often celebrates heretics, misfits, and entrepreneurs - anyone who challenges the status quo. Yet, many workplaces do not; instead, conformity and accord are rewarded.

“Be realistic with your plan; don't assume you or your team will work 80-hour weeks. Then, share it with your boss. Explain what you won't be able to do as a result of working on this assignment and negotiate for the extra resources you need.

“Be sure to document the agreement by sending a follow up e-mail so that you can renegotiate if resources get pulled or deadlines get tightened.”


Challenging the status quo at work may help drive innovation and push an organisation forward, but be wary of going too far, says Harvard Business Review.

“However, a challenging voice can help an organisation discover a potential misstep, push to innovate, and ultimately succeed. You can rarely be an effective leader without having a little bit of rebel in you.

“Next time you find yourself agreeing with everyone in the room, ask yourself whether that's truly what's best for the company. Play devil's advocate to test assumptions and poke holes in the strategy.

“Don't go too far, of course. Knowing when to step back is as important as knowing when to push.”

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Published March 08, 2011 at 9:15 am (Updated March 08, 2011 at 9:14 am)

Burning out? Think hard about that next big project

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