• Working from home blends work and personal time
  • Working into the evenings leads to overwork and burnout
  • Set boundaries and be disciplined about work
The emails keep coming in.

You’re still cranking on the presentation.

The web meeting goes longer than usual.

More notifications pop up.

The shit just won’t stop.

When you’ve got a million and one things that are clamoring for your attention, you feel like you’re being stretched in just as many directions. It’s like you’re playing the Whack-A-Mole game on your left and right hands at the same time.

Before you know it, it’s already 8pm and you haven’t even thought about dinner yet. And, you’ve got dead butt syndrome from not getting up from your chair in hours.

The constant never-ending flow of work keeps you running on the proverbial treadmill at a pace that you can barely keep up with.

You’re overwhelmed AF and burned out.

This is unsustainable.

Work From Home Burnout Is Real

Despite what some people may think, work from home burnout is a very real thing. The main reason why it happens is that we can’t separate our work life and our home life. It’s all blended together.

In a more traditional work format where you commute to and from an office, you have a clear separation between your two worlds of work and personal life.

When you work from home, that separation doesn’t exist. You don’t have that transitional phase of the evening commute home. And as bad as those stressful commutes are, they do serve as a good mental and physical signal that allows you to disconnect from all the bullshit at work.

When you’re slaving away at your home office desk, it's hard to know when the work day ends and when your own life begins.

Because we live in such an interconnected world, whenever we hear or see any kind of work-related notification, whether it’s on our phone or computer, we feel compelled to read it and/or take action on it, even when it’s after hours.

It’s this feeling of constantly being “on” and connected or in some cases, the expectation from your manager and/or colleagues for you to be “on call” is what makes you feel like you’re under pressure all the fucking time.

When this happens, you can’t think about anything but work, so you keep working which ends up keeping you from doing things that you enjoy and that are relaxing. All of these are critically important for managing work stress and maintaining your mental health.

It creates this self-feeding cycle of endless fatigue. You’re always drained and running on an empty tank. It turns into chronic fatigue. You go to bed exhausted. Wake up exhausted. And during the day, you’re dragging your ass.

When you’re this tired, it's hard to keep momentum when things get fucking hard. You just want to give up.

Preventing & Recovering From Work From Home Burnout

One of the best ways to deal with WFH burnout is to take a solo weekend trip to get away from it all. This can be effective in giving you some much needed time off.

However, depending upon your working conditions, it may not break the chronic cycle of fatigue. You need to be able to change your working patterns to effectively break the cycle. Otherwise, you’ll just fall back into the same burn out situation again.

There isn’t a single magical solution that will make you instantly feel better and change everything overnight to a more ideal set up. But, these items below can help you move in the right direction.

Prioritize Workload With Your Manager

Does your manager know about all the grunt work and tasks that you complete day in and day out?

Do they know about all the fires that you have to put out on a weekly basis?

If not, you need to have a focused conversation with your manager about your workload. Because let’s be honest here, everything can’t be number one.

If they want to be successful, they need to understand that you need to be successful first. Without your support and contributions, shit won’t get done.

The key here is to have weekly one-on-one’s with your manager to agree on what the priorities are and what you’re able to complete in the 8-hour workday. Agree on the top items and the amount of time each one takes.

Then, get in the zone and knock out those tasks with WFH hacks to get shit done.

Set Clear Boundaries 

You’ve gotta set and communicate clear boundaries not only with yourself but also with your manager and your coworkers.

You need to set the tone.

When you respond to texts, emails, chats, etc during off hours, you’re essentially telling everyone that it’s okay to hit you up anytime. You gotta stop this bullshit. Otherwise, people will abuse your availability and it will ruin your personal time.

Next, you also need to set clear boundaries for your workload.

This is a delicate balancing act of taking leadership of tasks that fall under your responsibilities and those that are shared responsibilities. You gotta make smart decisions here.

For anything that isn’t directly part of your job assignment, you need to say no to those requests or at the very least, deflect them to your manager to reject them for you. Be careful here because there may be some office politics at play here.

Do A Fake Home Commute

This is a great way to get that transitional phase back into your WFH day. What’s even better is that you don’t have to deal with asshole drivers on your normal traffic-heavy commuting routes.

At the end of your WFH day, go through the same routine and do a fake commute.

Save and exit all of your work files. Close your email. Log off from the computer. And, get up from your desk and head out, just like you would if you were in the office.

When you go through the same routine, you’re tricking your mind into thinking that you’re leaving the office. Thus, it makes it easier for your mind to let go of all the work bullshit.

Take a scenic drive through some local roads, maybe even do a few red light meditations or stop by a park and chill out for a bit. While you’re out, you can also pick up some dinner on the way home.

Have An Irrevocable End Of Day Ritual 

Or if driving isn’t your thing, there are other end of day circuit breakers that you can trigger to wipe your mind clean of work.

One of the easiest things to do is simply go for a walk in nature to decompress and shake off the day’s stresses. This academic study from the University of Luxembourg shows that walking in nature has restorative effects and lower cortisol levels.

Seeing any kind of nature will work. Even if you live in an urban environment, you can take a walk to a nearby city park and get the same kind of benefits.

You can also play outside with your kids or pets. This is a great way to spend time with your loved ones while getting off your ass and doing some micro-exercises. We all know that sitting all day isn’t healthy.

Whatever you choose to do as you end of day ritual, it must be irrevocable. It can’t be canceled or moved. It’s locked in every day. Set it as a recurring meeting with yourself so that you stick to it.

Schedule “Me Time” Every Evening

You put in some serious time and dedication to your job and your family. In fact, there have probably been a lot more days where you feel like you’re doing everything for everyone else and not much for yourself.

This has gotta change if you want to stop the WFH burnout cycle.

You need to press pause on life and have some me-time for yourself.

Now, this me-time doesn’t have to be some expensive or elaborate thing. It can be as simple as quiet time for reading, an evening shower meditation, hobby projects, etc.

It’s time that is dedicated to you and you only. It’s for the things that bring you joy, happiness and relaxation. So, don’t deny yourself of this time. It’s important that you are selfish on this.

Get More Sleep Dammit

If there is one thing that all modern working folks lack, it’s sleep.

Blame it on modern conveniences like electricity and the internet. We can stay up for hours wasting time going down rabbit holes on the internet or watching yet another series.

Often, we feel like we are justified in sacrificing our sleep for this. While it feels good to have this during the moment, we all end up paying for it the next day feeling sluggish and falling asleep at our desks.

This study from the National Sleep Foundation has shown that we all need a solid eight hours of sleep each night in order for our brains to function well the next day. But realistically, many of us just can’t get in a full eight hours of sleep for one reason or another.

If you can’t get eight hours, you need to take a strong stand with yourself and get at least seven hours of sleep.

Sleep is a core fundamental part of our health. It’s important that you get enough sleep to allow your mind and body to recover.

Ban Work From Home Burn Out & Be Happy

We don’t have to tell you that work from home burnout is real. You’re probably going through it now and struggling with how to break out of this cycle.

The good news is that this isn’t some insurmountable thing.

The key to getting relief from burnout is to have the discipline about what to work on, how much to work and the ability to disconnect every day when the day ends.

When you come to terms with the fact that you can’t do everything all the time and that work will always be there tomorrow, it’ll get easier to let go and start getting more balance in your life.

Do the best you can and then, when it’s time, check out of work and take care of yourself.

Feel Better,

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