Those warm, vibrant summer months have been replaced with the brisk chill of autumn. That means shorter daylight hours, cloudier weather and frostier temperatures as winter is almost round the corner. You might also notice a dip in workplace motivation or even performance along with this seasonal shift. And it’s not just your imagination.
The global pivot to hybrid work has given many professionals the flexibility to choose their own schedule, location, and format when they work remotely. However, despite WFH being such an in-demand perk, work burnout levels are continually on the rise.
The weather isn’t the only thing that changes with the season. Your mental health and mood also fluctuate in response to this cycle. As the warmth of summer fades into the chill of autumn, you might start to notice an uptick in stress levels. It’s not your imagination, it’s autumn anxiety. After all, this is a hectic, fast-paced time of year.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become more and more widespread. According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work survey, at the beginning of this year, 62 percent of full-time employees in US worked remotely to some degree. By now, more than 65 percent are mostly working from home. And the already fragile work-life balance is once again under great pressure. Therefore, avoiding burnout and caring for the mental health of their employees have become paramount for companies from all over the world.
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.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult in today’s culture that celebrates being always on. In fact, 94 percent of 1,000 professionals surveyed by the Harvard Business Review said they put in 50 or more hours a week at work. What’s more, nearly half that group clocked in more than 65 hours a week.
In today’s always on workplace culture, where employees are rewarded and oftentimes expected to work long hours and communicate continuously, balance can be hard to find. In fact, more and more people are prioritizing work over their personal lives, tipping the scales toward burnout and stress.
Prioritizing your work life might not seem very easy, when everything you have to do feels important. Taking things as they come, without having a strategy, usually throws you into chaos, where you running a race against time day after day. Eventually, this continuous fight is likely to lead to burnout and dramatically affect your life.
Here are 7 “safety measures” that will hopefully help you fight the chaos and reclaim your productivity.
1. State your core values
Write down the most important things in your life – those that you wouldn’t give up for anything, no matter what.
A simple way to do that is by designing a chart of the most important areas of your life:
Next, you should write down your top three priorities for each area.
Once you do that, make sure to invest 80% of your time and most of your efforts into accomplishing the items on your chart. The rest of the time should be allocated to completing other tasks that need to be done.
2. Organize your schedule to reflect your values
Simple and intuitive, your schedule should be focused around your non-negotiable core values.
The amount of time you assign to each of your tasks reflects your true priorities. Very often people dedicate more time to less important tasks, losing sight of what truly matters. Avoid taking on menial tasks and learn to delegate those assignments that don’t necessarily require your expertise.
3. Schedule each day efficiently
One of the easiest strategies for efficient scheduling is the 1-3-5 method. This means that your daily schedule will feature one very important task; three tasks of medium importance; and five little things.
Filling your calendar chaotically usually leads to unbalanced situations when you have accomplished tens of small things, leaving to the end of the week the most important tasks. That will make you frustrated and unhappy, putting you in situations when you have to give up on some areas of your life for the sake of the others. Usually, you end up sacrificing personal life in favor of your work. Yet, achieving a healthy work-life balance is the only way to live a happy and fulfilled life.
4. Identify urgent tasks
I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent. – Eisenhower
Eisenhower inspired productivity experts to create what is called The Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing tasks. The matrix uses the urgency and importance values to make your work life easier, as shown below.
“Be more productive” is the work chant of the decade. And it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The future is every bit about boosting productivity. Meanwhile, today has its own challenges. And it’s tougher than ever to stay ahead. Especially considering how quickly things change.
And these things are all related to technology. Indeed, tech has revolutionized the workplace. Granted, the past few decades have brought forth significant change. But we mean disruptive tech. Only two decades ago email on a mobile phone was a stretch. Tech is key, and it’s been transforming the workplace. But the constant is people. And people, unfortunately, can fall behind only to find themselves on the brink of burnout.
Besides, we might have reached an odd plateau. When compared to people, tech is no longer as disruptive as it used to be. At least, not when it comes to tech helping us be more productive. Because at the end the day, it’s the individual that deals with all the challenges. The constant here is the end-user. There’s only so much we can do in a day.