The pandemic has forced many of us to adjust to working remotely, which has its benefits, but also comes with its unique obstacles.
One of the most obvious is the lack of physical delineation between personal and professional life, which hinders workers from effectively separating themselves from their work to take time for rest and relaxation.
Here are three ways to set boundaries for yourself and avoid remote work burnout.
Manage your energy
Accidental overworking is a common issue with remote working, but it doesn’t just have to do with managing your working hours—you also have to pay attention to how you work and what you do when.
Designating yourself certain hours for work doesn’t mean that you have to work extremely intensely within those hours. Build your schedule with a mix and match of different types of activities, including breaks, and take note of when you feel the most motivated and energized, and when you start losing steam.
This method is also used in the fitness world, as something called interval training. Interval training involves strong bursts of intense exercise followed by a short period of rest. This allows you to build strength and stamina, but conserves energy and prevents you from over exerting your body.
The idea behind interval training can also be applied to mental tasks as well and will keep you from burning out your mind.
Create workday buffers
Due to the lack of natural boundaries, remote workers often fall into the bad habit of checking their phone or email as soon as they wake up, work all day until dinner, and then bring their work into bed.
The process of getting ready and commuting to work may be considered a nuisance, but it does have the psychological value of opening and closing your workday in a tangible way. To replicate this in a virtual working environment, try to commit to a personal morning routine that you practice every day rather than diving into work emails and tasks.
Whether it’s going for a walk or a jog, reading for pleasure, or preparing and enjoying a delicious breakfast, a morning routine will help you start the workday with a clear mind. The same goes for the end of the day. Even if you don’t have a commute, try to establish a routine for after work so that you can allow yourself to experience a mental transition.
Protect your bedroom
Your bedroom should be your relaxation station. Try not to bring screens into the room, even if you think you’re just going to leisurely binge-watch your favorite television programs. The temptation to check and answer work emails is too much and doing that before you sleep is probably going to make you feel less alert and more drained the next day.
Learning how to best manage remote work will take time and practice, but by employing the right strategies, working from home can help you reach a state of fulfillment, productivity, and happiness.