How do you know when to push yourself vs rest?

Question: How do you know when to push yourself vs rest? Read answers from remote workers to learn.

Interview with Jenna, a freelance writer who works remotely to help manage her health

I’m still learning really, through a lot of trial and error. It’s a topic that really interests me, and I plan to explore it on my blog eventually. I’d say my main tips are:

  1. Learning to not feel guilty. At first when I left my job I just did absolutely nothing for weeks. I felt like I needed to recover – it can be hard to let yourself do nothing, but it was really important for me to rest. After living with chronic illness for so long, I’ve learned to be gentle with myself and not compare myself to others. My best days productivity-wise probably look a lot like some people’s worst days. I don’t waste energy feeling guilty over that anymore, but it took a long time to get to that point.

  2. Checking in. Throughout the day I check with myself to see how I’m feeling - physically, cognitively, emotionally. I’ve been doing a lot of tracking (I love using my bullet journal for this) of my symptoms and sleeping habits. That started out as something to bring to doctor’s appointments, but it’s become a way for me to figure out my limits.

  3. Tracking. I keep track of things in a lot of detail. For example, with sleep, I track when I’m sleeping and how often I’m waking up and for what reason(s). I keep track of the location and severity of my pain, and also my fatigue. And I keep track of my general activities. It’s a lot, but it makes it much easier for me to identify what causes my flare-ups.

  4. Pacing is also a huge thing for me. I break things down so they’re more manageable and take things slowly. Combined with checking in regularly, I can usually sense when it’s time to stop doing something for the day. And I take frequent breaks. If I keep pushing myself I risk crashing and then I’m pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day or even the rest of the week.

When I burned out, I had moments like: I forgot how to park my car; I forgot my phone number that I’ve had for a decade; I had trouble walking – scary things that definitely shouldn’t happen at my age. So I’ve learned how important it is to respect my body’s limits.

Jenna started working remotely after realizing her office job was causing health problems—now she works as a freelance writer and writes about self-improvement

Read full interview from Interview with Jenna, a freelance writer who works remotely to help manage her health.


Interview with Elizabeth, a graphic designer and art director

This is something I’m working on - I’m currently stuck in constant push mode. But not because I’m behind or have to push myself to keep up, but because I have so many fascinating conversations where really cool ideas are hatched that I can’t wait to bring to life.

If I see an opportunity to do or make something interesting, I’ll usually jump at the chance.

I’m currently a week away from a two-week digital detox holiday on a remote island and, don’t get me wrong, I’m rather excited but scared at the same time. Two weeks without constant data input is going to be interesting. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Elizabeth provides the ultimate list of tips for aspiring freelancers and remote workers. Check out her game-changing tools, and advice for thriving as a freelancer.

Read full interview from Interview with Elizabeth, a graphic designer and art director.


Interview with Shauna, founder and business consultant specializing in remote work

I'm not great at this I'll admit, and I've struggled with giving myself true 'rest-time.' One day a week though, I'll really try to completely shut off from work and technology, leave the phone at home and get out into nature or spend quality time with loved ones.

I've learnt over recent years the importance of slowing down and how to value myself outside of what I produce or get done.

Some of my best work has come from a result of slowing down and being well rested.

Shauna is a consultant that guides companies in thriving while remote—see her advice for staying grounded as a remote worker.

Read full interview from Interview with Shauna, founder and business consultant specializing in remote work.


Interview with Tara, a remote director of research and administration

Deadlines are the main predictor, but as a fitness buff, I try to listen to my body and state of mind.

If I’m frazzled, maybe it’s time to switch to something else and come back to the challenge later.

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Often, I will think of solutions to challenges while out walking.

A move to be closer to a spouse's job led Tara to remote work—see her tips for staying productive and organized as a full-time remote director.

Read full interview from Interview with Tara, a remote director of research and administration.


Interview with Melissa, a co-founder and remote work champion

I recently got strep throat after a long string of late nights. It was the reminder I needed of how important sleep is. I have two kids under three years old though so choosing when I rest is pretty laughable at the moment.

Overall though, it's just about finding a balance. Not that cliche work/life balance that you are so tired of hearing about. It's bigger than that.

Some days you push harder than others but, when that happens a few days in a row, I counter that with something just for me and/or my family like an ice cream date with my daughter at 3 pm.

I go to therapy once a week too. I am a huge advocate of taking care of your mind as much as you take care of your body. For me, this is a great checkpoint too of how I'm doing with self-care.

Melissa started Work Well Wherever to help individuals & companies embrace remote work—see how she balances entrepreneurship, parenthood, & self-care.

Read full interview from Interview with Melissa, a co-founder and remote work champion.

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