No more crowded commutes or being stuck in traffic, we can wear sweatpants while working, and we can even eat at our desk whenever we need to. Working from home can sound like a dream come true. But is it too good to be true?
Many remote workers and freelancers know this – without the proper boundaries and self-management, you will soon find yourself working late into the night or during the weekends. You suddenly lose the fine line between on and off work, and the work-life balance we were expecting from WFH conditions goes off.
Eventually, we burn out. Then – to no surprise – we end up procrastinating more. Everyone works differently, whether it’s back at the office or home during this pandemic. Burn-out can happen anywhere at any time – that’s if you allow it to happen. Let’s learn how to avoid burn-out during this pandemic with these steps.
Check yourself now and then. Do you have more work coming in than you’re able to complete? Do you feel your frustrations numbing your motivation to work? Are you procrastinating more than usual?
We’ll be coming back to this point a couple of times because this is an important step that we can’t miss. Without evaluating ourselves now and then, we end up going full speed towards burning ourselves out.
Some people enjoy making plans, while others don’t. We don’t necessarily need to make a plan, but we can at least try to plan for our break time. Take your usual meal breaks, but also slot in some 5-minute breaks to recollect yourself.
Taking breaks can be hard to do as it ‘breaks’ your focus or concentration on a particular task. A great trick to help overcome this is to take a 2-3 minute break after each major task (or 1-3 small tasks).
When working from home, it’s tough to know when you can wrap up work. At the last minute, someone may assign a task or your workload has just piled up too high to stop working. Often, it goes beyond the time we’re supposed to be getting off. Going back to the first point, check yourself.
Finding the right balance is hard. All the tips we’ve discussed so far are easier said than done. Each workday is different, and we cannot always expect it to go the way we want it to go. Evaluate each day as time goes and figure out what works best for you and your schedule.
Although each day may be different, we can always find a pattern that works for us – this is why we need to test and trial different timings each day. The key thing is to keep yourself flexible enough to work on your tasks but also to take a break or end the workday when needed.
Keep going back to the first point – notice yourself and notice the signs. If you find yourself falling into feelings of negativity, stop yourself and take that break when you can. That’s a sure sign that you’re well on your way towards burning out. A few minutes of break time can do wonders for your mind and body.