12 months ago if you had told me most of the world would be working from home and we would be forced to stay at home as well I would have said that sounds like heaven! I'm a huge introvert so 12 months ago the thought of working solely at home and being able to relax in the evenings and weekends with no pressure to be out anywhere would have sounded great!
10 months later.... How are you feeling now that you have had 10 months of working from home, the UK like most countries are now in their third lockdown so everything apart from essential shops are closed and you're being forced to stay at home?
I know that I am ready for some social time that doesn't have to be distanced, I'm ready to give my friends a hug but more importantly I know that so many people are ready to go back to normal working hours! One thing I have noticed from speaking to people this year (and not just business owners) is although we are working from home and there is no 2 hour commute sitting in traffic and then an 8-9 hour day at the office. Nearly everyone I have spoken to is working longer hours and their work/life balance is completely OFF balance.
It is so easy being at home to spend that extra hour in bed and then get up and sit straight in front of your computer and start work. Doing this over an extended period of time can have serious consequences to our mental wellbeing though. Thinking back that commute in the morning be it sitting in your car in traffic with the radio on or sitting on the train reading a book or listening to music, it was YOU TIME and time to prepare yourself for the day ahead or start preparing to unwind on the way home.
It is so important that we take that time now to get ourselves prepared for the day ahead even if we are working from home and also to set boundaries of our working hours. It is easy for time to slip away and before you know it you have been sitting in front of your computer for 10 hours!
What is lockdown burnout?
Zoom fatigue is a wide spread saying now, this goes for phone fatigue, working on your own fatigue, trying to manage home schooling, sharing an office with your partner/housemates fatigue and if you're not taking conscious time out to check in with yourself all of this can lead to lockdown burnout. This is where little things that wouldn't normally bother you seem like giant problems and everything starts to feel completely overwhelming and unmanageable and that starts affecting all areas of your life. This can happen to anyone and especially at the moment with all of the added stress and worry of the pandemic.
Below are some tips that you can use that can prevent this from happening and make sure you are taking time out for YOU
MORNING ROUTINE: One thing that has revolutionised my days is having a good morning routine (Robin Sharma's book The 5am Club is amazing as it clearly explains the benefits you receive from having that morning routine and it's written in a way where it's an easy, can't put the book down it's so good read)
For this to work you might have to wake up an hour earlier (I can hear you shouting at me that you don't get enough sleep as it is but please could I ask you, how long do you watch TV for in the evenings? Could you cut an hour of TV and go to bed an hour earlier so that you can wake up an hour earlier?)
All of the people I have found that promote their own sort of version of the morning routine suggest doing things in 20 minute increments however it is completely up to you what works for you, please do make sure you take that full hour in the morning to yourself though.
For example I wake up at 5am, I then prime myself for the day ahead, this includes doing Tony Robbins priming video which I first experienced at Tony Robbins Unleash The Power Within virtual event last year, it's a game changer in the mornings! (The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faTGTgid8Uc)
I then meditate for 10 minutes using music and I sit quietly for another 10 minutes
I then go for a 30-40 minute walk where I listen to motivational audio books while I'm walking or motivational You Tube videos, this completely sets me up for the day ahead.
I don't look at my phone until I'm getting ready to go out for my walk and even then I normally don't check my messages, emails or social media until I am back from my walk and ready to start work. It only takes seeing one email or one message about something that you've got to do to ruin that tranquillity and things can wait for an hour while you have some time to yourself.
IT DOESN'T STOP HERE THOUGH:
Weekly/ Daily Planning: I plan my week and then use that to plan my days. I know this isn't easy for everyone to do as some people's days change on a day to day basis however if you know what tasks you need to get done each week make a list on a Friday evening or a Sunday evening and then break that down into daily tasks and tick them off each day as you complete them. This is a great way to visually see just how much you achieve each day and each week and to also keep you focused on what you need to accomplish each day so you don't find yourself spending hours on Google or social media looking at things thinking you'll get around to everything else later.
Regular Breaks: One thing I have learned over the last 10 months is the importance of taking regular breaks away from the computer.
I try to make sure I get up and go into another room at LEAST every 1-2 hours. I might go and fill my water bottle up or if the sun is shining go and stand in the garden for 5 minutes or if the current lockdown permits go for another walk at lunch time and get some fresh air.
Another thing you can do is sit back and close your eyes for 10 minutes and switch your phone to airplane mode while you do that.
If you are experiencing a slump in the afternoon take a break, don't use that time to check your emails or social media as you're not having a break from your computer so your continuing on the path to burnout. By just having 5 - 10 minutes away from the computer screen it can completely refresh you.
Another trick you can do is put on a song that makes you want to get up and dance and get up and dance around for 5 minutes. I guarantee even if it's the last thing you feel like doing when you first put it on it will completely change your mood and how you feel once you're up and dancing to it!
What do you do to make sure you are taking breaks and taking time out for yourself? I would love to hear about it: firstname.lastname@example.org