Thanks to this year’s global pandemic, more people are working from home than ever before. As many are coming to realize, burnout often goes hand-in-hand with remote work. We thought that providing 3 tips to beat Work-From-Home burnout might help you. Not surprisingly, articles about how to prevent or avoid burnout have popped up all over the internet. Far fewer resources, however, address how to overcome burnout if you are already suffering.
How Do You Identify Burnout?
Recent reports indicate productivity dropped 4.8% in the last quarter of 2020. This productivity drop was the largest decrease since 1981. We have written other articles on being productive from home like Insight on Work at Home and Work-From-Home Strategies – “The Finer Points.” We have talked about Tips for Starting a Home Based Business and The Rise of “COVID-prenuers.” And, we have even created Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses on Working at Home. But with all this guidance on how to work from home or be successful from home, burnout can kick in.
How do you know if you are among the 69% of remote workers currently suffering from burnout? While the symptoms can look different for everyone, these are a few of the tell-tale signs:
- Feeling negative or apathetic toward work
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Forgetfulness, or an impaired sense of the passageof time
- Using substances as coping mechanisms
- Decreased efficiency — for example, finding yourself re-reading the same sentence over and over
If you have noticed some of these red flags in your life lately, you could be burned out. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to banish burnout and restore your work-life balance. Consider these three ideas.
Establish Time Boundaries for Work-From-Home
One of the major causes of work-from-home burnout is the lack of time boundaries. If you work-from-home, you are probably acutely aware of how often you let your life interrupt your work, answering a child’s question or moving the laundry into the dryer, for example. However, you may not realize how often you let work interrupt your life. You may find yourself responding to an email while cooking dinner or absentmindedly logging in during TV time.
Many remote workers report feeling as though they are never “off” work. As Dr. Heather DeQuincey put it in a now-viral tweet: “I think we need to stop calling it ‘working from home’ and start calling it ‘living at work.’”
It is not hard to see how such nonstop connectivity can lead to burnout. Inc. explains one of the most effective ways to combat this problem is establishing firm temporal boundaries and sticking to them. Create a work schedule, write it down, and let your family and co-workers know that these are the times you will be available. It may be difficult at first, but in the end, it will save you countless wasted hours, not to mention your sanity.
Set Physical Boundaries to Minimize Burnout
If your current workspace lacks physical boundaries, it could contribute to feelings of burnout. Just because you can work from anywhere does not mean that you should work from everywhere. If you pop open your laptop or check work on your phone in every room of your house, your brain eventually associates all those areas with working. No wonder you are feeling burned out!
Establish a designated workspace in your home. Try to restrict your work to this place as much as possible. Real Simple notes that ideally, your work area should be near a window where you can get some natural light, or at the very least should be well-lit and at a comfortable temperature. Choose an area that is free from visible distractions, including piles of clutter. A disorganized or chaotic work area disrupts your energy flow. Further, clutter tends to breed negative thoughts, so it should be dealt with accordingly. Any distracting objects or unfinished projects should be out of sight.
Automate Tasks When Possible to Beat Tasks Sucking Up Time
There are many apps and programs available that you can customize to automate or nearly automate a vast array of tedious tasks. These sorts of tasks can suck up loads of your time and energy. Worse, unproductive tasks leave you feeling that you did not accomplish anything.
Remember that you can pick tips and tools that our K2 team recommends. Further, remember our guidance on outsourcing. Learning to say no will make a difference in your business and work-life balance. And yes, there is an app for that!
Still Not Enough?
If you have become burned out while working from home, you are not alone. These 3 tips to beat Work-From-Home burnout can help you establish a healthier, more sustainable relationship with your work.
However, if things do not get better for you, call for professional help. Unfortunately, I know of multiple people who have chosen suicide based on their stress levels in the last 60 days. Get help from places like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or from your medical professionals. While many of us offer our friendship and support, we often do not know our friends and colleagues are desperate for help. Watch out for the symptoms above in yourself, family, friends, and colleagues.