If you work from home, you’ve likely gone through phases of loving and hating it. No commute means you can sleep in, but you also might find yourself still responding to emails at 9 p.m. This is how people burn out, but luckily, we have some simple tips that can help you avoid losing your remote-working mojo.
Working from home can be even more challenging during the summer, especially if you had to postpone that pre-pandemic planned vacation. It’s tough to avoid the inevitable burnout when you’re sitting in front of your computer instead of sipping margaritas by the pool.
If you can try at least a few of these tips, though, you’ll find that, gradually, your focus, energy, and enjoyment will return.
One way to combat burnout is to change your work environment. If possible, work outside and soak up some of that sunny summer vitamin D. If you have a balcony, rooftop, patio, or deck, grab your morning coffee and laptop, and set up a workstation outdoors.
Getting outdoors, even for just an hour or so, can work wonders when it comes to boosting your focus and feeding your motivation. You’ll also get to enjoy the sun for a while and breathe in some fresh air, so you won’t feel like you’re missing the whole summer.
Working outside is pretty easy to do with a laptop, but your neck will inevitably start to ache if you look down at the screen for too long. If you have a balcony, we recommend this handy table you can attach to the railing. It even folds up when you’re not using it, so it won’t take up any of that precious outdoor space.
You can also use a deck or patio table as a desk, but if you don’t have one that will work, an adjustable laptop stand is perfect. Plus, you can use it inside, too, for more comfort when working from the couch.
Another thing you’ll need is something to block the glare on your computer’s screen. If you don’t have a clip-on umbrella or a tree you can use for some shade, you can pick up a laptop shade. Then, you can work outside all day if you want, without even having to squint.
Don’t forget, you can also take your laptop to a local park, beach, or any outdoor setting. Just set up Wi-Fi tethering on your phone and work away!
If you can’t work outside, try rearranging your home office so your desk faces a window. Or, relocate temporarily throughout the day to rooms that have more windows and get more natural light.
Working from home gives you the flexibility to schedule your lunchtime and more convenient (and satisfying) breaks. Instead of just taking a quick lap around an office building, you can grab a quick workout, go get a coffee from your favorite cafe, read a chapter or two of that best-seller, make a nutritious snack, or head to the trails at the park for your walk.
However you choose to spend your lunch and break times, be sure to schedule them frequently so you give your mind and body a chance to recover. This allows you to refuel and stay motivated for the rest of your workday.
When you work from home, it’s important to set up and maintain consistent working hours, or you can easily find yourself working 24/7. Try to maintain a 9 to 5 or similar work schedule every day, even if it’s intermittent.
Setting up clear boundaries will help you separate your job from your personal and social life, and allow you to rest up and return to work with motivation and focus the following morning.
Falling into a pattern of answering late-night emails and early morning Zoom calls is how you start to burn out due to the frustration you’ll feel from working nonstop. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be available every second of every day. So, be sure to make a defined, clear work schedule and stick to it.
On your weekends, holidays, and vacation days, keep your laptop fully closed and definitely don’t check your work email account on your phone. In fact, if you can, turn off all alerts or leave your phone in a drawer for at least part of the day.
The more distance you put between yourself and your work, the more refreshed you’ll feel. You’ll also be more productive when you are working because you’ll be well-rested.
Try to take some time every day to spend with your family and friends, even if it’s virtually. Socializing with others and talking about anything except work will help you forget about it for a while.
Everyone needs some time to laugh, have fun, and let their mind rest from constant work-related issues, like meeting deadlines, responding to emails, and putting out figurative fires. Whether you do it on your lunch break or after your work hours, just make sure you talk to at least one other person each day. And, no, the grocery store clerk doesn’t count.
Even if you take our previous advice and work outside part of the day, another great way to separate your workday from your personal time is to actually leave your workplace at the end of the day. Of course, in this case, your workplace is also your home.
Just as you would if you worked in an office building, get out of your home for a bit at the end of each day. Stepping into a completely different environment can create a sense of freedom and relaxation. Even if you don’t go anywhere specific, just the act of leaving your “office” for the day will trick your mind into thinking it’s time to rest and relax.
Summer is ideal for this, as the days are longer, so you can spend more of your evenings outside. You don’t have to wait until Saturday to switch off your brain and enjoy a glass of wine out on the patio.
In fact, why not get yourself an after-work hammock? Noting quite creates the feel of being on vacation like one of these babies. And if you don’t have anything to attach it to, there are freestanding models, as well.
This will give you something to look forward to every day, and, let’s face it, everyone is far less likely to “check in” with work when they’re in a hammock.
If working from home has become a monotonous drag, you’re now armed with some tips to switch things up. You don’t have to wait until the weekend to enjoy your life. With a little effort and consistency, you’ll soon remember why you love working remotely.