By Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
When presented with working from anywhere, many business owners and employees think about the time they’ll save commuting to their home office rather than a workplace, or that they can take care of at-home tasks throughout the day to ensure productivity on both a personal and professional scale. However, working from home presents similar challenges to working at your office in the sense that burnout is prevalent in either scenario. The ability to set boundaries for yourself and your business is crucial when working from home (or anywhere out of a structured office/workplace for that matter) as studies indicate “69% of workers are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home”. [CNBC]
Burnout can be caused by many things like working too many hours behind a screen, doing too many things at once, lack of social interaction or just feeling like you’re on an island with only you to motivate and inspire yourself. This goes double for you small business owners out there trying to do it all by yourself. Let’s find a few ways to help us feel refreshed and invigorated – not stressed or burned out.
1. Problem: Unable to disconnect from work.
As a business owner, you’ve likely made the decision to give it your all and grind until you’ve reached your goals. But those who have taken similar paths have learned that you need to take care of yourself and nurture your well-being. Whether you’re working in your home office or at your physical place of work, it can be hard to disconnect from your work or business because you haven’t established a plan or mentality to step away from work, even for just five minutes.
This is where setting boundaries comes in. If you create a space dedicated to your work, you’re moving in the right direction as your physical environment can help associate what part of the day you’re in. But it goes beyond your physical space. What have you done to train yourself to disconnect wherever you are working from?
Solution: Create balance with the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique works for you in two ways that can both help with your productivity and prevent burnout. It might seem a bit unorthodox, but this time management system is designed in a way where you are “working with the time you have – rather than against it”.
Break your workday into 25-minute intervals separated by a five minute break. And then after four of these intervals (also known as pomodoros), you take a 15-20 minute break.
The idea is that when you set yourself to 25-minute chunks of time to do your work, it creates a sense of urgency to get things done, which should ultimately help you avoid distractions that burn minutes, if not hours of productivity in your day. Then the forced five-minute breaks (yes, stand up and walk around) helps mitigate burnout because you’re not staring endlessly at a screen without noticing how much time has gone by.
To help stay on track of a schedule like this, use scheduling and planning tools to keep yourself honest. Put a timer on for every 25 minutes so you know you need to take that break. When trying to build this foundation, consider using a daily planner as well so you can physically schedule these breaks. This should also help with scheduling your work calls around the system.
2. Problem: A lack of inspiration.
Many people have this all-too-common habit of overthinking and getting stressed out as a result from it. Instagram user and blogger @lemmetrythatcom shares this sentiment – see if it sounds familiar to how you’ve felt over the last year.
“Yesterday was an emotionally hard day where I was overthinking EVERYTHING. Was wishing I could beat up coronavirus for messing with our lives.”
Solution: Find ways to motivate yourself.
Her solution? Instead of creating a list of goals like many often do, she created a personalized choice board with sticky notes to not only help her stay on track, but inspire her to do the things that are good for her well-being.
“I decided to not make goals, but make a personalized choice board for myself. Some of these will either make no sense to others or sound ridiculous. But, make your choices ridiculously perfect for you. Notice how one of them says ‘do nothing’.”
Are you someone who needs to remind yourself to do nothing? If you look at this list of personalized choices, you’ll find ways to be good to yourself ranging from “no phone all day” to “solo journaling in an outdoor place” to “make another fun video.”
Self-love is important to avoid burnout – remind yourself how you do that.
3. Problem: Feeling overwhelmed.
Getting overwhelmed is another problem many are facing when working on their business from home. Too many things to do in all aspects of life and everything around you to remind you of that in your workspace. Is your workspace or home a little bit unorganized? In an article called “Why Mess Causes Stress” by Psychology Today:
“Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.”
Solution: Get organized – start small.
De-clutter something. Whether it’s your work desk or the utility drawer in your kitchen. @beyondthesort shares a before and after photo after decluttering their drawer – take a look and see how each photo makes you feel.
Consider starting your de-clutter adventure small. If you try to do it all at once, you may find yourself overwhelmed, now for an entirely different reason. For @methodicalmuses, it was their drawer.
What can you de-clutter (something you experience everyday) that is small but can make an impact in your day-to-day. Is it your desk by using simple organizers or storage bins to keep all of your paper files exactly where they need to be? Or maybe the clutter is in your head and you just need a calendar or planner to organize your thoughts?
If you would like to discover more inspiration on how other business owners are improving productivity within their business, check out our Discover Depot page and if you’d like to be potentially highlighted in an upcoming feature, visit here to learn more about the #DiscoverDepot Ambassador Program.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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