Avoiding burnout while working remotely

I recently wrote an article about working remotely, which seemed to resonate with some of y’all. I thought to follow it up with something crucial when working remotely – avoiding burnout.

Here are some of the lessons I learned during my time as a remote worker, some of them the easy way; the others, the hard way.

Say “NO”

You may have heard of this advice before, but it cannot be overstated. You will be tempted by money and fame. Everyone has that app idea, like “uber for dogs” or “tinder for cats.” You may have potential clients giving you work for a handsome amount, or in exchange for recognition. Before you say yes, just think of what you are getting yourself into by saying yes. Also, beware of “equity” for lower or no immediate pay when considering a new job. Because it is only potential and not “real cash.”

It could also come from well-intentioned folks in your life. Even something as simple as going out on the streets and having a chat (during this COVID season). You know it’s terrible for everyone and sometimes illegal, depending on where you live. Just say, “no.”

Let me quote one of the greatest investors of all time here:

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.

Warren Buffett

Dealing with people

Something that connects with the previous point is how you say “no.”

Realize when someone is coercing you into saying “yes.” At that moment, it’s almost definitely better to say “no.” They will not force you if they are offering a win-win situation.

So, how do you say “no”? Be “polite and firm” is my answer. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

Something along the lines of, “Thank you for offering me this opportunity, but I cannot take this up right now.” is good enough.

Here’s a comprehensive list of advice for dealing with difficult people in your software development team.

Less screen time

We live in a world where companies want to steal your sleep, your attention, and your data. But these technologies have become a part of our lives.

This is the modern struggle.

The solution is not as straightforward as I’d like it to be. I just reduced screen time, unless I’m productive like coding and writing articles like this.

Exercise more

We talked about doing less of some things. So, what activities should you be doing more of?

One thing is exercise. There is no “right” or “wrong” exercise (at least when getting started). As fitness freaks would say:

The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.

So, the initial goal would be to get your body moving, don’t worry about getting that perfect workout.

Or do a few squats or push-ups in between those calls at work.

Reading printed text

When I said “less screen time,” you could replace that time with physical books. Ideally, you should have at least one book you are currently reading. It does not matter how long it takes to complete that book. If a specific book does not interest you, put it down and start reading something you enjoy (better if it is also useful for you).

Good sleep

The right amount of sleep is significant to avoid burnout. The companies that get remote work know pretty well that telling you to overwork will only reduce your output.

So, pay attention to how long you get to sleep and the quality of your sleep.

Asynchronous communication

Software developers know an async fetch is almost always better than synchronous fetch. But, why do we expect synchronous communication when talking to people?

Get used to taking some time to respond to messages on whatever communication tool you are using.

Take a break

When nothing works, try this “reset” option. Take some time away from work and focus on yourself and your health. As some call it, get some “me time.”

Nuware Eliya
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

We do not have the option to travel to beautiful places. But perhaps you can exercise (as mentioned), have healthy meals, sip on some green tea, or be a little more mindful and generous. This means not watching/reading the news all the time and keeping away from toxic people.


We may question, “why should this happen to me?” or just “why?”

I figured a more productive way to live is to accept it the way it is. Because we only know too well, we cannot change what has already happened to be in any other way.

So, it’s better to accept them the way they are while making plans for how you would like to pivot your next steps.


2 responses to “Avoiding burnout while working remotely”

  1. Humaiz Avatar

    Great article buddy. I recently had to say no to an offer and i did so. Its much relieving and rewarding than building up the pressure to deliver.

    1. Thanks so much, mate! Glad to hear about your good judgment on that 😊👍

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