COVID-19. No one anticipated all of the ways that it would change our lifestyles, and, more importantly, our work life. With non-essential services closed down, many more of us are working from home.
Add to this the gig workers and solopreneurs who are also working from home, and you have a huge number of the working population in this situation right now.
But the working-from-home environment is not without its challenges. There are any number of distractions, family members all around, and, even if you can surmount these challenges, there is the issue of burnout.
Why Working from Home Promotes Burnout
There are several circumstances that can promote burnout for those who work from home, among them the following:
- The feeling of isolation: Solopreneurs are on their own. They may have a home office; they may have plenty of access to clients and colleagues via digital means. But, in the end, they are physically alone in their offices or workspaces. This can contribute to a lack of motivation.
- There is no need to get up, get cleaned up, and leave for a workplace in which others are also “cleaned up” in a workplace environment. It is easy to get into a routine of staying in pajamas, not practicing basic daily hygiene. etc. This promotes a psychological mentality of laziness and a lack of productivity.
- There is a tendency toward procrastination. It’s easy to think, “I have all day to do this, so there is no rush.” And that attitude leads to plenty of other options, rather than work – Internet surfing, TV, cooking, cleaning, etc. All of this is because you just don’t want to hunker down to the work tasks at hand.
- There is no one overseeing your work and prodding you, to keep you motivated. Without a “cheerleader,” it may be hard to stay motivated.
And There are Signs of Burnout to Watch For
The most common signs of burnout will include the following: * Seeing your work as frustrating or stressful. You may feel “numb” about getting to it. * Some physical symptoms may occur – headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, sleepiness * Lack of energy * Difficulty focusing
So How Do You Fight Burnout?
The best battle plan against burnout is to be proactive and prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some actionable strategies that you can put into place right now:
1. Set a Schedule and Stick to It
The worst thing you can do is start tasks, leave them undone to get food, clean something, or get on social media. This takes focus away and requires that your brain change gears too much. Figure out what your most productive time of day or night is and set that as your work time. And to help you keep to that schedule, use something like the PomoDone App – a time management software tool that will keep track of your time-on-task. You can set your “work time” and then your reward with a “break time.” While it is certainly not a human standing over your shoulder, you might feel some guilt breaking the “rules.”
2. Do Take Those Breaks
This is your reward for hard work. Make it special. If you have a favorite snack, this is the time for it; if you get 20 minutes to play your favorite digital game, do it. If you want to check your Facebook timeline or message with friends, do it. The more your breaks are pleasing, the less deprived you will feel. But when that time is over, get back to it.
3. Make a Daily List
One of the symptoms of burnout is feeling as if you are unproductive and getting into the habit of “thinking” that way. If you make a to-do list with paper and pencil, you get to cross each item off physically. This is another reward, albeit psychological. But it allows you to see what you have accomplished at the end of your workday, and that can be a big factor in preventing/alleviating burnout.
4. Consider Sourcing Out the Minor Tasks You Hate
You are a website designer/developer. There are aspects of your job that you love – using your artistic and creative self to create amazing layouts and designs. What you don’t like, though, is crafting the written content for those layouts, images, and, yes, even products. And yet you need to deliver that final finished product in its entirety. If you hate the content writing, outsource it to a reputable online writing service. You can find reviews and websites ratings, and choose one that will meet your needs.
5. Eat Right and Get Physical Exercise
You’ve heard this before, but there is research that shows the relationship between these two things and productivity.
Carbs provide an energy boost, but it is short-lived. And the crash after that boost is over can be a lack of energy and sleepiness. High levels of carbs cause the body to produce lots of insulin, something that floods the brain with hormones that induce sleep (e.g. tryptophan).
The opposite is true as well. When the body has too little fuel, low glucose (sugar) levels result. This can create a feeling of tiredness. But newer studies also show that low blood sugar levels also result in lowered will power and ability to remain on task.
Physical exercise increases serotonin levels. This is commonly known as the “feel-good” hormone. Having an elevated mood can certainly help to ward off burnout.
6. Allow Yourself to Vent
Frustrations can build up and contribute to burnout. Holding them in does no good. While some are able to rid themselves of frustration through exercise, others cannot. It’s time to vent. Talk about them to loved ones – close friends and families. Just getting them out can be enough to turn a mood around.
In the End…
If you are working from home and you are frequently saying, “I really don’t want to work today,” you are probably suffering from burnout. Take a look at the remedies listed above and start implementing them. They are easy.
About the author:
Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting and ghostwriting services. Currently, she contributes to RatedbyStudents. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.
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