I love working from home. As a fully committed introvert, this work arrangement suits me just fine. However, even I, a person just shy of full out hermit status, get burned out from time to time. I am a freelance writer which means as long as I have internet I’m in business. It also means lots of deadlines, some of them pretty crazy as well as delving into a project and getting so wrapped up in it I just lose myself. It’s great to be able to work wherever you are, but it is important to maintain a good work life balance to avoid homebased work burnout.There are many different reasons that a person may burn out at work. Work at home burnout can be a little different but actually not all that much. Just like a regular job, factors like work overload and breakdown of community are huge contributors. Working from home can be isolating and it can be difficult to regulate work in order to avoid overload.
I have been working from home in my RV for several years and have figured out a thing or to that I can pass on to others. I’ve pulled together my top 7 tips for avoiding burnout while working from home. They just might help you.
Do you work on the road? How do you prevent burnout?
- Identify your most productive time of day. My work day starts at around 4 am, but I’m a morning person and that is what works for me. Decide what time you are most productive; when does your brain work best? Your best productivity time may not be the same as your favorite time of day, so take time to really consider it. Once you figure that out just structure your work schedule around that time as much as possible. It makes things a whole lot easier.
- Get enough sleep. Most people don’t get enough sleep. Experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night with a good portion of that time prior to midnight. You need good sleep for overall health and wellness, but it is also essential for optimal cognitive function. Your brain needs the rest. Set a time for going to bed each night and establish a good bedtime ritual that will help you drift off into a peaceful slumber, allowing you to wake refreshed and alert the next day.
- Don’t skip meals and eat healthy. Eating healthy keeps your brain and body working as they should. When you are hungry it is difficult to concentrate and when you eat junk you don’t get the nutrition you need for energy, a strong immune system, and proper brain function. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. My husband and I seek out organic foods and meat that is antibiotic and steroid free as well as humanely raised. We also avoid processed foods. We have found that we both feel better and work better.
- Exercise regularly. Working at home makes it easier to schedule things like exercise, but too many people don’t take advantage of that. However, exercise is absolutely vital for good health, both physically and mentally. Even if you have to schedule it, do it. I belong to a gym and try to go every day. That isn’t really enough though. Doctors warn against sitting for extended periods. You should get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so. Set an alarm if you have to, but get up and move. Walk the dog, go make the bed, walk a lap around the campground, just move.
- Take time to goof off. All work and no play not only makes you dull, it makes you depressed, overwhelmed, and burned out. Working in your RV provides some tremendous advantages for goofing off. If you don’t want to go outside, do something on your computer. Play a game, get on Facebook, do something that lets you relax, that doesn’t require serious thought. While work is important, play is equally important.
- Create your own reward system. When you work from home you don’t always get the feedback, employee incentives, or rewards that people who work outside the home often enjoy. Sure, sitting in your RV working wherever the road takes you is a reward in and of itself, but sometimes you just need a little more. Create your own reward system. Set small goals then reward yourself when you meet them. For instance, I will set a goal to finish one or two articles with a reward of going to the thrift store or reading for an hour. It definitely helps.
- Take time for the other humans in your life – in real time. As humans we are hardwired to not only want but need to connect with other humans. Working in your RV can be isolating. Take time for your family, spouse, kids, and friends – in real time. Sure, social media is fun and a good way to keep in touch with people, but there is nothing like hearing the inflection in a person’s voice and watching their facial expressions. If you can’t be physically with the people you love, call them on the phone. Even writing a letter (the old-fashioned way) can help. The important thing is to make sure that you are making time to foster the relationships in your life.