How to Avoid Burnout When You Work at Home

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Working at home is the dream of many people, but that dream can quickly become a nightmare when you get burned out. Today, I’m sharing my top tips on how to avoid burnout when you work at home, especially as a mom. Keep reading to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations

The first way to avoid burnout is to set realistic expectations for your business, family, and home-life. As a business owner, it can be easy to fall prey to the get-rich-quick mentality. Many of us, especially moms, started businesses to help provide for our families, which is great, but it can be difficult to have the patience and the persistence to work for it until it pays off. 

Creating one blog post or completing one project is not going to make you a million dollars, no matter how amazing it is. (I mean, have you seen my first blog post?? I should be rolling in it by now! ?) Be consistent in your work, provide quality and value to your customers, and have patience. You’ll (we’ll) get there! 

It’s also important to have realistic expectations for your home. When you work at home, it can be difficult to get all of the home chores done, too. It’s important to take time to work your business, but it’s also important to do your housework and family chores too. This does not mean that your house has to look spotless all the time.

It also doesn’t mean you have to do all of the housework yourself. Yes, your spouse or partner might be working out of the home and making a more reliable salary, but that should not mean that they shouldn’t have to do chores, too. Also, kids can definitely help out with age-appropriate jobs that allow them to develop a good work ethic and successful lifelong skills.

To set realistic expectations for household chores:

  • Have a family meeting.
  • Discuss each person’s expectations for the state of the household.
  • Prioritize the tasks that need to be completed for your home.
  • Share any problems or frustrations that might cause problems in meeting these expectations.
  • Develop a plan to get those chores out of the way.  

Avoid burnout by developing boundaries for your business

To avoid burnout when you work at home, it is essential to develop boundaries. There are multiple types of boundaries that need to be in place to successfully work at home. You should make sure that you have time boundaries, task boundaries, and personal boundaries defined before you even begin your home-based business.

A great way to enforce time boundaries is set up a schedule with defined office hours. During office hours, you are working your business and only working your business. This also provides consistency with clients because they know when you are available and when you are off-limits. There are people (including family members!) who might try to push the limits, so it’s especially important to have those times available online. I have my schedule available on my Work with Me page so that people can see exactly when I’m free to talk with them. 

You also need to make sure that you have task boundaries in place. There may be tasks that usually fall within the scope of your business, but you can say you won’t do those tasks for any variety of reasons. Perhaps you don’t have the right skills to successfully do those tasks, and maybe there’s not the time to learn those skills. It also might be that you have all the skills needed, but it’s not the type of task that you enjoy. My friend and client Mary Ellen of Milk & Honey Nutrition (you can find her here) is an amazing registered dietitian. After about a year of business, she realized she didn’t like creating meal plans, so she stopped offering that service in her business. It’s ok to decide you don’t offer certain services because it’s your business!

Some final boundaries that you should have in place to avoid burnout are personal boundaries. You might decide that you don’t work when the kids are home. Perhaps evenings are times for you and your significant other to be together. Maybe you don’t have your business email on your phone. Whatever boundaries help you create the personal space to enjoy your family and prevent business burnout, you need to set those and stick to them. 

[bctt tweet=”Whatever boundaries help you create the personal space to enjoy your family and prevent business burnout, you need to set those and stick to them.” username=”mvirtualassists”]

A note about boundaries: Boundaries are very individualized. You know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, so you know what guidelines you need to put in place for yourself. There also might be times when you need to flexible in sticking to those boundaries, and that’s ok. Just make sure that those times are exceptions to the rules, rather than letting them become the rules!

Just say no to avoid burnout

This tip aligns closely with the previous one. When someone asks you to do something that crosses the boundaries you’ve set for your business, say no without feeling bad about it. There might be times that you have to say no in your personal life and there might be times when it’s needed in your business. 

When making your business a priority, it’s fine to turn down things that interfere with your work. There are other parents that can be the class parent (unless you want to be the class parent), you do not have to use your working time to pick up the dry cleaning, and it’s ok to use curbside pick-up for your groceries. 

It’s also acceptable to say no to business opportunities that violate your personal boundaries. Turn down projects that would force you to work outside of your set hours (or learn strategies to streamline your operations). Choose not to work with clients that require you to be available to them outside of office hours. Don’t accept jobs that require you to spend the bulk of your time on tasks you hate. It’s ok to just say no!

Avoid burnout by taking care of yourself

The easiest way to get burned out is by wearing yourself out. This can be mean sacrificing your physical health or mental health. Neither is good, and you should be sure to work to avoid both of them.

To avoid wearing yourself out physically, take care of all of your physical needs. For me, I need to make sure that I get enough sleep. My wonderful husband recognizes that I need more sleep than he does, so he frequently deals with the boys if they wake up in the middle of the night.

I also do much better when I eat healthily and get enough exercise. Spending time working out every day, drinking plenty of water, and taking time to eat my meals helps me so much. When I skip any of these, I suffer, and so does my work. 

Mental health is equally important to avoid burnout when working at home. Take time for self-care, whether it’s spending time on a quick pedicure or reading a good book. Consider what your personality needs and spend time with other people, whether it’s a lunch out with a girlfriend, alone time with your significant other, or a good chat with a good friend. Do what you need to do to feel refreshed and balanced!

Give yourself the grace you need to avoid burnout

No matter how amazing you are (and I know you’re pretty amazing!), you are not perfect and you will make mistakes. The absolute best way to avoid burnout when running a business is to be ok with making mistakes and be ready to learn from them.

You aren’t a failure when things go wrong. Consider what happened, problem solve to figure out how to avoid it in the future, and move on. Don’t let yourself fall victim to self-doubts and what-should-have-beens. Those can burn you out and cause you to quit your business faster than pretty much anything else out there. You can do this!

Summing it up

There you have my top five tips to avoid burnout when you work at home! If you skimmed through the post (because I’m long-winded sometimes), here they are again:

  • Set realistic expectations for your business and home life.
  • Develop boundaries for your business.
  • Just say no (when needed).
  • Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Give yourself the grace to make mistakes.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out my post on how to maximize productivity when you work at home. It’s full of useful tips and you can get an infographic I made!

Now it’s your turn. What struggles do you have while working at home? What strategies do you use to avoid burnout? Please comment below or share on my Facebook page. I can’t wait to hear your wisdom!

Until next time,

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