Daily Spark: Beware of Burnout... Even at Home

May 15, 2020

“Burnout is when long term exhaustion meets diminished interest.” - Unknown

burnoutYou might be aware of or even have experienced burnout before. Maybe you knew it but chances are even that you may have gone through a period of burn out without realizing it. Sometimes the effects can be subtle but feeling down, exhausted, or unmotivated can be tell tale signs.

It is a fallacy to think you can’t burn out working from home. In fact, we would argue you can do it even easier. Lines are blurred when working from home for sustained periods of time or if you were previously not doing it all. It gets more complicated when many others you work with are doing the same and trying to manage schedules and work around video or conference calls. Calls can drop in at odd times. Oblique gaps in time between calls leave little cover for getting actual work done and can get mixed with personal activity.

If you have kids at home, the equation gets more complex as you have to ensure they are managing their education schedule effectively as well in a virtual world. A spouse either also working from home or going about their normal business at home while you try to work adds different layers of emotion and sometimes frustration. “Quitting time” can be a foreign subject. Whereas you could leave an office or plant, now you are already in your home. Can you do that Zoom call at 6 PM due to global timing or how about 5 AM is you are west coast to meet with east coasters?

Not that we didn’t do work such as emails or catching up outside of normal work hours before, but the current situation exacerbates it. It can become very easy to feel like work is creeping into all areas and times of your life. This is can easily bring in burn out if you are not careful. It can be tough through this stretch to stay dialed in and losing interest in work becomes a harsh reality.

Set some boundaries and remember to prioritize - yourself first physically, mentally, and emotionally, and ensure your family needs come first. Then layer the work in. Do this the other way and you will eventually pay for it. Take breaks, go outside and recharge. We are all “batteries” and have only so much to give each day. Preserve and recharge when you can. Don’t waste energy. Try to save the weekends to be work free.

And communicate. Be sure to engage with your family, the people actually in person with you. Being on constant calls and virtual meetings can feel strange after a while and get old. Engage with people, your loved ones every day and talk. Humans need companionship and virtual doesn’t always cut it.

Stay healthy and always improving.

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