Are you feeling tired, drained and having difficulty concentrating on your work — or have you lost enjoyment for a job you once loved? If so, burnout could be to blame. Stress that comes from persistent overwork can lead to extreme fatigue and loss of interest. And with the additional pressure of work-from-home orders due to COVID-19, you might feel overwhelmed balancing career and family obligations from the comfort (or more accurately, “confinement”) of your home.
Since the pandemic hit, as many as 41 percent of American workers admit they feel burnt out. It seems working from home during a global crisis is triggering stress in people who are otherwise able to cope quite well with their professional and personal lives. Sharon Cahill, channel sales director for INAP noted the chaotic, “always on” nature of the IT industry makes workers in this field especially vulnerable to burnout — even without the added pressure of a pandemic.
So, what can you do if burnout has gotten the better of you?
Balance Your Time
According to Cahill, working from home puts more pressure on already-stressed tech workers. These professionals are missing the support of their in-person connections. Meetings and channel events are now happening from home, eliminating the work-life barrier that once protected them. To ease stress, Cahill suggested carving out time for passion projects. “Take time to shift gears and focus on something that inspires you,” she explained. Time management tools help you stay on track with your personal and professional goals. For example, Passion Planner lets you manage to-do lists and appointments together with a goal-setting guide, journal, sketchbook and gratitude log. If you need help visualizing your goals, try using a digital mind mapping tool, such as MindNode, to turn your ideas into an actionable plan.
Reduce Your Decisions
The average person makes 35,000 decisions a day. Burnout can be accelerated by the decision fatigue you might feel by processing a high volume of conflicting COVID-19 information. Ease your mind by creating routines to reduce the number of choices you make each day. Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg streamline their decisions by wearing the same outfit every day. Start your routine by establishing a dedicated time and place for business hours. Take the guesswork out of meal planning with a downloadable list of five-ingredient dinners complete with shopping lists from Allrecipes. Or, use meal kit services, such as Blue Apron or HelloFresh, to take food shopping off your to-do list.
Focus Your Mind
Cahill says it’s incredibly difficult to leave work “at work,” when your office is also your living room. She recommends taking small breaks throughout your day so you can unplug and recharge. To disconnect from your digital tools, try using apps, such as Forest, designed to help you focus with fewer digital distractions. It lets you plant and grow a digital tree for as long as you stay off your mobile phone. If you need to relax, a mobile app like Calm can reduce your stress with meditation and breathing exercises. Happify lightens your mood by improving your happiness score. And Headspace is a mindfulness app that’s free for a year if you’re unemployed.
You might not be able to control all the things triggering burnout during the pandemic. However, you can restore some calm within the chaos by re-gaining some work-life balance, streamlining your decisions and putting mindfulness at the top of your to-do list.