5 Ways To Avoid Burnout In Your BusinessDec 14, 2022
As someone who has experienced burnout in our business, I can attest that it is a real thing, it can be very harmful to your health, and it can have lasting effects on your business if you let it.
Burnout in its simplest term is sheer exhaustion from simply losing yourself and your identity in your work. You ARE your job/business, which is as unhealthy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, your business is important, but it’s not everything.
Especially around the holidays business owners tend to experience burnout the most because it’s the busiest time of the year and the time when most of the profits are coming in. That’s why today I wanted to give you 5 ways you can avoid burnout, or if you’re currently experiencing burnout, things that can help you start to prioritize yourself again.
Take Care Of Your Body (Diet, Exercise, Sleep)
As someone who used to be terrible at this, I can attest that when you’re taking care of your body, you’re much less likely to experience burnout in life and in your business. When you’re working so many hours, these are usually the first things to fall by the wayside.
You give up exercising because who has the time? You start ordering out instead of cooking healthy meals at home, and finally, you burn the midnight oil because “hustle culture” has taught us that if we’re not working 24-7 we should somehow feel guilty about it.
I’ve learned over the past few years that when you take care of your body, your body does a really great job of taking care of you. When it comes to dieting, the thing I’ve found to be the best is to find recipes that I enjoy cooking, try them once, and if I like them, I put them into the rotation of home-cooked meals I make.
For example, if you were to come into our house, you’d find a recipe book with 10 breakfast options, 15 lunch options, and 25 dinner options . . . because getting burnt out on eating the same thing is real too! This allows me to easily plan what I’m cooking for the week and makes grocery shopping that much easier.
One of the main reasons you end up eating out is that 5 o’clock rolls around and you haven’t even thought about what you want to have for dinner. You’re tired and you finally come up with an idea, but you’re missing ingredients to make it, so you decide that ordering pizza is easier. It’s just one day, but those days start to pile up until you realize you’re eating out more than you’re eating in.
Maybe how I do it will work for you . . . maybe it won’t. The point is to figure out a way where you’re eating healthy meals at home, and treating yourself every now and again to food from somewhere. Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better and have a lot more energy if you do!
When it comes to exercise, most of us know that we could probably be doing more of it, myself included. I used to be an athlete, but over the years of owning a business, my exercise routine slowly became non-existent, until I took a look in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw.
Personally, I like to get my exercise in as early as I can for two reasons: first, the energy I get from working out lasts me pretty much my entire workday. Second, I feel accomplished knowing that I got one of the hardest things done as early as I possibly could.
So many people SAY they’re going to work out after work, but after a long day, it can be really easy to justify skipping it and heading home instead. However, in the morning, you’ve got more energy and the most willpower, so use it and get in a workout.
The key to exercise is to find something you love doing. If you don’t like running, don’t do it, try swimming instead. Don’t force yourself to do something because you “think” that’s the only way to exercise. There are so many options out there
Finally, we come to sleep. It can seem like the “thing to do” to work as many hours as you can, stay up all night, and barely get any sleep, thinking that you’re inching ahead of your competition with all the extra time you’re putting in . . . but the truth is, you’re not.
You’re actually allowing yourself to fall behind, and here’s why. Yes, you may “work” 14 hours a day, but you can’t maintain a high level of productivity that entire time. So really, you’re probably only working 4-6 hours of those 14, and the other 8-10 are spent doing subpar work.
A better idea is to find a rhythm of how long you can maintain your optimum productivity, then unplug after that, and do things that revitalize you and give you more energy to bring back into your work time the next day.
Nothing will lead to burnout quicker than trying to work as many hours as you possibly can. You don’t have that type of capacity . . . and for that matter, no one does. Start small then build up slowly, until you figure out the right amount of time to put into your business every day.
It’s not like a job where you show up for 8 hours and do the bare minimum to make the time pass. It’s your business, and the important thing is that the time you put in is as efficient and productive as possible. Maybe you get everything done in 3 hours, or maybe it takes you 5 every day. The amount of time isn’t as important as knowing your limits and working within your means.
Schedule Breaks/Times To Unplug
The goal of running your own business is to find a schedule and flow that works best for you. Unlike a career where you’re told when to show up, when to leave, and when to take breaks, you know call the shots and get to decide these things.
However, there are some valuable lessons you can take away from the previous careers you’ve had, like the fact that they scheduled time for you to unplug (breaks) and a time to step away (when you left).
Personally, I like to take a break every couple of hours. This allows me to stretch my legs, get a snack, make sure I’m staying hydrated, and do anything else that I need to. I also make sure to set aside time for lunch to make sure I’m eating as well.
When it comes to calling it a day, I always have a hard stop at the same time every day. I am able to do this because I schedule my week the prior Sunday, that way I know exactly the things I need to get done for the week, which allows me to slot them in their appropriate times each day.
As we touched on before, it’s not sustainable long-term to work 10-hour days with no breaks or to work late nights consistently. Over time, your body will start to wear down and you WILL begin to experience burnout, so make sure that you’re taking proactive steps to ensure that doesn’t happen.
A great way to do this is to become a scheduling master! Things you can schedule are:
- Your entire week ahead of time
- Small breaks and longer meal breaks
- Your most important tasks first
- When to start each workday
- When you unplug for the day
A lot of people think scheduling is a bad thing and that it ties you down, but I actually find scheduling to be a freeing thing. I know exactly when I start and end each workday, as well as all the things I need to get done in a day/week. Just make sure you’re scheduling in those breaks as well!
Prioritize Hobbies/Activities You Love
One of the best pieces of advice I received when I started experiencing burnout was to explore different activities outside of work and find something I enjoyed doing. I had gotten so lost in the work that it became all that I was, which meant I never took the time to actually try new things and find activities I loved.
The amazing thing was when I actually took the time, I realized that there are so many things I enjoy doing outside of work. Even better, I found that when I allowed myself time to do these things, I came back to our business refreshed, more energized, and with more ideas than I had when I was buried in the business.
The whole point of owning your business is so that it allows you to build a life where you can do the things you enjoy doing and spend time with the people that mean the most to you . . . make sure you never lose sight of that.
Take some time this week and think about any past activities you really enjoyed doing, or better yet, think about some activities you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t feel like you had the time. Pick one, unplug, and go do it! I bet that you’ll find the time away was just what you needed.
Give Yourself The First & Last Hour Of The Day
One of the best habits I learned early on in my professional career was the “first and last hour” rule, which basically states that you should always prioritize yourself and your self-care to begin and end your day.
This was one of the first things I learned on my personal growth journey and honestly, one of the most important. I used to be that person that would snooze my alarm, get up, immediately check my phone, then head to work.
I’d then come home, do more work, hop on my phone, and watch Netflix till I fell asleep . . . and I used to wonder why I wasn’t getting anywhere in life lol?!
Now, when I wake up, this is what my first hour looks like:
- I immediately drink a glass of water
- I do a 15-minute home workout
- I journal for 15 minutes and write 3 things I’m grateful for
- I read for 15 minutes
- I meditate for 15 minutes
My last hour of the day consistently looks like this:
- I take a shower
- Unplug from all devices
- I meditate again
- I read
- I spend quality time with Jill
See how different this routine is from what I used to do? 5 years of practicing this every single day and I can tell you that my life, personally and professionally has drastically changed for the better.
When you work on yourself and you become better, everything you do becomes better, including the work you do and the person you become in the process. So often, business owners are looking for the “secret to success,” when the true secret isn’t a secret at all . . . it’s simply working on yourself and becoming a better you.
If there’s one thing you take from this blog let it be the power of giving yourself those two hours and using them to work on yourself both personally and professionally.
Understand That It’s Okay To Take Time Off
This seems to be the hardest one for business owners to do, because there’s this notion that if you take time off, somehow your business is going to suffer because of it. While this may be true, the real truth is that if you take a day off, even a week off, your business is still going to be just fine and right where you left it.
The reason why deep down business owners feel like they can’t take time off is that they don’t feel like they have the systems and the people in place that will allow them to do so. If you have great people working with you and the systems in place for them to know what they need to be doing, you can step away with ease.
That’s why I’ve always been big on hiring as soon as you can, and also spending a little extra to hire great people. Great people don’t come cheap, but the ROI you get from having a high-caliber team far outweighs the extra amount you have to pay.
If you’re at a place where you can’t hire, then put systems in place that allow you to step away for a period of time. Ask yourself: what do I absolutely need to get done so I can step away vs. what can I let slide until I get back?
Usually, there are 2-3 things that are absolutely vital for you to do as a business owner, and the rest aren’t as vital as you think they are. So really ask yourself what’s important, what can wait, or even, what can you batch and get ahead on, so that way, there’s no lapse in your business while you’re gone.
If you never take time off, you’re going to eventually resent your business, trust me, because we’ve seen it happen with clients we work with all the time. They’re doing everything in their business, haven’t had a vacation in 5 years, work 12-hour days, and guess what? It’s made them resent their business because of it.
Don’t let that be you. Schedule time away . . . even if it’s a day every couple of weeks, or a week every quarter, whatever you feel most comfortable doing, but you DO need to take time away, or else you will burn yourself out, and you as well as your business will pay the price for it.
Don’t let burnout be the reason that you and your business suffer. I know that society paints the picture that to “make it” you have to be constantly working or else you’re somehow not enough, but I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true.
Unplugging, taking care of your body, and prioritizing your own self-care are just as important to the health of your business as working hard is. I know because when we help business owners implement what I’ve taught you, they start seeing more results in their businesses and start feeling better in their everyday lives.
If this is something you struggle with, reach out to us, we’re here to help. We’d be happy to talk with you and see how we can help you streamline your business so it allows you to take that much-needed time away for yourself.
If you’d like to chat, book a free call HERE and we’ll talk more! And remember, take care of yourself!