Five ways to avoid burnout when your home and work environments become one

Words by Donna Torres, General Manager of SMB Sales & Operations UK & EMEA,  Xero

In the current climate, many of us have found ourselves in different working environments – with the majority of people working from home. With our home and work spaces becoming the same place, it’s more important than ever to ensure you take steps to create some separation and avoid burnout – a common issue faced by small business owners.

Here are six ways to help avoid burnout:

  1. Keep work out of your home life

Often a business is the result of a life-long passion, so it’s easy for that business to become a fundamental part of your everyday routine. This makes it difficult to separate work life from home – especially when both now exist in the same location.

Try to keep to normal working hours, and avoid working late into the evening where possible. It’s vital to ensure a distinction between your working day and your time to relax, otherwise you’re more susceptible to burnout. Working after hours can actually make you less productive too, as you’re less able to switch off when it counts. Small things like clearing your work space away at the end of the day will make a big difference. 

  • Ask yourself regularly, “how am I doing?”

Prioritising your wellbeing should be just as much a part of your daily routine as a to-do list is. Physical and emotional burnout can sometimes be tracked back to elements of your lifestyle, such as diet, exercise and sleep.

Rest is crucial. It might be tempting to stay up late working on something but without the right sleep, your week is not going to be as productive as it could be. Exercise is also important, even if it’s just once or twice a week or going for some short walks in the day to get some space away from your screen. There are a number of great workplace apps such as Unmind who can help business owners and their employees with their wellbeing.

  • Staying on top of things

Time management in a small firm can be difficult, especially when you are first starting out. Xero research revealed that the main triggers for entrepreneurs’ stress are staff management (42%), admin (35%), feeling personally responsible for the success of the company (31%) and filing taxes (19%).  

When you’re overwhelmed, everything on your to do list might seem like it needs to be done ASAP, but in reality most of the time tasks can be split into ‘urgent and ‘important’. Prioritising tasks is key to focus the mind. Apps like Wunderlist and Todoist can help you to prioritise, set reminders and share your work load with colleagues whilst working remotely too.

Always be realistic with how much you can accomplish in one day. If you commit to doing too much in an unrealistic time frame, it is likely that you will feel more burned out. 

  • Feel in control of your finances

Entrepreneurs are always worrying about cash flow and profit and loss sheets – especially at the moment. If you have a comprehensive bookkeeping system set up, you will feel more  in control of your finances.

Cloud accounting software can be used from any device – all you need is an internet connection. It gives you an up-to-date snapshot of how your business is doing,  giving you the insights you need to make the right decisions for your company. The time consuming accounting tasks are automated, and anyone from your team who needs to can access information and collaborate on activity.

  • Give yourself a break

Although we’re not able to go abroad at the moment, that doesn’t mean you should go without a holiday. Book a day or two of annual leave if possible to switch off.

And if that’s not possible, try to schedule some down time every day, the same way you would a meeting. Whether it’s getting out on your daily walk or run, or listening to your favourite podcast, ensure that you’re getting away from your desk and taking your mind off work.

Running a small business can be all consuming. Implementing a routine which includes downtime is going to benefit both you and your business in the long-run. A brain that’s allowed to switch off works more efficiently when it needs to be switched on.

Author: Editorial Team

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