Feeling like you’re getting nowhere with your work? Here’s what I do to remind myself of the progress I’ve made.

Do you ever feel like you’re getting nowhere in your work? The same issues and problems keep popping up, the same challenges, the same behaviours and it can feel like you’re going in circles. For me, sometimes it can feel like there are too many people who need support and as soon as I’ve helped one person, another two get added to the list. For Social Care Workers, it can feel like an endless roundabout and you may start to wonder is all the effort worth it.


The thing is… we are making progress all the time, whether it’s with service users or our own learning and development, even if it doesn’t feel like it. One of the key characteristics of burnout is a perception of reduced personal and professional accomplishment, or feeling like you are getting nowhere. That negativity can spiral and when you’re feeling negative, it can be difficult to see the positive.


So how can you change that perception? There’s a few things I do to remind myself of my progress. Firstly, I take time out (5 mins) on Fridays to write down my wins. I reflect on my week and no matter what has happened, I pick out my accomplishments and the good things that happened. These could be personal or professional such as I exercised 4 days, I spent time with a certain friend to help boost my physical and mental health or for work, I finished a report or had a successful meeting to support a client. I try to write them all down in a notebook. The second thing I do is to keep a large jar near my workspace – it’s called my ‘Compliment Jar’. Every time I get a compliment or someone expresses gratitude for something I’ve done, I jot it down on a post-it and pop it in the jar. I also put thank you cards and sometimes print off complimentary emails for it. Then, and this is the important bit… when I’m having a rough day or week, I pull out the notebook or jar and start reading through the entries. This gives me an enormous confidence boost and helps remind me of all the good things I’ve accomplished already because like most people, I tend to forget the good things and dwell on the negative.