Watch out for burnout

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Working from home? How do you feel about it?

I don’t know about you, but from my experience working from home can lead to serious overwork and health neglect.
When you have the working environment set-up at your home you can easily disregard your personal time and break the work-life balance.

What you can do is to build up strong self-discipline and try not to make many compromises with those rules which you will set-up for yourself.

1. Time management

This is maybe the hardest thing to control during working from home. Living in your office allows you to work for 10-12 or sometimes even more hours a day.
Do not allow this, at least not on a daily basis.

What you can do to discipline yourself is to make a schedule.

Taking short breaks and not over-working will affect your productivity in a good way. After lots of hours of constant work your concentration, creativity, and respectively productivity dramatically will drop, so don’t fall in that trap.

2. Planning

Take some time in the morning to plan your daily activities. Write down everything that is in your mind for the day in a calendar. Make a schedule and in that way, you will have a good perspective of how many things you have to do and how much time approximately you can allocate for every task.
That way you are kind of programming yourself and setting up realistic expectations.

3. Exercising

There is no second thought about the fact that physical exercises lower down the anxiety and stress levels.
Schedule some training sessions on your calendar as frequent as possible.

4. Enough sleep

Something very important and also very abused is sleeping time and its quality.
However, it is of fundamental importance to have enough rest. And when I say enough according to studies that means about 8 hours.
Interesting reading about the subject is the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. You can find there some scientific evidence of how critical this subject is for our physical and mental abilities.
During the sleeping process, we not only recover our body and mind but also give access to our subconscious to take over the control of our deepest thoughts and thinking and very often brilliant ideas come out. So one of the best problem solvers is good sleep.

5. Eating habits

Watch out what, when, and how much you eat. That will affect your mood, thinking, and energy.
Try to eat healthy food which will energize you.
Good examples are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and super-foods.
Bring some proteins to your diet by adding protein powder to your morning smoothie or oatmeal.
One sad fact is that through the latest 50-ish years most of the vitamins and minerals in our food have decreased by more than 90%. So don’t eat junk, consume a lot of plant-based meals, and fill up your nutrient needs with quality food supplements.

6. Distraction management

I know it’s hard but try to avoid any distractions during your work sessions. If you are using a technique like the one we’ve discussed earlier – Pomodoro, then the moment your working time starts, close your mail and social media and set your communication applications to “Do Not Disturb” mode. This will allow you to focus and produce great results in minimal time.

7. The environment

I’ve already written about setting up your work environment and this also applies to your home office:
Make your working environment a comfortable place.
That will also affect your feel-good mood.

8. Learn to say “no”

This is an important part of your job. Especially if you have years of experience then you have to be able to identify the possible and fruitful solutions for different problems. So there is nothing wrong to identify the situation and to decide that it is not reasonable to be done the proposed way, or at that moment, or by you.

9. Delegate

Also, a very powerful thing to do is to know your colleagues’ abilities and delegate whenever it is necessary. This will not only ease your day but will increase your productivity. You will not be forced to do multitasking which may lead to slow implementation of all the tasks you have. Furthermore, sometimes there are others that are more skillful or have more experience and knowledge for something than you have.
Stick to the teamwork and value the collaboration.

10. Regular discussions with the team members

Following the last paragraph, you are one team and the product you deliver is common. Everybody is responsible for the final work you produce, so regular discussions with the team members is always a good thing.
Talk about:

  • The problems and concerns you have
  • The ideas in your head
  • The business requirements
  • The technical details
  • Ask for help if needed
  • Propose help

To summarize, no matter how much work you are doing at the moment it is important to be smart and think in perspective because regardless of the temporary results you are achieving with hard work if you are not cautious, sooner or later your brain and body could fail and your velocity will drop to zero.

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