Avoiding the WAH Syndrome

Updated on: by Leisa Good

Work at Home Syndrome!

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While most of us have heard of the “Housewife Syndrome”, few of us have probably thought much about the “Work-At-Home Syndrome” or (“WAH Syndrome”).

First of all, let’s explore the “Housewife Syndrome” not to be confused with the “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” or Atlanta or Any Town, USA”. The “Housewife Syndrome” basically refers to boredom with the same old day-in and day-out routine of cooking, cleaning, chores, and child rearing.

Now enter the WAH Syndrome. Bored with the same old clients. Bored with the same WAH companies. Same this. Same that. It is the same feeling of being “stuck-in-the-rut” with no way out. Work that seems to pay the bills, but not be enjoyable or personally/ professionally fulfilling.

When googled, only “lonely freelancer syndrome” or “cabin fever pre-meltdown” comes up. However, I would have to disagree. I’ve known too many people who have been working at home for years and complaining of boredom, burnout, and stress.

How can you really break free from the WAH syndrome?

Marketing coaches like Fabienne Fredrickson and Suzanne Evans are always touting that you need to get clear on what you really want.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your definition of working at home?
  • What would you like your workday to look like?
  • What hours do you want to work?
  • What types of clients/companies do you want?
  • How much money do you want to make?

After you have answered those questions, work backwards. Start journaling and get a clear picture in your mind about what you want your WAH life to look like. Feel free to also find pictures of a vacation that you like to work towards.

While most of us are working at home to be able to pay the bills and meet other obligations, such as be there for our kids, it doesn’t hurt to think “big picture”. After a few years of working at home, 14-hour days at the computer may become a formula for burnout. Sometimes “big picture” can simply mean time verses money and how would you define a happier balance.

Mix It Up

To avoid the WAH syndrome, mix up your routine a bit. Find out the best time of day or night for you to start working. Strive for 2-hour stretches of time then take a break. Give your eyes a rest for at least 20 seconds.

If you can, try getting the biggest or most difficult project done first. This is a real stress eliminator. Brian Tracy in his audiobook, Eat That Frog, talks about how to stop procrastinating.

Always have a weekly reward for yourself as you began to make the necessary career and lifestyle changes. It can be something inexpensive too like watching a movie on Netflix or a new nail polish.

Do You Have a “Hidden” Agenda?

Did you “secretly” want your own transcription company, but now find yourself stuck as an online sales representative who struggles to pay the bills? Figure out where you can save money, and start working on your dream job 1 to 2 hours a day. Even if you have to sacrifice 1 hour of television. You will never “find” the time; you will need to make the time.

The Process of Elimination

Begin to eliminate what or who you don’t want in your work-at-home equation. This may sound frightening at first, but it can work. Start with the smaller culprits–Facebook groups or online newsletters, which just take up space in your inbox and have you spend time deleting them. You aren’t reading them now or participating, so this will also help you narrow your focus on what you really want. Take out a sheet of paper and see where else you are wasting your time and energy: answering non-business emails, miscellaneous errands.

Maximize Your Time By Clustering Your Work

Have days where you cluster your errands together and also days where you train or apply for new opportunities. You can also work in your non-billables on those days too, such as invoicing or updating your software. Clustering any type of similar work is a way to save time and stay focused.

Reflect Back on Your Week

Then ask yourself:

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  • Did you eliminate the time-wasters?
  • Did you get more done?
  • Did you feel more energized?


While anyone who works at home will tell you that it really is WORK, learn to enjoy and get the most out of it. And at all costs, avoid the Work-at-Home Syndrome.

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Erica Martin

June 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Excellent post Leisa! I actually do have a “hidden” agenda, I would like to some day either have a freelance writing and transcription business and/or be a successful self-published author – I work on all of those whenever I can…even during slow times of the day at my employee job with Apptical.

Leisa Good

June 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

@ Erica – thank you! I’m glad to hear that you are working on your dreams. Just don’t lose sight of those dreams. Work them into your schedule each day, and don’t forget to track your weekly progress.

Kelly Taylor

June 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

Hi Leisa,

I was facing burnout in a big way. I got sick and had to go into the hospital for a week. It forced me to drop some my clients. In short, I found out that I could clip coupons and the like in order to reduce expenses and spend more time doing what I enjoy!

Leisa Good

June 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Nice to meet you, Kelly! Also, thank you for sharing your experience. Sorry you had to experience burnout and a trip to the hospital, but it sounds like you became proactive about your self-care. Good for you!

Unfortunately, we WAHers sometimes do what is called “majoring in the minors” or spending too much time on clients and work that costs us precious time without giving us the precious pay!

Good job on looking for ways to shave your expenses too. Sometimes just finding the “hidden” money in coupons and other savings does free up your life–both time-wise and financially!

Again, thanks for candidly sharing your experience. Big hugs to you!