Welcome to Day 4 of the 5-day Work From Home Challenge. We’re nearly at the end of the challenge but if you just started today, no worries! You can still do the previous challenges:
… and now that you’re done with the previous three, it’s time to make sure you don’t get burnt out working from home.
“You’re so lucky you work from home! You have a lot of time to work since you don’t have to prepare and commute.”
That’s not true.
People think that just because you work from home, you have all the time in the world since you’re just at home. You can work anytime. That may be partially true but they forgot to mention that you can still get burnt out when you are working from home because you’re still working, thinking and actively doing things.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, you also have other responsibilities outside of work. These responsibilities do not stop when you are working from home. We’re not (just) talking about picking up the groceries and paying bills. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself too (self-care).
At Asian Efficiency we teach the TEA Framework. When you master Time, Energy, and Attention you will be Asian Efficient. When you work from home, you have more time than those who have to commute. What about your energy and attention? After working from home for many years, I’ve discovered that managing your energy is even more important when you’re at home.
It’s All About Energy
When you have the time but not the energy to get things done, you are exhausted. Whether you work in an office or at home, that doesn’t differ. I remember Thanh’s story. One Sunday, he told himself that he will do his taxes. He blocked his entire Sunday just to do his taxes – he had all the time to it. But he didn’t end up getting it done. He lounged around and stayed in bed for a long time and just spent the entire day doing other things except for his taxes. When he was journaling that night, he realized that it wasn’t time that he lacked. He had a whole day for it. What he lacked was energy to do it.
It’s the same thing when you procrastinate. Even when you have made the time and have planned out on what you want to do, when you lack energy, you will procrastinate.
You deplete your energy in several ways:
- lack of sleep or not getting quality sleep
- the food you eat
- inactivity (sedentary lifestyle)
A lot of the things mentioned above, YOU HAVE CONTROL over. But there is something else that you can do to ensure that you always have the energy to finish your tasks every single day.
Take a break.
Taking breaks is important for those working from home. Otherwise, you risk of burning yourself out and getting cabin fever. It’s what people describe as “going crazy” when they first start working from home. They’re not taking breaks!
Several studies prove just how important breaks are. According to a study by Tork, 90% claim that they feel more refreshed and ready to work after their lunch break. Another study of PNAS states that breaks can help prevent decision fatigue especially for roles where you need to make frequent decisions. Psychology Today’s research says that breaks increase creativity AND productivity.
Imagine as if you’re running. Can you run for 8 hours straight at the same pace as when you started and not feel tired at all?
When you drive a car, you can’t go on forever either. You would need to stop at one point to fill up your tank.
You are no different. You use your brain a lot when you are working. It will get tired and if you do not let it recover, you will be exhausted and feel burnt out.
When And How To Take A Break
I used to be very bad at taking breaks. I had to install a Pomodoro timer on my computer so that it will remind me to take a break. These days, I no longer need it, but if you struggle to remember to take breaks, it is a great solution.
Now that you know when to take a break, here’s how to use that break wisely. Scrolling through your Twitter feed is not a good example. You might end up feeling riled up because of something you’ve read. Facebook is another no-no. Stay clear from social media.
Instead, do some energizing activities. Stretch your muscles. Go for a short walk. Do some breathing exercises. Do 10 burpees or even jumping jacks. Sitting for several hours on end is bad for your heart’s health and may even lead to depression. When you move (like stretching), you help supply oxygen to your whole body.
My workspace is on the upper level of our house. When I need to move around, I go downstairs and pet all our dogs and force my love on our cat.
- Take a look at your calendar for tomorrow
- Put two 30-minute breaks (lunch is excluded)
Let us know in the comments once you are done and what are some of the things you will do during your breaks.