Access to work communications around the clock is affecting the quality of focus and concentration. No longer do we leave the office and switch off from work until we arrive the next day.
Email on your smartphone and chat apps have made it near impossible to ignore ongoing work-related comms. Statista says most people check their phones within five minutes of going to sleep.
Remote working and using video conferencing and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and many more have made working away from the workplace viable and straightforward. More so when you’ve got free access to the company intranet via cloud sharing devices so before you know it, you are working more while sleeping, exercising, and socializing less.
For example, with 24 hours in a day if you work ten hours, you need to squeeze everything else into just fourteen hours, so where do you compromise? Is it sleep, or time with family and friends or something else, like exercise. Overworking and communication overload may lead to a full-blown burnout or an illness!
In this article, we consider how you can take back the control to stay on top of your work responsibilities and get time to rest and restore your mental and physical health.
When your to-do list grows too lengthy to accomplish in an honest day’s work, sleep is often the first thing to be sacrificed.
Health professionals recommend that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and tout numerous benefits for doing so. Yet, Gallup reports that 40% of Americans admit they regularly sleep less than that.
Proper sleep will not only make you more alert to bring your A-game at work; science has linked to numerous health benefits ranging from boosted immunity to a higher metabolism.
Get Up and Move
One of the first things experts recommend to avoid burnout is to stay active. Obviously, in an ideal world, every person wakes up and does an hour of yoga before work and trains for their triathlon after.
Odds are, you (like most of us) don’t have time for that! Shoot for 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 days a week. If that sounds daunting to you, start small!
Get up and take a walk on your breaks, buy a yoga ball topper or a foot pedal for your desk, maybe even sneak in a few yoga moves between meetings. Your body and work performance will both reap the benefits.
Unplug From Your Devices
We’ve all done it; we stare at a computer screen all day, yet, we get a free minute at work, we check social media. We watch YouTube videos on our lunch break. We check game scores during family dinner. Then we wind down in front of Netflix before bed.
Continually being plugged into a stream of entertainment and information can cause problems.
For example, research at the National Library of Medicine found that just 2 hours of social media use a day could contribute to depression and low self-esteem. Add in a stream of discouraging news articles, bombardments of pop-up ads, and comment sections packed with miles of bickering strangers, it’s no wonder technology is contributing to your burnout.
Take a break and spend a screen-free evening once a week. Read books, play games, cook a fancy dinner, reorganize your kitchen, just take one evening to unplug.
Take Up A Relaxing Hobby
These days everyone feels compelled to monetize their passions. The thing about trying to get photography gigs, sell artwork, or play at the local pub, is that you end up turning hobbies that you enjoy into another job.
Leaving no time to enjoy yourself and dedicating your offtime to extra work will set you on a fast track to burnout.
Somewhere there is an activity that you enjoy that relaxes you! It could be watercolor, racquetball, knitting, roller derby, birdwatching, skydiving, even just listening to classical music in a warm bath. The possibilities are practically infinite. Whatever it is, find it, love it, decompress with it, and never try to turn it into a part-time job.
You don’t have to walk outside barefoot and hand-feed wild birds (in fact, for health reasons, we don’t recommend it) to reap the benefits of enjoying nature.
Studies have shown that merely being able to observe nature can have a positive impact on the brain. In one such study, even just having a hospital room with a view of nature significantly improved patients’ recovery time.
So if your office doesn’t have a window, make it a point to go outside and get fresh air whenever possible. If it’s too cold or hot or rainy for your liking, consider taking a drive on your break to change your perspective and clear your head with the power of nature.
Say No When You Need To
One surefire way to wear yourself out is by taking on every project that’s asked of you. Remember that there is no shame in a polite but firm “no” when you need it! Don’t let pressure from yourself or others fill your plate so full that things start to spill over.
Limit yourself to nailing a few projects, rather than settling for mediocre performance in several tasks. Doing so will not only make you feel good about your performance and keep stress at a minimum but will also make it easier to avoid taking projects and extra stress home with you.