I’m a little mad at myself for having to post this. But transparency is the game and 2020 has changed the rules.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve worked really hard to find a good balance to the number of hours I was spending on my priorities vs work priorities. Sometimes they were the same, many times they are not. I finally felt like I unlocked some achievement level and that this was no longer a focus area of improvement. 2020 had a different idea.
What am I experiencing?
- Finding myself taking on extra projects because now that I’m not traveling, I should have more time
- Finding myself willing to work longer hours because there is nothing else to do (quarantining still in my house)
- Finding myself justifying longer hours with work items because I got a long workout in during the middle of the day
- Finding myself wanting to take advantage of all the “time” to do the various projects that I’ve been putting off for years
- Finding myself wanting to work to avoid home improvement projects (I really should clean out our basement storage)
There is more but you get the picture. This has resulted in me ultimately working a significant number of hours. I’m even mostly content about what I’m working on and enjoying the time but the pure excess of the hours is wearing on me. To give an example (and to be honest with myself) – In a common week: client work (often training or coaching), exploring co-authoring a book, organizing racial equity events for various groups, admin/operations/marketing of courses, speaking at virtual conferences, helping others on their journey (CST, etc), board of director activities, agile for all activities, etc. Ok, I’m overwhelmed and haven’t even hit everything yet.
So I’ve had to do a few things to adjust or I run the real risk of burning out:
- Increase exercise (personally, challenges help keep me focused – you know how I like a good checkmark on a list)
- Increase walks (nightly taking walks with family members)
- Increase personal zoom contacts (feel guilty asking people to give up their time but I need to get over that)
- Find a summer project/craft. Crochet worked in the winter but it’s too hot for me in the summer. This is a challenge as I’m not very talented in these areas.
- Read beach books too. Reading is an escape for me but my reading has been focused on equity topics which is so important but my brain needs to rest.
- Completely disconnect on days. I’ll admit that I had to start back at just an hour, then a few, then half day, to day. I know – sad. But you really do need to get away from the screen.
- Start saying no. At some point, my extra time is capped. I was very sad to say no to helping organize this event but respecting WIP limits is important. I need something to finish before I take on the next thing.
- Break during the day. If I’m going to do things later, take the break during the day to play a game with the kids or go for a drive, etc. This one is still the hardest for me to make happen. I get into a groove and just keep going.
What have you done to avoid burn out while working from home?