Are you at Breaking Point? Working from Home Stress Warning Signs
We have all followed different paths, but if you are reading this, you work from home. You might work as an employee, run your own business, or maybe a hybrid of the two, but whatever your working status, working from home can result in burnout if you don’t heed the signs.
Working from home can be a wonderful journey but reaching a place of equilibrium doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t stay in place without the right nurturing and when the balance tips you can find yourself working beyond capacity and stressed beyond comprehension with no one else to depend on. Here are some telltale signs that you may be starting to lose your grip on your work/life balance.
Your working hours are now 24/7
Working from home opens the door to setting your own schedule – a key reason why many start their own business. Maybe you have young children to care for… or like to go for a 2-hour run at 10am to clear your head. Whatever your why is for wanting your own schedule, you have to fight to keep it.
When the work starts to pour in and there is no one sending you home at the end of the night, it can be hard to disconnect. It is all too easy to work till 9pm, treat weekend days as workdays or be checking emails in bed.
Is this you?
If you can’t disconnect from your work and make space for hours that are truly “no work allowed” then you are headed for burnout, fast. In the short term, it may seem like you should accept all work and that everything must be prioritized… but the reality is that the work will continue to flow and if you haven’t cared for yourself, you may not be in a position to take it.
If you can’t remember the last time you truly took a day off, this is a definite warning bell that needs attended too.
You just can’t say no…
Again, this is a common error when you are new to working from home, but it is not sustainable and will lead to dissatisfaction and may overwhelm you. I’m talking about saying yes to every piece of work that is available. Yes, you want to grow your business and yes, every dollar counts when you are self-employed, but the inability to refuse work will only spell disaster.
Is this you?
You may be taking on work from existing clients that just doesn’t fit your niche or your schedule because you don’t want to disappoint them, but it will lead to lacklustre work and additional stress because it isn’t where your heart lies. Your client will understand if you say it isn’t a good fit, and it won’t mean losing them unless they weren’t worth holding onto to begin with.
New clients can be the most problematic. We have no safety net when we work from home so the temptation to say yes to working with everybody is high. But not everyone is right for your business! When you started your business, you should have spent time picturing your ideal client, breaking down what works for you and what doesn’t. If you accept work from someone whose ethos doesn’t align with yours, or who doesn’t respect you, you are reducing the value of your brand and your self-esteem (one of our most precious resources) will take the hit.
Stand up for yourself and your brand and only say yes when it works for you. Failure to heed this warning will cause emotional and reputational damage, which is simply not worth it.
You can’t keep track of it all
When a business is fresh, it can be easy to keep track of all the to-dos and deadlines without putting processes, automation, or delegation into place. But your business doesn’t stay in this stage for long and before you know it you are swimming in a sea of paperwork (figuratively or literally), missing appointments and deadlines and constantly stressed that you are forgetting something. This type of mental bombardment means you will never really switch off, whether you are at your desk or not.
Are you waking at 3am remembering things you promised you would do but just slipped your mind? Or trying desperately to remember what the next stage of a project is and when it is due? All of these nagging thoughts take up mental bandwidth that you dearly need, both when you are working and so you can enjoy your downtime.
Is this you?
You may well have Googled for quick fixes to keep track of all these thoughts for you, but every business is different, and every business owner thinks differently. Look at the processes you use, whether you are visual or text-based in your thinking, whether delegation should occur and then find a solution or series of solutions that are tailored to you.
Only when your mind no longer needs to hold all the minutiae of every to do will you be able to disconnect truly when you walk away from your desk. The secret to appearing to be calm and in control is to use the tools available to minimize the mental headaches and keep you on track day in day out.
A Helping Hand
If you are suffering from mental burnout, losing track of your to-dos or just cannot convince yourself to step away from your emails, you have come to the right place. We are business owners, just like you, who have been there, done that and automated and organized our way out of it!
Don’t struggle alone; there is a better way. If you are ready to start taking control of your business and getting some balance back in your life, sign up for the Work-Life Equalizer, our online course that will help you reduce stress and achieve the work-life harmony you crave.
Impaxly – Don’t wait for change. Create it.