11 Tips to Avoid Work from Home Burnout

Working from home doesn’t have to be exhausting! To avoid burnout and unblur the line between home and work, you can go for a walk, reward yourself, take weekends off, and so much more.

We’re going to get into everything right now!

#1 Go For a Walk

So, many writers have been inspired by the outdoors. And even if writing isn’t a part of your job, getting out into nature can boost your creativity and enhance your productivity.

Of course, there are also physical benefits that come from taking a walk. Going outside breaks up your otherwise mundane workday and gives you something to look forward to.

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t take your phone with you but we know that can be super tough (especially if you have children who might need you). But if you can, leave all things digital at home. Everything can wait until you get back. For those of you who have to be back in time for a meeting, just wear a watch!

#2 Use The Pomodoro Method

We’re huge fans of the Pomodoro method to working (and studying, but that’s irrelevant right now). Our entire workday is set up with this technique in mind and we think you’ll benefit from it too.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Grab a timer. You can use the one on your phone but technically you’re supposed to use a sand or egg timer. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, we use our phone too!
  2. Set it to 50 minutes. This is our preferred work time. However, some people set it for 20 or even 10 minutes.
  3. Then, work for 50 minutes with 0 distractions. Make sure your phone is out of reach and you’re focused solely on work.
  4. Once the timer sounds, set it for 10 minutes.
  5. This is your break time! Do whatever you want for 10 minutes. Go for a walk, make a cup of tea, do some stretches, anything!
  6. Once the timer sounds, sit back at your desk and repeat the process.

#3 Use a Rewards System

Without a doubt, the best way to avoid burnout and improve productivity is to reward useful consistently. The trick is to make the reward something you really want. Whether it’s cooking, doing a bit of body combat, or getting takeout from your favorite restaurant, reward yourself.

Some people find that weekly rewards work well, while others prefer to reward themselves daily. It’s all up to you! Make sure the rewards and frequency of the rewards work for you, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

If you’re stuck for targets, try some of these:

  • When I meet my weekly sales goal, I’ll buy myself a pizza.
  • When I finish this project and hit the deadline for it, I’ll spend an hour or so watching my favorite TV show.

#4 Prioritize Your Most Important Work

You need to make sure you’re prioritizing important work over “busy” work.

We’ve all had that “I need to seem like I’m being productive” when working from home. But this generally leads to you focusing your efforts on tasks that aren’t as urgent. So, prioritizing is a must. Otherwise, you’re going to burn out over menial activities.

Working all the time is not the answer. Those who feel like they are on the go 24/7 are far more at risk of burnout. To combat this, carve out time that is just for work. Make sure no distractions or multi-tasking are going on. This is time for focused work only (think back to the Pomodoro method).

After all, most of us are only productive for around 3 hours a day so we’ve got to use each of them to our advantage!

#5 Set Aside Time to Cook

Okay, this is a pretty weird one! And by no means is it going to 100% protect you from that ever-present risk of burnout. But, it certainly will decrease the likelihood of you suffering.

Cooking is relaxing and therapeutic. Yes, even if you’re just learning the ropes. You can use it as a creative (and positive) outlet for work stressors that would otherwise keep you up at night.

Thanks to the internet, you can get tons of delicious recipes from famous chefs and artisan bakers with only a quick Google search. Most of these are designed to be beginner-friendly so you can switch off your brain and get your hands dirty (in the tastiest way possible!).

Top tip: If you hate cooking with a passion, just set aside time to rustle up a quick smoothie. Even that can be enough to reduce burn out!

#6 Take Weekends Off!

Working from home can be a real slog. Especially when you find that the mental and physical lines between life and work are well and truly blurred. However, there are ways to change this.

Always take weekends off. Do anything and everything to finish all your work-related tasks during the week (Monday to Friday). We know that freelancers can sometimes struggle with hitting those pesky Sunday deadlines. So, if you need a bit of extra weekend time here, that’s fine. But other than that, do not take your work into the weekend with you.

If you keep finding yourself answering work emails on a Saturday or Sunday, you’re putting yourself in a position where clients expect you to always work on weekends. This cycle needs to be broken as you’ll only end up sick — and we really don’t want to see that happen!

#7 Work Out Every Single Day

Let’s be real, working from home can make you feel pretty sluggish. Then, you look at your step count and realize it’s below 500 and you think “why bother?”. Well, you should bother (even though it’ll be hard to begin with).

Exercising every single day allows your body to do more than just sit in your desk chair, attend Zoom meetings, and occasionally shout at your significant other to get the chicken out of the freezer. It gets your body moving, your blood pumping, and your mind relaxing. 

Don’t just do any exercise though. Try to find something that you really enjoy. Whether it’s a simple walk in the park, lifting weights, or going for a hardcore run, make it fun for you.

#8 Think About Whether It Can Wait Until Tomorrow

Everyone who works from home has done it — working on projects just before you get into bed or after you’ve eaten your dinner.

We won’t lie, it’s a great work ethic. However, you will burn out (sadly).

Think about whether you need to work on it right now. Nine times out of ten, the answer is “this can wait until tomorrow”. If that’s the case, just do something enjoyable instead. Watch your favorite TV show. Turn on Netflix. Do a craft project. Take a walk. Spend time with your family. Do fun activities with your time after work hours!

#9 Enjoy Your Flexibility

With all the potentially detrimental things that come with working from home, there is one fantastic aspect — you have a more flexible schedule. You should absolutely take advantage of this (you’ll end up regretting it if you don’t!).

Having said this, unless you’re working for yourself, you will have to stick to a work schedule. However, you don’t need to be too strict and rigid with it. Every so often, meet with your friends for an afternoon tea or go out with your significant other for a coffee. After all, you need to enjoy your life — and that includes your workday too.

We guess what we’re trying to say is don’t unnecessarily pile on the pressure. You’re allowed to set your own schedule and deliver things at your own pace (within reason). Go with the flow and don’t place too much weight on minor things. It’ll help you stay clear-minded.

#10 Communicate With Your Colleagues

If you’re used to an office environment, being in an isolated home-office space all day can be tough. It’s important to remember that just because you’re working remotely, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop talking to everyone.

Set up video or phone calls each working day for you to stay in touch with everyone who would usually be around you. You’ll be talking about work mainly but don’t be afraid to add in some chat about general life stuff and make some jokes. This way, you’ll have lots of human contact and won’t burn out from being alone with just your computer screen for company.

#11 Make Sure You Have a Dedicated At-Home Workspace

Technically, you could work from your bed or couch all day. But, the best thing to do is to put together a dedicated home office space so you can keep up professional appearances — even though your boss can’t see you!

Not to mention that this can help you to “unblur” the line between work and personal life. Your family will know that when you sit at your desk space, you’re at work and shouldn’t be disturbed. This will also help to increase your productivity.