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How to Avoid Burnout When Working From Home

Many of us have had to work from home during the Covid pandemic. Now, as things slowly return to ‘normal’, some of us may be going back to the office, but others are finding that working from home has become a permeant situation. As many self-employed people already know, there are a number of challenges to this. How can we ensure our work doesn’t take over every minute of our lives? How do we ensure we dedicate adequate time and effort to maintaining our relationships, health and well-being? With technology allowing us 24/7 access to our emails, how do we set boundaries? In short, how do we avoid burnout?

End of the 9 Till 5?

For many of us it used to be that you went into the office in the morning, focused on your work for the day, and then went home in an evening and completely detached. This downtime was for us, our family, and our own hobbies and pleasures. Of course, sometimes the stresses and strains of the office came home. But modern technology and expectations make this so much more common. Out of hours zoom calls, emails pinging on your smartphone and bosses expecting an immediate response. Is this the new norm?

Looking After Mental Health & Wellbeing

There are many benefits to the nature of the 9-5 working days. Keeping work and home life separate allows the brain downtime to rest and recuperate. When we feel like we’re always on standby, the brain can become overworked. We find ourselves feeling the ‘fight or flight response often which can lead to stress and anxiety. Sleep can become an issue and insomnia is common. We might neglect our wellbeing, forgetting about healthy eating and exercise. Relationships might suffer as we become more irritable and distant.

When we feel like we don’t have enough time for everything we can react in several ways – procrastination, anger, stress, victim behaviour or loss of control. And, interestingly, our productivity whilst we are at work tends to suffer too. Some of my clients are finding they are struggling with other issues whilst working from home. These can include feeling like a fraud, demotivation and a lack of confidence.

Productivity When Working From Home

You would think that this new instant technology and access to communication and information would have dramatically increased the nation’s productivity. Actually,

data shows that productivity has remained pretty flat over the last few decades despite all the new technology available. So why is this?

It could be something to do with the type of workflow that instant access technology and 24/7 availability can encourage. Feeling like you have to always be available means you are only able to give a little of yourself to everything you do. A buzzing, ‘hive’ mind trying to deal with multiple things at once. Our workflow becomes chaotic and reactive rather than planned and considered.

Working from home, perhaps we struggle to concentrate. Distractions are all around and we aren’t sure how to prioritise work during work hours and home outside of these. How often have you worked late because you don’t feel like you got enough done during the day?

The opposite of this chaotic workflow is a more careful, considered and planned approach that allows for a deep focus. This is ideal for increased productivity, creativity and clarity. But how can we achieve this?

How to Set Boundaries Working at Home

Set a Routine

Get up at the same time each working day if possible. Look after yourself with breakfast, showers, getting dressed and going to work on time. Get to bed at a healthy time. Ensure you take regular breaks and eat and drink enough. Funnily enough, many people have fewer breaks at home than when in the office.

Physical Boundaries

If you can, have a home office space and keep it separate from your personal spaces. Keep it neat. When the working day is over, close the door or put the laptop away and switch off work phones.

Avoid Isolation

Try to connect personally when you can. Zoom or phone calls are a great alternative to email. It can be lonely working from home. Many people like to go work from a coffee shop or shared space occasionally or organise a face to face meetings where appropriate.

Set Boundaries With Others

Share your schedule with others so they know when you can and can’t be disturbed. But then make sure you stick to it. Finish when you say you will. If you need a little time to decompress between work and home life schedule some exercise or relaxation time.

Be Creative With Working Methods

When working from home you have more freedom to set up your day, schedules and workflow. Find something that works for you as an individual whilst still keeping colleagues happy. Be proactive and creative. Discuss any issues that arise or changes you may need. Find what helps you be more productive.

Further Help & Advice

If you are working from home and feel like you would benefit from a change in mindset, stress reduction, practical tips and advice or a coaching relationship, please do get in touch. I can offer both face-to-face and online hypnotherapy.

I can help you be more productive at work and feel more relaxed at home. We need to change our mindset when working from home and allow ourselves permission to switch off at the end of the day to avoid burnout. In turn, this makes us more effective, creative and driven.


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