​5 ways to avoid or get rid of overburden

14 January 2021

Arnout Orelio

These last weeks, the number of COVID-19 patients that needed hospital care has risen exponentially again, flooding the wards and intensive care units. Many of the “regular” procedures have been cancelled and healthcare professionals’ well deserved days off have been revoked. Already, 10-20% of them are showing signs of burn-out.*

This made me think …

What can these professionals and their leaders do to relieve the burden?

Here are five ideas and resources that might help you:

  1. Start the right way, everyday: active and positive. What you do and think the first minutes after you get up, have a huge impact on the rest of your day. Read, listen or watch and learn how you can develop your own “miracle morning”.
  2. Observe your situation. Study your waiting lists, calendars, or planning and your actual way of working. Investigate why you and your colleagues are so busy. Often this concerns your focus and how you set priorities. Make sure that you are doing the important things first, by asking this focussing question: “What is the one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary.” (More about creating focus can be found in this excellent book: The One Thing. The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan).
  3. People regularly are doing work that is not or not yet necessary. If you can eliminate this work or have it done when it is quieter you can easily free up capacity. Ask these questions for each activity and take appropriate action
    1. Is this needed? => No, delete
    2. By me? => No, delegate
    3. Now? => No, schedule for the right moment
    4. 3x “Yes!” => Act
  4. Making decisions can be very tiresome. To avoid spending your will power on trivial or recurring decisions, like what to wear, when to take a break and what to do next. Standardize your decisions or delegate them.
  5. Last but not least! Clear your head and rest, regularly. This is as important as being active!

Are you or your team members overburdened? What do you do to relieve yourself and them of that burden?

Tell me all about it in the comments!


* This is based on the situation in The Netherlands at the end of 2020. It might be different in your country, but as far as I can see, overburden is a problem in healthcare all over the world.


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