Burnout is an official medical condition(source: WHO) characterized by
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
- Reduced professional efficacy
A study found that
66% remote workers feel burned out
When I started working from home 4 yrs back for Invide, I felt burned out in first 3 months, never after that. Fast forward 4 yrs and I believe work from home brings amazing work-life balance & productivity but only if we avoid these 5 negative behaviors (it's only a simple mind-shift you need to make today)
1. Over-work as a shortcut to meet deadlines
Since college time, I was conditioned to finishing things at the last moment. And those night-outs & overtime were considered to be a badge of honor. Well, if laziness, fear of failure, and lack of planning can be counted as honor, it is definitely a badge of honor.
We all fail meeting deadlines and what is our first response: overwork to avoid the failure. But this doesn't let us improve our planning and before we realize, we end up in the same situation again and then again...
Solution: Plan things within fixed work schedule only. Plan early. Plan for uncertainties. Keep improving your planning skills.
2. Working whenever you feel like, with no fixed timings
Feelings are not rational. When I started noticing my work behavior using Developer Diary, I realized:
On many productive days, I felt unproductive; on many unproductive days, I felt productive.
Depending on feelings to decide your work-time, you end up doing over-work and slowly burning out.
Solution: Fix a schedule and follow it. Learn about your behaviors and adjust accordingly.
3. Not having a clear work-home boundary
Working from the bedroom or sofa seems harmless, right? This leads to seemingly harmless distractions and personal priorities creeping into work and vice versa. It builds up frustration slowly as quality work-time keeps slipping away, eventually missing on goals and creating a series of disappointments.
Solution: Dedicate a separate, private work-space for work free from interference by family members/activities.
4. Answering work communication during non-working hours
Again something that seems harmless and might be something that is triggered by you or your team member. It snatches away your personal time, focus and an opportunity for you to grow.
Solution: Don't respond to work communication in your non-working hrs, unless it is marked emergency. Don't engage in it, don't promote it. This is true for personal communication during working hrs, avoid that too.
5. Undermining importance of communication
The cognitive evolution of humankind was driven by language. We could build great things because we could communicate and collaborate with people effectively, thanks to language. And our communication channels, our languages are still evolving. Each one of us has a scope of improving the communication that can help us get things done faster and reduce our workload.
Solution: Start building a habit of improving communication and being more transparent than earlier to save some headache for yourself. It's a life-long learning process.
This should be good enough to put you in the right mindset needed to enter the trajectory of discovering your humongous potential without burning out. Try it for this week.
Keep learning, keep sharing!