Working for Home: Prevent Burnout

People who drive into the office everyday often envy the work from home crowd. If you work from home, you don’t have to fight traffic and deal with co-workers stinky meals. You may even work in your pajamas if the mood strikes.

The grass is always greener right. But the truth is, people who work from home have their own list of issues to deal with. The main one being that it’s hard for them to stop working. When your work place is also where you rest, it can be difficult to transition. It’s not unusual that these people start working and then 11 hours later find that they are still working.

Fortunately, work-from-homers can take steps to better their work/life balance and retain their sanity.

  1. Set up a time for your “close of business”: Be sure you set a time to end work. No matter what that looks like for you. It could be a regular 9am to 5pm, or 12pm to 8pm. Just make sure that you stick to it and shut your computer off when your day ends.
  2. Do something for yourself: When your day ends, be sure to do something for yourself. It doesn’t have to be much. Watch a TV show, exercise, or read something non-work related. This habit will help you no matter when you have set your workday to end. This can be something simple: Maybe you want to take it easy on the couch and stream a few episodes of your favorite sitcom. Or it can be a bigger deal, such as a dinner date with a friend or a trip to the movies. Getting a mental break will help get you mentally out of your work.
  3. Leave the house: When you work from home it is easy to end up spending the majority of your time there. You look up, see it’s the end of the week, and realize that the only time you’ve left your house was to run to the grocery store when you ran out of cereal. Don’t become a work-from-home shut-in. It’s simply not healthy.

Overwork leads to stress. Whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field, the key to holding onto your sanity is to reserve non-work time for yourself. But what if you can’t force yourself to shut off the workday? Then it might be time to consider returning to the office, where there’s always someone around to shut off the lights and chase you out of your cubicle.

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