Remote Workers Get Burnt Out, Too

Working from home has afforded me more satisfaction in my day-to-day life; I don’t live for the weekends like I once did in my previous traditional jobs. I have control over my schedule, I work in a comfortable setting, and I can truly balance my life and career. But even with all of the fabulous perks and the ability to live life on my own terms more than ever before, there’s something I’ve been struggling with… And I don’t even feel like I have the right to ‘struggle’ with this thing because I have such an ideal work situation. But I’ve been struggling with burnout.

Now, I know It’s common knowledge in a traditional job that burnout is a real pitfall that just about every worker has fallen into at some point in their careers. I have experienced burnout in a traditional job, and I can certainly say commuting and running around 5 out of the 7 days of the week played a major role in my previous burnout experience. But what about remote workers? Do we get burnt out, too? And if we do, are we allowed to claim it without eye rolls and guilt because we’ve ‘got it made’?

Well, with some research, I discovered that burnout typically affects high-achievers and people with “I can do that, too, even though I’m already overbooked” personalities. And let’s just say that hasn’t changed about me since going remote LOL. But even if you don’t fully identify with those characteristics, you can still get burnt out. So, you have to pay close attention to the signs which include: 

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Increased illness
  • Pessimism
  • Depression and anxiety

… and other not-so-fun things along those lines.

Now, never one to come up with a problem and not a solution, here’s what I’ve identified about my specific burnout sitch and the pIan of action that’s helping me. Perhaps this can help you, too, if you’re also experiencing the same things.

1. Understand that work is work

Regardless if I can work from my couch or a coffee shop, work is still mentally tasking. Therefore, it’s important that I treat it with the same precautions that I’ve been advised about in traditional roles to avoid overworking myself. I’m not going to minimize what I do because I do it in a more convenient setting. Therefore, if I’m tired or want to take a break, I’ll do so without analyzing if I deserve it first.

2. Drawing lines

There has to be a distinction between work mode and at-home mode. I know I blur those lines ALL THE TIME by pausing what I’m doing in the kitchen to send an email and working late into the night. So, I’m not doing that anymore. In fact, I created a new schedule that draws those lines for me, so I don’t even have to think about it. 

3. Taking time off without going on vacation

Admittedly, this was a foreign concept to me. I’ve heard of staycations before but never thought about one for myself. Taking time off from work always meant I was going out of town. But I’m thinking differently about time off from work, and I now understand that it doesn’t always equate to going somewhere. I can take time off to do nothing or anything I want. No excuse needed. It’s important for my mental longevity.

So, if I can wrap all my thoughts into one concise bow, it’s that remote work shares the same woes that we know come with traditional work because it still works. Therefore, it’s possible to get burnt out working remotely and precautions have to be taken to avoid that, so we can have the most out of our online careers.

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