There are plenty of pros in working from home. I can take my time getting ready in the morning because I don’t have to beat the 7-9 am traffic, meaning I can sit and enjoy my morning tea and actually take my dogs for a walk instead of letting them outside for five minutes and rushing their time to smell the grass and find the perfect poop spot (again, sorry Maxx and Roxx). It also means that I don’t have to put on makeup (or even get dressed some days). Although these are major perks, there are some almost equally annoying cons to working from home.
Working from home makes it hard to turn off. In this age of digital everything, it’s already hard to separate my online life and conversations from my physical life and conversations. To make matters tougher, working from home is sometimes confusing because it’s hard for my brain to switch between work mode and leisure mode. Way too often I’ll find myself planning IG posts or brainstorming about new blog ideas while I’m supposed to be binge-watching Parks & Recs for the 100th time to relax.
This usually leads to exhaustion, which leads to me having to force myself to take a day or even two from doing anything because I’m so low on brain power that my body just wants to sit still. I know, it’s irresponsible to let yourself get to that point, but it happens to the best of us, particularly millennials. A good resource explaining why is the Buzzfeed article, How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation.
It explains that millennials were taught that good grades and a ton of education will get you everywhere, but when millennials have completed school they realize that good grades and a ton of education don’t always land you the best job. In a way, millennials were kind of trained to be hustlers and grinders and it’s hard for many of us to feel satisfied with our work. I’m not one to generalize people by age groups or any other identifiers, but this article helped me to realize that I was taught to push harder and seek approval. Perhaps we’re all stuck in this seemingly neverending race against…no one.
Anyway, here are five things I do when I feel burnout creeping up on me.
1. Put on some background noise.
I tend to sit in silence. I’m always so preoccupied with coming up with my next project that I don’t think about making my work environment comfortable and welcoming (even though I’m the only one who ever sees it). I hadn’t realized just how uncomfortable my environment was and the impact it was having on me until my mom stopped by one day and said “Geesh. Turn on some music or something.”
I turned on my Spotify starred playlist and lit a candle and almost immediately felt like I was in an entirely different space. I always complain when I go into stores and they don’t play music (or play annoying music) or the lighting is unsettling. Why didn’t I think to do it for myself!?
2. Understand that things are probably never going to be perfect if you share your space with someone else.
I used to live in my own apartment and things were always the way I wanted them. Everything had its place and my home was decorated just the way I wanted. I no longer have my own space and while that comes with many pros like companionship and someone to help out with the cooking, it also has its cons, especially since I now work from home.
Sometimes the dishes aren’t done and there are random socks throughout the living room and staircase (house-elves would LOVE my apartment). I had to learn to work around the mess or I’d drive myself to exhaustion trying to clean everything before I actually started my work.
3. Change up your scenery.
A change of scenery will open space for new energy and ideas. I’ve never been a fan of being at home all day. I have to get out and do something most days. Sometimes I’ll just take a quick trip to Target or a bookstore to clear my mind, see fresh faces and regroup. I’ve also found that working in a coffee shop or library keeps things interesting for me.
At least once a week I’ll have photos prepared for my blog and Instagram as well as have a few videos recorded and ready for editing so that I can pack up my laptop and head to a new office space for the day. Working from home can also be lonely, so getting out and working in a public space helps to give that feeling of having a team and being social. Sometimes I even have brief conversations with passersby.
4. Schedule Free Time
It’s so important to take at least a bit of time each day to just relax. I take a minimum of 15 minutes every day but I also like to designate one day each week where I’m not doing anything associated with my blog or YouTube channel. It can be challenging, but it’s worth it. I usually treat this day as a time to hang out at the beach or park with my dogs. Hanging out with them distracts me from just about everything else. ♥️
5. Remember that every project will not grant you instant gratification.
This is also related to the Buzzfeed article that I referenced earlier (seriously, go read it). Some projects last longer than others. As a beginner blogger, I sometimes think that I’ve completed a task and then I discover a better way that I could have done it and feel defeated and frustrated. Everything is a learning process, so it’s easier to accept that and learn to have fun and roll with the punches, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. You aren’t going to always get instant gratification from your work and that’s okay. Take it easy.