Resting’s on you
For people who work in distributed teams for the first time, and especially those without fixed hours, overworking is a common thing.
Before, their days were divided into work and play by commuting to their offices, and now it’s just them and 24 hours a day to do their jobs, meet deadlines, and manage their time.
With quarantines and social distancing policies for those teams that weren’t designed as distributed in the first place, the issue of overworking has recently become even more pressing.
It’s similar to the perfectionist’s syndrome: you automatically aim higher and work later hours sacrificing your family, gym, or even sleep hours to work. Usually, managers trying to fit more and more tasks into a day and easily overcoming the feeble resistance of their unsuspecting subordinates are also to blame.
By the way, here’s a useful toolset for this: https://www.starterstory.com/how-to-say-no
To stop the work from snowballing on you, you have to learn to treat your attention as a limited resource. Like money, for instance. Your taking on a task means spending some attention from your wallet. You working late hours means taking your attention from your dear ones. Your sleeping less means stealing attention from your body.
Imagine yourself as an athlete preparing for a competition. Everything will affect your performance, including your eating and sleeping habits, your social contacts outside training, the inner balance, and the way you feel about yourself. When you feel well, you’re likely to perform well at the gym, at work, or at home. When you are in bad shape, your attempts at high performance might cause injury.
Winning a competition in bad shape is possible, but it’s also possible that such a short-term profit, added to more short-term profits, would be harmful in the long run.
The truth is, the way you feel matters not only to you. Your colleagues will cooperate much more eagerly with a reliable coworker than with a dead tree trunk. But it is you and only you who’s responsible for your wellness.