Working a full-time job while completing a degree can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when you are trying to work from home. It is important that students avoid burnout. Burnout is when a person reaches a point of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion. This is typically caused by prolonged stress and leaves people unmotivated and overwhelmed.
The good news is, even with a busy schedule, you can adjust your day-to-day life to avoid reaching a state of burnout. Here are some ways to limit the stress of working from home while completing a degree.
Create a Designated Workspace
One of the biggest challenges for people working at home is separating your workspace from the living space, which can lead to working during the time that was meant to be spent with your family or doing other activities. It can ultimately cause the feeling of being overworked.
Additionally, as a parent and/or pet owner, working from home comes with many interruptions. From loud children to needy pets, these distractions can disrupt your focus and prolong projects.
If you can, use a spare room or extra spot in the house to create your own home office. Having a designated workspace can offer a variety of benefits including improved focus, increased productivity, reduced stress and a better work-life balance.
Some easy tips to make the perfect work from home space are:
- Have good lighting
- Creatively store work supplies
- Make your space comfortable
- Keep your home office organized
Create a Schedule and Stick to it
As a student and employee, you’ll need to meet constant deadlines for projects and homework and go to meetings and/or classes during each day. It can be challenging to balance a growing list of work from home responsibilities such as having a full or part-time job, completing online school course work, monitoring your children and making time for those weekly FaceTime meetings with family members you can’t see in person.
The key to managing all these demands is to create a schedule or agenda. Carve out time specifically for each task to make sure you can complete everything on your to-do list.
For example, if your work hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., use the early morning to complete homework assignments for your degree program. And if you know your children will need you to discuss their class assignments at night, give yourself an hour or so after every dinner to work with them.
Some simple tricks in making an effective schedule are:
- Determine what tasks need to be prioritized
- Create realistic goals and expectations for yourself
- Communicate with your family to decide household responsibilities
- Stick to your schedule as best you can
Know When to Ask for Help
An important part of avoiding burnout is knowing when you have too much on your plate. If you’re having trouble meeting work and school deadlines, let your teachers or boss know.
At Herzing University, we understand you have responsibilities outside of the classroom. Our professors are more than willing to find solutions that work best for you, whether that’s helping you determine how much time to spend on a project or identifying courses that fit within your daily schedule.
Another trick to avoid burnout is finding responsibilities you’re able to delegate such as household chores. For example, if you don’t think you’ll be able to finish an assignment before dinner time, see if another family member can get the meal started while you complete your work.
Finding ways to offload parts of your schedule can help relieve stress and allow you to put more time and focus on certain projects.
The best way to know if you need assistance with your workload is to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Am I frequently missing deadlines?
- Is there no other way to prioritize my work?
- Am I consistently starting work early and ending late?
- Am I having trouble relaxing or in a constant state of stress?
- Have I noticed my health decline?
Practice Healthy Habits
Taking care of yourself is one of the best tricks to avoid reaching a point of burnout. This is because practicing healthy habits will not only improve your overall physical health but can also relieve stress and feelings of negativity.
Getting your heart rate up is a great way to burn off nervous or negative energy. If you find yourself frustrated with a project or overwhelmed, try going for a quick run around the neighborhood or looking up a short, online workout video. When keeping active, your body pumps a hormone called endorphins which are known to improve your mood, reduce stress and decrease pain.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Not drinking enough water or eating an adequate amount can cause irritability, tiredness and a lack of focus. Make sure you’re drinking something close to the recommended eight cups of water a day and eating a healthy amount of food to give your mind and body the energy it needs to complete your day-to-day tasks.
Additionally, when determining what to eat, choose foods full of vitamins and nutrients such as berries and leafy greens. These can boost your body’s immune system and lower your blood pressure which helps combat stress.
Get a Full Night’s Rest
Getting enough sleep is essential to your health and can help you succeed in school and work. Health experts suggest getting between six to eight hours every night. Some tips to improve healthy sleep habits are:
- Unwind before bed
- Try to set a consistent bedtime and wake time
- Avoid using electronics an hour before going to sleep
- Set your room at a cooler temperature
- Don’t consume caffeine late in the day
- Don’t eat just before going to bed