How do I overcome ego exhaustion

Self-control requirements and workload

(Too bad, Digutsch)

Employees are increasingly confronted with self-control requirements at work. These requirements are associated with limited resources. There is currently a lot of discussion about the mechanisms underlying resource limitation. We develop an objective measure to capture the current state of self-control (i.e. ego depletion / self-exhaustion). Basic cognitive control tasks are implemented based on diary studies. Combined with other data sources, a more comprehensive understanding of the resource constraints of self-control can be achieved.

In addition to the daily effects that influence the relationship between daily work demands and psychological well-being, more stable effects such as personality traits also play an important role. We investigate how the interaction of specific affect-regulating characteristics affects daily work behavior.

Previous IfADo studies were able to show that various forms of work-related self-control requirements (such as impulse control, resisting distractions, overcoming internal resistance) can clarify independent proportions of variance in indicators of work stress (after checking the influence of other, well-examined stress factors such as workload, role stress or lack of social support ). Corresponding relationships could be observed both in cross-section and longitudinally as well as in various professional fields of activity (such as nurses, teachers, financial service providers) and in various stress indicators (such as burnout, depressive symptoms, absenteeism) (see Schmidt & Diestel, 2015 , at a glance). These relationships raise the question of situational and personal factors that can increase or decrease the adverse stress effects of self-control requirements. The identification of such boundary conditions or moderators is an important question in stress-strain research, not least because of its implications for work design, personnel selection and development.

Individual cognitive control deficits, the experience of incongruent personal and organizational goals as well as the simultaneous mastering of different forms of self-control requirements could be identified as effect-enhancing boundary conditions. In contrast, a highly pronounced control capacity (as a personal characteristic), strong organizational ties and great situational control options as protective moderators of the impairing effects of self-control requirements could be demonstrated (see Schmidt, 2015; Schmidt & Diestel, 2015).

In addition, it could be observed that the personality trait of self-monitoring increases the stress effects of self-control requirements (Freund et al., 2015), while the use of problem-focused coping strategies (Schmidt & Diestel, 2013) and the mental switching off from work during leisure time as Stress buffers are effective (Rivkin et al., 2015a). A high quality of sleep can also contribute to strengthening exhausted control resources (Diestel et al., 2015). Finally, it could be shown that the emotional work strategy “surface acting” consumes more control resources than the strategy “deep acting”, with corresponding differences in the effects of stress (Schmidt & Diestel, 2014).

Finally, the theoretical assumption was investigated that the form of stress caused by burnout in particular is associated with deficits in cognitive control processes (Schmidt et al., 2007; Broadbent et al., 1982). To examine this assumption more precisely, elderly care workers with different degrees of burnout “emotional exhaustion” were confronted with the processing of tasks that involve different control processes such as B. Use inhibition processes (Stroop task) and working memory processes (N-Back task) in different intensities. The results show that people with a high degree of burnout show impaired performance, especially when these control processes are subject to high demands (Diestel et al., 2013). In addition, Kleinsorge et al. (2014) observed that in a comparison of people with a low level of burnout, people with high levels of emotional exhaustion show selective deficits in maintaining their willingness to react over longer periods of time.