This page contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and other affiliate partners. We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no additional cost to you.

Successfully preventing burnout at work is a process that comes at your routine from all angles—after all, achieving balance is a holistic process.

Your one-person show, while it’s gotten you to your current level of success, might be wearing thin as you’re continually reprioritizing management of your business plan, social media accounts, and the swaths of details that keep adding up. The feeling that it’s getting increasingly difficult to maintain your high level of production is likely adding to your stress.

The bad news: You may be facing down burnout.

The good news: With a few straightforward steps, you can be on your way to preventing burnout at work, making it feel like your one-person show has a full production team — even if it doesn’t.

Set Boundaries

1. Keep it Separated

When your office is your living room and work email notifications constantly brighten your phone screen as you’re getting ready for bed, it’s tough to feel like you’re ever not working. Cleaving the physical and virtual elements of your workday from your time off can help you achieve some of this balance and help you begin preventing burnout at work. 

If it’s within your means to use a completely different room, computer or smartphone for work than you do for the rest of your life, do it. If it’s not, get creative with digital partitions. 

  • Use Browser Profiles If you use Chrome as your internet browser, create separate Chrome profiles for work and play. If you also teach or attend school or participate in focused hobbies, create separate profiles for those endeavors, too. 
  • Log Out To reduce notifications that pull you away from your personal time, take advantage of settings like the Instagram app’s login remembering tool, which allows you to keep multiple accounts accessible with one click, so you can log out when you’re off work, but log back in with ease whenever you need to.  
  • Keep Your Tech Organized Delete old files, keep folders clear and labeled, and regularly reevaluate the productivity apps and habits you’re keeping. This will both help reduce incidental encounters of work content when you’re off the clock and will allow you to streamline your workdays. 

2. Schedule

Work-life balance is hard enough to achieve when you’re so passionate about your business that it is woven in and out of your daily life in ways you no longer even notice. Adding in the variables of working from home and the urgency of ensuring your business keeps up in a digital world only makes the workday timeline meander further from a 9-5.

So create your own schedule, and defend it with all your strength. This might be easier said than done, so after you’ve spent a few hours pinpointing what will be the most productive and fulfilling schedule to adopt, ensure you’ve built in some automatic shields to keep your timelines as you designed them 

  • Notify Clients and Partners Add your schedule to your email signature, and consider using a digital scheduling tool like Calendly, with strict scheduling options, so your schedule boundaries are clear.
  • Use an Alarm Remember school bells? This is the same concept. Add a little structure to your day and reinforce your schedule with jarring reminders. There are already plenty of fun apps out there to help you get out of bed in the morning, so why not try using them to maintain your workday schedule? (After awhile, you won’t need them anymore.)
  • Reward Yourself Create a reward, like a routine celebratory snack or a strictly scheduled post-work activity, that can pull you out of the “just one more thing” habits that make what should have been a 6 p.m. closing time stretch to midnight. 

3. Technology-Free Day

Sometimes logging out doesn’t cut it, and sometimes you want more than a four hour chunk of dedicated time to exist sans-the potential call of duty. So schedule a weekly technology-free day, as restrictive as feels right to you. 

Not only is this a way to essentially guarantee you won’t be sidetracked by notifications, but it can free up creative space to innovate new business ideas or develop hobbies that will help you bring a fresh perspective to your business approach. 


4. Center on a Passion Project

Owning your business means that your personal mission and creativity guide the work you put into the world. Allow this to fill up your productivity battery, giving you some breathing room in your workweek. Instead of focusing on your budget and social media plan one week, for example, you could work on a project you’ve been thinking about for a while, be it an essay, a hike, or a new hobby, and use what you learned to inform some of your next steps. Turn the essay into a blog for your site. Share hiking photos on social media. Use the hobby as a metaphor in a proposal to an investor. 

Maybe you’re not yet sure what this would look like. Set aside time — within your working hours — to journal about your mission and the goals you have for yourself and your business. Allow yourself to be pulled in new directions on your road to preventing burnout at work.  

5. Pivot Your Specialties

Using what you’ve learned about yourself in the step above, restructure your business to suit your new ideas and core mission. If making a big change all at once will only cause more burnout and less work-life balance, start slow and make simple decisions to move toward your new focal points at your own pace. 

6. Draw from Your Time Off During Your Time On

Preventing burnout at work also involves evaluating your off-work time. If you’re working all the time, you might be missing out on the experiences and challenges that have built the foundation of your expertise in the first place. Create room for truly fresh opportunities by planning activities for your off time that are both enjoyable and experimental. Reconnecting with the unknown will help you feel a sense of novelty that will aid in developing new perspectives in your working time. 

To make sure you’re not just choosing off-time activities to directly serve your working life, be careful about how you frame the activities. Have the fun first, consider how it ties back to your work later. Sometimes it will be in a huge way — an idea for a new service or a lesson that you can pass on to clients — and sometimes it will be a cool picture for your business’ Instagram account. Having fun can usually serve this dual purpose, and it would also be worthwhile even if it didn’t directly benefit your bottom line.  

Understand that Preventing Burnout at Work is a Process, and Delegate

7. Get What You Don’t Love Off Your Plate

There’s no reason to feel like you have to do it all. Retain your joy and use your creativity on the tasks that mean the most to you, and have the tasks that drag you toward burnout delivered. Be bold about delegation — do you like taking photos but avoid posting them because you don’t like crafting captions? Delegate the captions! Protecting your time and energy is vitally important to the success of your business, and to preventing burnout at work.