I agree 100%
For me, I found two workable solutions.
1. Get to work at 6am and get a ton done before 8am, or stay after 6pm and get a ton done. I basically write off the hours of 8am-5pm, knowing I'll achieve essentially zero due to meetings, interruptions, 'urgent' emails, etc.
2. Get to work at a normal time, put my stuff on my desk, reply to a couple of emails so people know I'm around, then I take my laptop and sit in a local coffee shop with headphones on. I can get actually 6 hours of work done in an 6 hour stretch. I'm not far away from the office if I must attend an 'emergency' meeting, but I'm not at my desk getting interrupted every 13 minutes.
Usually the success of the second one depends on if your manager respects you actually getting work done.
3. Reduce the amount of work to be done. (Probably by more than half.)
Since when was taking what amounts to a six hour exam every single day acceptable?
Also, you will have the tendency, no matter how early you start, to always leave late anyway, at least that's what happened to me so I would end up getting in slightly later.
As for option 2, it's really not an option for the majority of companies. The things you need to work are on the internal LAN, you have a desktop and not a laptop, etc.
The constant interruptions either in person, by email or chat in the open space prevent from getting anything done, I used to stay later and have my most productive hours late in the evening.
Still, there was occasionally some colleague that would also stay late due to having to catch a bus or a plane and would chat all the time.
It was doable, but I always felt I was constantly living on the edge, always scrambling to get things finished in the last day of the dealine, thinking what I'm going to say on the status meeting that immediately interrupts the work at the beginning of the morning, etc.
The only thing surprising to me in these working conditions is how there are not MORE people burning out, I suspect it happens to a lot of people at least once, and then they learn to recognize the signs and leave the company before things get to that point.
But I don't think it's about taking more yoga classes, meditating or whatever, it's the working conditions and not the people.
People are getting grinded like beef chuck by these companies,
these working conditions are literally taking years out of peoples lives, and no one calls out these companies by the harm that they cause to society.
Also, a lot of the work people are so busy with is completely unnecessary and people know it. Several times I was scrambling for deadline after deadline doing super "urgent" stuff, and one day I left and I literally wasn't even replaced!