Now that we're more than eight months into the pandemic, the data does not suggest that remote work is as pleasant as most people likely assumed it to be. Data shows that more than two-thirds of workers at home are experiencing burnout.
I experienced the bad outcomes of burnout while scaling my startup. I worked so many hours that I eventually collapsed and suffered a concussion. It took weeks before I could work like normal again. The effects of burnout are real, and they can harm your productivity and life.
In order to solve my issues with burnout, I found new solutions and routines that helped me increase my efficiency while also feeling healthier. I was able to make more time for the "life" part of work-life balance.
Here are three proven solutions I found to remedy burnout - for you and your team.
1. Start a weekly "check-in" meeting
A weekly "check-in" is one of the most important routines I've ever adopted, personally or professionally. Creating a weekly meeting that focuses on emotional well-being can be a remedy to anxiety - and the burnout it creates.
The goal of the "Check-in" meeting is to have each person connect to the present moment, and their current experience, by observing their physical sensations and emotional state.
The first step is to give each person one minute to describe the physical sensations in their body, without explaining the reason. A few examples include describing that: I feel pain in my knees, my heart is beating quickly or my chest feels tight.
The next step is to give each person one minute to describe how they feel emotionally. Examples include: I feel overwhelmed, I feel angry or I feel trapped. Keep the descriptions simple and refrain from justifying why you feel a certain emotion.
The goal is for each person to accept their human experience in the moment - not to judge their situation or try to solve their problems. It's an exercise in acceptance and awareness. You can easily add this to a regular team meeting as well.
2. Automate as much as possible
There's a reason I write so much about productivity and efficiency: they are essential if you want to avoid burnout. By increasing your efficiency, you can get the same amount done in less time, opening up precious hours to tend to your wellness and happiness. Automation is the fastest tool for working more efficiently.
The first priority is automating the two areas where you likely spend the most time: your inbox and calendar. A service like Mixmax provides access to a number of email productivity tools and it quickly saved me hours every week by integrating my scheduling process with my email and calendar.
The next step is to research other parts of your business or job functions to see what else you can automate. Another likely candidate is your marketing funnel. You can automate your entire marketing process with a platform like Zapier. There are also tools to automate HR, billing and collaboration in the cloud.
Remember: you do not want to replace the hours saved with more work. That is not going to help you remedy your burnout problem.
3. Schedule mandatory meditation time
Meditation is a beneficial mindfulness practice that helps with stress, anxiety and burnout. The only tricky part about meditation is actually sitting down to do it.
As a leader, you can't expect your team to add a meditation practice on top of a schedule that already creates burnout. As a leader it's on you to sacrifice time out of your team's day to meditate. It's imperative to build this into the schedule, as if it was any other weekly meeting.
Some of these solutions are based on emotions and wellness, and another on increasing productivity. No matter where you start, each one requires that you make a real effort. If your experience is like mine, you'll be enjoying a new relationship to work and life that feels healthy and fulfilling.