As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have transitioned to telecommuting. For some, working from home feels like newfound freedom. There’s no boss hovering over your head, no soul-crushing commute to work, and everything feels so much more flexible and enjoyable. However, after you spend a couple of weeks working remotely, you start to notice its challenges. What once seemed interesting and exciting is now monotonous, dull, and makes you feel the beginning of a burnout.
Fortunately, this can be avoided by making (and keeping) a couple of firm resolutions during forced social isolation. The following decisions will help you fight against a future burnout and make you more productive as a remote employee.
Resolution #1 – I won’t work outside my WFH space
When it comes to protecting yourself from burnout, the first thing you should do is create a distinct, quiet work area.
A special spot that you will use only for work will stop you from blurring the lines between your personal and professional life. Having a dedicated workspace, which you can walk away from at the end of the day, is of crucial importance.
If you’re a parent, a dedicated home office can be of great help with creating boundaries for children. Let your kids know that it’s not okay to disturb you when you need time to focus.
Resolution #2 – I will set realistic goals and track my progress
The more clearly you can see how much you’ve achieved during the day, the less likely you’ll get to burnout. Setting a physical boundary, which we mentioned above, won’t really help if you’re overwhelmed with work. For that matter, it’s important that you set realistic goals for each of your working days. Having a way to track your progress is just as vital.
Another crucial factor in staying productive is to always tackle the most important tasks first. Prioritize the more difficult assignments and get them out of the way. This is bound to improve your productivity in the long run and prevent future burnouts.
Resolution #3 – I’ll end every day by planning for the next
At the end of each working day, take some time to look over your upcoming (or unfinished) tasks. Jot down 3-5 tasks you’d like to complete the following day.
In this way, once you sit down to work, you’ll have a general idea of what needs to be accomplished first. Also, you won’t be as likely to forget any important assignments.
Besides this, consider adding a couple of rituals to end your day. When performed at key moments, these symbolic actions can assist you in maintaining your habits. Once you’re finished for the day, empty your inbox, take a shower, and change into plush clothes.
Resolution #4 – I’ll be taking regular breaks and make the most out of them
When you’re working in an office, you’re having regular coffee breaks with co-workers. However, that’s not possible when you’re a remote worker. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks, though.
Taking a break is not crucial only for clearing your mind, but also for maintaining productivity. For that matter, determine how many breaks you’ll need to avoid feeling burned out and work accordingly.
For example, you could take 5-minute breaks before moving onto the next assignment. Or, you could take a longer break every 2 hours. Make the most out of them. Instead of spending that precious time on social media, go take a walk.
Taking a day off here and there is just as important. Get your hiking gear and spend a day outside the city with friends. This will refresh you, prepare you for the upcoming workdays, and put you as far away from burnout as possible.
Resolution #5 – I won’t be checking emails outside working hours
To avoid future burnouts, stop checking emails when you’re not working. Tell others why you’re doing this. Otherwise, you’ll never stick to your schedule. Keep in mind that you do have control over when you’re available.
Every day, billions of business emails are sent everywhere around the world. Many of these are sent outside of work hours. Those beholden to their inboxes at all times are bound to suffer from burnout eventually.
In many cases, this typically comes down to communication expectations. For that matter, talk to your teammates about when you will and when you won’t respond to messages.
Resolution #6 – I will learn to say no when I’m overwhelmed
Finally, learning to say no when you have too much on your plate is crucial to avoiding burnout.
When you’re a telecommuter, it can be far more challenging for the boss to see that you’re overwhelmed. That’s precisely why it is vital to speak up when you have too much going on.
Something like “Sorry, but I don’t think I’ll manage to complete that today” can help the employer manage his or her expectations and adjust your workload.
In this time of uncertainty, your physical and mental health should be your first priority.
Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last, but there’s a good chance many of us will be working remotely longer than we want. With these lockdown resolutions, you’ll successfully keep the burnout at bay – both now and in the future.
About the author: Michael Deane has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle and on Twitter.
When not blogging (or working), Michael can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.