Today’s big idea is a magical tool to avoid burnout when working from home is to leave the house every day. Even though you don’t have to commute to an office and therefore don’t technically NEED to leave the house.
Listen to the Podcast Here
Here’s why this is such a hot take:
Even if you LOVE working from home, as I do, sometimes you can feel like that scene in Star Wars where you’re stuck in the trash compactor and the walls are closing in on you. Throw in roommates or family members who are in there with you and, yeah, it can get claustrophobic.
But you might not REALIZE that’s why you’re feeling stressed. You might just think it’s your workload. And then you’ll try to tell yourself that you can’t leave the house, because you’ve got to work. Seems rational, but it’s actually counterproductive. Because when you’re feeling penned in and stressed, you’re not going to do great work. Whatever try to do will take you longer than if you actually took the time to leave the premises to avoid burnout.
I don’t care if you just walk around your block, or run an errand, or go pull some weeds in your garden to avoid burnout. When you get outside, you expose yourself to natural light–even if it’s moonlight or starlight, it’s good for you–you get fresh air, you see at least part of the sky, you might have a little interaction with a neighbor or make eye contact with a dog or a baby.
And when you’re out of the house, you physically CAN’T be getting work done at your computer
So your brain gets to chillax a bit.
Research shows that changing your location resets your brain. This is why you walk into a room and forget why you went in there. If you feel you are close to or already experiencing burnout, you need that reset! More importantly, you deserve it. You deserve to feel refreshed and see things with a new perspective.
Also, one of my basic mantras to avoid burnout is, good things happen when you leave the house. We get stimulated by input, and if you never change your environment you’re going to constantly have the same inputs which means it’s going to be harder to experience a spark of an idea. And without sparks, things get DULL. Think about trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together…if you never ever got a spark, would you get burned out on trying to start that fire? Yes you would. That’s essentially what you’re trying to do when you’re forcing yourself to sit at your computer in your house all the livelong day.
I love a mid-day dog walk to just clear the mental slate, help me digest lunch, give me a chance to just go into observant mode.
I understand having a workload so big that it feels like you need to spend every waking moment tending to it, I do. But you are a human being and you also deserve time when you’re not under the gun to be productive.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to make sure you leave the house on your next from home workday to avoid burnout. If that’s something you already do, well, bully for you! Now maybe you can feel less guilty about taking time away from work to do it. And if you often fall in to the trap of staying inside simply because there’s not something–like work–that’s forcing you to leave, give yourself some time off and go outside.
Tomorrow I’m covering how to deal with one of the biggest problems with working from home, which is feeling like you could be–or should be–working all the time. Let’s establish some boundaries, shall we?