Rich picture version of Causal loop diagram based on Jack Homer's paper Worker burnout: a dynamic model with implications for prevention and control System Dynamics Review 1985 1(1)42-62 See IM-333 for the Simulation model and IM-2178 for a related Causal Loop Diagram of Project Turnover
The work we have to do each week is added to by new work coming in that week and is reduced by the number of tasks accomplished each week
To keep our To Do List under control we adjust the amount of hours we work to accomplish enough to balance the workload
In addition to the number of hours worked each week, the accomplishments depend also on our productivity.
The amount of new work we add each week depends on expected accomplishments per week
Normally we adjust our perceptions to match our expectations of accomplishments
When we are on a roll, we sense we can always do better ("When too much is never enough") and continue to work more and more hours, a reinforcing loop. This also works in the other direction, when the less we do the less we expect to do, and we perceive the few accomplishments as good enough.
The more hours we work the less effectively we work, which produces burnout, which limits the number of accomplishments, a balancing loop
In addition the more we work the faster the rate at which we approach burnout, a stressful reinforcing loop, or death spiral
The burnout rate is also affected by the perception of progress, a reinforcing work satisfaction loop
We recover from burnout by spending time regularly relaxing
But there are only so many hours in a week, so there is a work leisure balance
The more the burnout, the slower the rate of recovery and the weaker the effect of recovery therapy, more reinforcing death spiral contributions. SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE?