How to cope with QA Fatigue

It is nearly the end of another year, and I am asking the question “where have the past 12 months gone?”  It seems that the older that I get, the faster the years are passing. Like most people, I am feeling the cumulative effects of the COVID debacle, pandemic restrictions, and the years’ workload – all rolled into one! With all that has been going on this year, I thought it timely to update and republish this post on coping with QA fatigue.

What is QA Fatigue?  

QA fatigue is when QA managers are feeling not just only tired but inarguably exhausted.  From a QA perspective, it is often the case that you may be solely responsible for:

  • Documenting, implementing and reviewing the HACCP food safety system
  • Running training sessions for food handlers
  • Coordinating the external and internal audit process
  • Verifying HACCP records
  • Closing out corrective actions
  • Reviewing supplier performance
  • Arranging product testing
  • Developing new products
  • Liaising with significant customer QA departments
  • Managing business relationships, and generally
  • Making sure that the food business you work for meets all its regulatory requirements

Signs of QA fatigue

You may be suffering from QA fatigue if you are:

  • Grumpier – you may ‘snap’ at your colleagues and family members more readily
  • Distracted – you may find it hard to focus and achieve a set outcome
  • Overwhelmed – you may feel teary or react emotionally to comments or situations that you would easily cope with usually

Five tips for avoiding QA fatigue

Different people deal with fatigue in different ways. There are a few different strategies that I have implemented over the past few years that have helped with my end-of-year QA fatigue. 

  1. Be organised

Having a clear plan, and a clean desk helps keep me focused.  Knowing what I am going to achieve for a given day or week allows me to see an endpoint.  This includes shopping for Christmas presents and preparing for the holiday season.

  1. Say NO

Say ‘no’ to projects that are going to add massive workload and stress to your plate at this time of the year.  If you can comfortably manage the extra work on top of your daily work – great – but if not, be realistic with your available time.  I learnt a few years ago not to undertake audits in December. The audit outcome resulted in me having to drive 2-hours each way every week for the next six weeks. 

  1. Celebrate the achievements of the year

Take half an hour out of your day to write down everything that you have achieved in the past 12 months.  This activity alone can make you feel more positive and reduce your QA fatigue.

  1. Have a technology ban

If you usually check emails, take calls or deal with issues outside of your work-hours put a 48-hour prohibition on yourself. 

  1. Take a break

For some people, all that is needed is a break away from your work-place, a time to rejuvenate.  It could be as little as 2 hours a day or an extended holiday.  In Australia, it is summer over December, January and February.  I enjoy heading down to the beach for a few hours each day so that I can swim in the surf and lay around in the sun.

One last thought

If you are feeling more than just the ‘general’ QA fatigue, please consult your doctor.  How are you feeling? Do you suffer from end-of-year QA fatigue? Share your coping strategies by leaving a comment below this post.


19 thoughts on “How to cope with QA Fatigue”

  1. FX Hartanti Satochid { Francisca )

    A wonderful tips Amanda,thank you very much
    Have a wonderful Chrismas and a happy new year to you and family
    Best regards,

  2. It seems there are never enough seconds in my minutes, minutes in my hours, hours in my days or days in the weeks.
    “No” is that even a word??? 🙂 I use it and am told to do it anyway. Over worked and under appreciated. Time for a career change me thinks. 20.5 hours and I don’t have to clock in until the 6.1.2020 but that will be here before I know it.

    Thanks Amanda, you have helped get me through the last few months. Your words of wisdom are priceless. Merry Christmas and all the Best for the New Year.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      Oh Serena…..I know what you mean! The countdown is on like donkey kong 🙂 Enjoy your time off and I hope the days are slower before you return back to work.

  3. Thank you Amanda, I really love reading from you it so helpful, thank you once again for this beautiful massage, I recently encountered a QA fatigue as a result of working alone with no one to assist , your advise really helped me to overcome a QA fatigue.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      You are very welcome Rebecca. I am glad that you find my posts helpful. Take some time out to relax and recharge for the new year ahead.

  4. Perfect timing for this article, can totally relate.
    I thought it was just me, but nice to know that others feel the same.
    Time to reflect and clean my desk!

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      It is amazing the difference that a clean desk can make Kelly. I even find that I am more productive and get through tasks quicker 🙂

  5. I have learned to say No.
    secondly I don’t do audits towards the last months of the year I will pick te quite times of he year.

  6. I recently encountered QA fatigue, as a result of being a new Technical Manager and having an incompetent assistant. All the responsibilities were on me and there was never enough time to keep up with the day to day tasks. What I did, was to first have a meeting with my assistant and point out his weaknesses, so he can improve and secondly I took a Friday off work to clear out my head and organise myself. It really helped.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      Thanks for sharing your experience Athanasia. I think it is underestimated how much stress an incompetent work colleague can have on your well-being.

  7. Dear Amanda,
    Its thrue, that the older that I get the the faster the years are passing. Scientists try to prove that.
    But, even I am 68 I have boy friend in Australia 77! So, I am jung and can work more.
    If I come to Australia we can work together acoding to sheme safe hotels and risk managament.
    Merry Cristmas, and HAPPY 2020!

  8. Ehihumeme Afeisume

    I always love to read from you Amanda. Its always so helpful and beneficial to my everyday work. I will take your advice and have a week long holiday away from work, computer and phone.

  9. Yes, like a normal people with passion and profession as QA, i also experience this kind of feelings or boredom in my life. But i did it and enable to combat this feeling by reading and applying the same context or idea like Amanda shared to us and its really effective for me. Also i want to add what i did, i do revision and making my work very colorful, all the presentation and way of reporting i change it every quarter. hopefully will work with you guys. Again the final decision is still yours.

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