18 Ways to Avoid Burnout in Online Jobs

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy
A woman doing an online job

Online jobs offer flexibility and autonomy, but they also come with unique challenges, one of them being burnout.

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This state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion can hamper productivity and harm your overall wellbeing.

These 18 practical strategies will help you understand and navigate burnout, allowing you to thrive in your online work environment.

Understanding Burnout

Burnout is an occupational hazard that’s become increasingly prevalent in our fast-paced, digitally connected world. It’s especially common among those working online, as traditional boundaries between work and personal life often blur.

Understanding burnout entails defining what it means, recognizing its symptoms, and identifying why it’s particularly pervasive in the realm of online jobs.

Defining Burnout

Burnout is characterized by chronic physical and emotional exhaustion often resulting from prolonged periods of stress or frustration.

According to the World Health Organization, it’s officially recognized as an “occupational phenomenon” rather than a medical condition.

Understanding the Dimensions of Burnout

Burnout manifests itself in three dimensions. It includes feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and a sense of reduced professional efficacy.

Differentiating Burnout from Stress

Stress typically involves feeling overwhelmed with ‘too much’—too many responsibilities, too much pressure, and too many demands.

On the other hand, burnout is characterized by feelings of ‘not enough.’ It brings about a sense of emptiness, a lack of motivation, and detachment from work.

Symptoms and Effects of Burnout

Burnout has a wide range of symptoms and effects that encompass physical and emotional states and can impact social interactions and personal relationships.

Physical Symptoms of Burnout

Physical symptoms of burnout can include constant fatigue, frequent illnesses, and changes in appetite or sleep habits. The Mayo Clinic highlights that burnout can change your body’s ability to function optimally.

Emotional Symptoms of Burnout

Emotionally, burnout can manifest as feelings of failure, detachment, loss of motivation, and an increasingly negative outlook.

It can lead to a sense of helplessness, disillusionment, and a loss of enjoyment in many areas of life, not just work.

Social Effects of Burnout

Burnout doesn’t solely impact the individual but also influences their social relationships and overall quality of life. It can lead to withdrawal from social activities and cause conflict in personal relationships, further exacerbating feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Why Online Jobs Can Lead to Burnout

Online jobs present unique challenges that make them a hotbed for burnout. From the blurring of work-life boundaries to the lack of face-to-face social interaction and the pressure of constant connectivity, understanding these factors can help in crafting strategies to combat burnout.

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Blurring of Work-Life Boundaries in Online Jobs

In remote work settings, the physical separation between work and personal life often disappears, which can lead to overwork and eventually, burnout.

The absence of a clear boundary makes it difficult to ‘switch off’ from work, with many people finding themselves checking emails and completing tasks well beyond traditional working hours.

Isolation and Lack of Social Interaction in Online Jobs

One significant challenge of online jobs is the lack of physical social interaction. Humans are social creatures, and the lack of face-to-face communication can lead to feelings of isolation.

According to the Harvard Business Review, fostering social interaction and a sense of psychological safety are crucial for a healthy work environment.

The Pressure of Constant Connectivity in Online Jobs

The advent of digital technology has led to an ‘always-on’ work culture, particularly prevalent in online jobs. This pressure to always be available and immediately responsive to work calls, emails, and messages can be overwhelming and contribute to burnout.

It emphasizes the need for setting boundaries and creating specific work and rest times, a practice that often goes overlooked in remote work arrangements.

13 Strategies to Avoid Burnout in Online Jobs

Burnout prevention requires adopting sustainable work habits, maintaining a healthy work environment, managing your workload effectively, and not forgetting to take care of your physical and mental well-being.

Here are 13 proven ways to help you accomplish that:

1. Define Your Working Hours

It’s crucial to set clear boundaries between work time and personal time when working online.

The Importance of a Work Schedule

Consistent work hours can help maintain a healthy work-life balance. This way, you ensure that your personal time doesn’t bleed into your work time and vice versa.

Tips for Scheduling Work Hours

Identify your most productive hours and try to schedule your most important tasks during this period. Don’t forget to inform your colleagues about your work hours to manage their expectations.

2. Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks can rejuvenate your mind and body, preventing exhaustion and burnout.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves working for 25 minutes, then taking a five-minute break.

The Power of Breaks

Short breaks can increase your productivity, creativity, and overall mental health, according to Scientific American.

3. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Nutrition plays a key role in your energy levels and overall health.

The Role of Nutrition in Energy Levels

Eating balanced meals throughout the day can help maintain your energy levels and productivity. Harvard Health suggests that a healthy diet can even boost your mood.

Easy-to-Prep, Healthy Meals for Remote Workers

Consider meal prepping to save time and ensure you’re eating balanced meals. Sites like Eat This Much can help you plan and prepare meals according to your dietary preferences.

4. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help reduce stress and prevent burnout.

The Importance of Physical Activity

Physical activity is a great stress reliever and mood booster. It helps keep your body healthy and your mind sharp.

Home Workouts or Quick Exercises

You can find a plethora of home workout routines on platforms like YouTube. Even a quick 10-minute workout during a break can make a difference.

5. Create a Dedicated Workspace

Having a dedicated workspace can help set the right mood for productivity.

Psychological Benefits of a Dedicated Workspace

A specific work area helps signal your brain that it’s time for work, not relaxation.

Tips for Setting Up a Home Office

Make sure your workspace is comfortable, well-lit, and free of distractions. A good desk and chair, minimal noise, and adequate lighting are essentials.

6. Invest in Comfortable and Ergonomic Furniture

Your physical comfort can significantly affect your productivity.

Importance of Good Posture

Maintaining a good posture can reduce physical fatigue and prevent health issues. Sites like Ergonomic Trends offer tips and product recommendations to achieve this.

Suggestions for Ergonomic Office Furniture

Invest in an adjustable chair, desk, or standing desk. Remember, what you’re looking for is comfort and functionality.

7. Ensure Adequate Lighting

Proper lighting can reduce eye strain and increase your mood and productivity.

Effects of Lighting on Mood and Productivity

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, lighting can influence mood, performance, and mental health.

Recommendations for Workspace Lighting

Ensure your workspace has plenty of natural light, and consider using full-spectrum bulbs for indoor lighting.

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8. Learn to Say No

Learning to decline additional tasks can help manage your workload and prevent burnout.

Importance of Setting Boundaries

Saying no when you’re overwhelmed is an important part of maintaining balance. Psychology Today provides strategies for setting boundaries.

How to Decline Additional Tasks Professionally

Communicate your current workload clearly and professionally. Prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance.

9. Prioritize Your Tasks

Efficient task management can prevent feeling overwhelmed.

Techniques like Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a simple tool for prioritizing tasks based on their urgency and importance.

Role of Task Management Tools

Apps like Trello or Asana can help you organize and prioritize your tasks more effectively.

10. Delegate Whenever Possible

Delegating tasks can lighten your workload and prevent burnout.

Benefits of Delegation

Delegating tasks not only reduces your workload but also builds trust within a team.

Tips on How to Delegate Effectively

Ensure clear communication, set expectations, and provide feedback. A good delegation process is beneficial for both you and your team members.

11. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress and promote mental health.

How Mindfulness Reduces Stress

Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress by improving emotional regulation and promoting relaxation.

Apps or Practices for Beginners

Apps like Headspace or Calm provide guided meditations and mindfulness exercises suitable for beginners.

12. Make Time for Leisure Activities

Leisure activities and downtime are important for mental health.

Importance of Hobbies and Downtime

Having hobbies and leisure activities outside of work can provide a much-needed break and reduce the risk of burnout.

Suggestions for Relaxing Activities

Consider activities that relax and recharge you, such as reading, gardening, yoga, or even just a relaxing walk in nature.

13. Seek Support When Needed

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re experiencing burnout.

When and Why to Seek Professional Help

If feelings of burnout persist despite taking self-care measures, it might be time to seek professional help. Therapists or counselors can provide strategies to manage burnout effectively.

Resources for Mental Health Support

Platforms like BetterHelp or Talkspace provide online counseling services. Don’t hesitate to reach out—it’s okay to ask for help.

14. Establish a Morning Routine

A consistent morning routine can set a positive tone for the rest of your day.

Benefits of a Morning Routine

A good morning routine can enhance productivity, improve mental health, and increase overall satisfaction with work.

Ideas for a Successful Morning Routine

This could include exercises, meditation, a healthy breakfast, or reading. Find what works best for you and stick to it.

15. Limit Your Screen Time

Reducing your screen time can help prevent digital fatigue.

The Impact of Screen Time on Mental Health

Excessive screen time can contribute to mental fatigue, impaired vision, and poor sleep quality.

Ways to Limit Screen Time

Take regular breaks away from screens, avoid screen time before sleep, and consider using apps that limit screen time or reduce blue light.

16. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk can improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost your confidence.

Understanding Self-Talk

Self-talk refers to the thoughts and conversations you have with yourself. Making them positive can have a significant impact on your overall mental health.

Tips for Practicing Positive Self-Talk

Try to be aware of your thoughts, challenge negative thinking, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

17. Nurture Social Connections

Maintaining social relationships can provide emotional support and relief from work stress.

Importance of Social Connections

Human beings are social creatures. Social connections can improve your mood, provide support, and even increase longevity.

Ways to Nurture Social Connections in Remote Work

Organize virtual coffee breaks, participate in online team activities, and regularly check in with your colleagues.

18. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Learning new skills or updating existing ones can make your work more enjoyable and prevent burnout.

Lifelong Learning and Career Development

Continuous learning can improve your job satisfaction, make you more adaptable, and provide a sense of achievement.

Platforms for Online Learning

Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses for skill development.


Remember, preventing burnout in online jobs is about establishing balance, setting boundaries, and taking care of your physical and mental health.

Each of our 18 strategies are steps towards building a healthier, more productive work life.

Adopt, adapt, and see how these small changes can lead to significant improvements in your online work experience.

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