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Learn & Practice

Workplace Wednesday: Start a Work Diary


In this week’s Workplace Wednesday, start a diary for work experiences to prevent burn out.

Photo by Peter Olexa on Unsplash

The World Health Organization defines burnout as, “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

After a year of external stressors from the Covid-19 pandemic and potentially increased work stress, this may sound familiar. If you fear that your workplace stress is veering toward burnout, you might try keeping a “work diary.”

A work diary can help you explore what factors promote a good experience at work, and can help you identify the situations that may be triggering stressful feelings. For example, if you had a great meeting that motivated you, write down the aspects of that meeting that made a positive impression. You can write things down in the moment, or at the end of the day as a reflection.

Try keeping a running log of what goes on in your week through this lens. Your diary can help you notice and track when:

  • You are more focused, and what helps you get there;
  • Your interactions with others are going well and why;
  • You feel emotionally reactive, and what caused it; 
  • You feel inspired and motivated; and generally
  • Any patterns that may be factors that shape your experience at work

Once you’ve been keeping the diary for a bit, these patterns will hopefully emerge clearly. You can then begin learning and trying different strategies or interventions to support your well-being in the workplace. 

Already overwhelmed and feeling underwater? Breathe, pause and take 90 seconds for yourself with this meditation.

Learn more about how the Healthy Minds Framework can support your workplace well-being with Healthy Minds @Work or Kickoff a meditation habit with our new Kickstart to Train Your Mind online course.

HM@Work Workplace Wednesdays