Tech is meant to make life easier and happier. For instance, the internet and the cloud have been boons for many Toronto workers and business owners who were worried about sustaining their livelihoods during protracted lockdowns. Thanks to remote working, they maintained their ability to add value to Canada’s economy.
However, digital technology is not all upside — it also brings about one major downside to remote workers: work-from-home burnout. With regard to work in general, burnout is the mental and physical exhaustion a professional suffers because of having to constantly cope with external and internal stressors. An external stressor can be having tight deadlines, while an internal one can be the self-imposed pressure to perform out of gratitude for still having a job.
Beyond exhaustion, burnout comes with intensifying feelings of disdain for the job and/or perception that one’s work does not amount to anything.
Ironically, despite avoiding the stress of commuting to work and remaining in the comfort of our own homes, we can still suffer burnout. One major cause of this is the failure to set boundaries for ourselves. It’s too easy for our home and work lives to spill over into each other and take their toll on our mental health.
Let’s take a closer look at how the lack of boundaries causes work from home burnout — and the ways in which we can address them.
To be efficient with our energy, we need FOCUS
Be it home chores, family activities, or job-related tasks, you need to give your undivided attention to what you’re doing to do it properly. If you’re doing a quick stir-fry for lunch, you can’t let your children pull you away from the stove for too long or else you might burn the food or even start a fire. If you’re having family game night, taking a call from the boss may just draw the ire of your family. And if you’re trying to meet a deadline, it’ll be frustrating if you have to close every window of the house because it suddenly started to rain very hard.
To help you set up healthy boundaries between your work and home life, you need to first establish a dedicated workspace — a Do Not Disturb area that you and your entire family must respect. It is best if you can lock yourself away behind a door, but if that’s not possible, you can create the illusion of spatial boundaries with curtains or tape on the floor.
You’ll also want to set a relatively fixed schedule that limits how much time you spend working. Yes, you have more time to do tasks because you skip your daily commute, but doing a bit of extra work is way different from being on the job all the time.
During the time you allot for work, refrain from doing chores or anything else that is not work-related. Conversely, when it is time to do other things, such as eat lunch, don’t let work distract you from savoring your food. If you’re focused and efficient, you may very well finish work early. If you’re still not done at the end of the day, save your work and set it aside for the following day. However your work day ends, make sure to log off from work communication apps and turn off notifications on your phone. This way, you give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. More importantly, you give yourself time for other things besides your job.
In the same way that you want to ensure that your family gives you the space you need to focus on your job,, you’ll want to set boundaries with your co-workers and manager, too. Share with them your schedule so that they’ll know when you are available and when you are not. Set realistic expectations — don’t make them think that you are available 24/7, because this is one of the easiest ways you can let work drain you.
It is good to gain a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment from your job, but it’s never a good idea to tie your sense of self-worth to them. Self-worth is intrinsic and must never depend on how effective you are at your job, how much you earn, or how many accolades you get.
Otherwise, you’d easily feel devalued when you suffer professional setbacks, or hold yourself in higher regard over others when it appears that you’re getting further ahead in life. Either case may make you put too much pressure on yourself and push you to your breaking point.
By separating self-worth from job performance, you’ll have an easier time recognizing your need for self-care when it arises. You’ll have little to no qualms about treating yourself to things you enjoy, even when your ego says you don’t deserve them.
If you’ve shifted from working in the office to working remotely, you know how much extra time in the day you’ve gained. Use it to take better care of yourself — because you are worth it.
Don’t let digital technology hamper your staff and your business — use it to help you achieve your goals for 2021! With XBASE as your IT partner, you’ll have access to Toronto’s top IT strategists, top-of-the-line IT services, and top-notch IT support. Discover more about our Exponentially Better™ IT services by dropping us a line today.