Preventing burnout takes strategy and effort, but it’s worth it. Burnout is a destroyer of energy, mental clarity, patience, sleep, health, relationships, and positive parenting. I finally had to acknowledge the negative impact of the pressure I put on myself to achieve great things in a short amount of time. Preventing burnout is a skill I had to the hard way, and I hope that you can learn from my mistakes.
It was up to me
Once I decide to do something, I pour my entire self into it, and can be fairly intense. I’m what you might call a serial entrepreneur, and have started many businesses, three of which I still run. After years of different types of careers and jobs, I learned that I don’t want to work for anyone but myself. Thus I am driven to create the career and lifestyle of my dreams.
It’s okay to put pressure on yourself. It’s okay to be driven. It’s okay to have crazy big goals and dreams. It’s not okay to push yourself to the brink of malfunction.You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to learn about preventing burnout. It can happen in any circumstance.
I LOVE what I get to do for work. I’m not here pounding away at a 9-5 job that I hate. My office is my dining room. Work is always right there, waiting for me. I think that’s what makes it hard to find balance. I love what I do, and I’m in close proximity to my work throughout the day and night. The siren song is loud and powerful.
Woops I did it again
Between my household, kids and work, I pushed myself to exhaustion. In February, I destroyed my adrenal glands (again), and was an anxious and depressed mess. My whole body hurt. Movement hurt. My joints were inflamed. My skin even hurt to the touch. Headaches plagued me, and I could barely function, let alone get any work done.
I had to take a two month break to heal, truly evaluate my past approach to work and life, and create a plan to achieve more balance. Thankfully, I knew the health steps I needed to take to feel better. If you’ve been thinking about learning the steps to launching your own health journey, you should check out this blog post.
Burnout is hard. It took it’s toll on my entire existence for two months, and it most certainly didn’t help me get any closer to achieving my career goals. I had to take a serious step back, and examine my priorities and my mistakes. It was time I learned about preventing burnout by taking a hard look at the price I paid by pushing too hard.
What I learned about preventing burnout
I can have it all, just not all at the same time, and not at the speed with which I want it to happen. I need to slow down to go fast. Each week I ask myself what my top three priorities are, and anything else I accomplish is icing on the cake.
I set realistic goals for my work, household, and personal life, and try not to let one category consume the others. This creates less stress and chaos, which leaves me clear headed and productive. Trying to cram too much into one day or week triggers my anxiety. I’m now the queen of saying no to activities that while might be fun, would leave me over scheduled and overwhelmed.
I learned that a slow burn is better than a burn out. It might take longer to reach your goals if you slow down and add balance to your life. Or it might not. I realized that when I slow down and allow myself to rest, be present for my family, and have fun, I’m a better boss, mother, and human. I’m also more creative and productive when it is time to work.
Multitasking does nothing but slow me down and create chaos in my thinking. Do you know what happens when you multi task? You end up doing a bunch of things sub par. Now, when I plan my week I set a specific focus for each work day. It might be editing a portrait session, writing up a new recipe or blog post, or studying to become a functional health coach. If I finish the planned task, I can then move on to the next item on the to do list. To learn more about the myth of multitasking, check out this article from Psychology Today.
Some days it all goes to crap. Life has a way of throwing curve balls, and all my plans for the day get put on hold. Some days I need to snuggle a cranky teething baby who won’t play independently. Other days I have to pick up a sick kid from school, or a household emergency will arise. I have to plan cushion time into the week for the unexpected. If I don’t, I end up battling the stress monster once again.
There’s Magic in Today
Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m still charging ahead and fighting for my big dreams. But I’m also fighting for balance and sanity. If I don’t take care of myself, my businesses and family suffer. To be frank, my boss is a total hard ass, but I’ve learned to stand up to her. I realized I’d never ask an employee to work herself into oblivion. Why would I do it to myself?
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me is this. There’s magic in where you are right now. Don’t blow past today so fast that you don’t experience the joy and purpose of each day with those you love. Remind yourself of the importance of setting your mind free with a quiet walk, baby snuggles, or coffee with a friend.
Am I going to take over the world someday? You betcha. But I’m going to do it by being rested, happy, and liberated from my unrealistic expectations.
Top 5 tips for preventing burnout in Entrepreneurs
- Remember the fun things you used to do, before you got too busy and stressed? Do them. My amazing counselor taught me that tranquility breeds creativity. He taught me that having fun and enjoying life is not a luxury. Think about all those things that you’re not doing anymore because you’ve got problems to solve and too much stress. Doing those things gets yourself in the right state to start solving problems at a world class level.
- Plan your focus for each day, and don’t fall into the multitasking trap. According to Forbes, “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.”
- Create a top weekly priority for your work, family, and personal life.Tuesday might fall apart, but you’ve still got plenty of time to accomplish your goals. It feels so good to check off these big goals each week. Engineer your life so you start to win.
- Set your work hours. Let’s face it. As entrepreneurs, we could work all the time if we let ourselves. There will always be another item to check off the to do list. This is why you have to set work hours for yourself, and when it’s quitting time, shut it down. It doesn’t have to mean 8-5. The options are limitless, but the key is to set hours that allow for family time, household needs, and self care.
- A slow burn is better than a burn out. Pace yourself. Go slow to go fast. Set realistic goals for the week, and slay each one. Before you know it, you’ll be realizing those crazy big dreams dreams of yours.
Obviously everyone reading this won’t be a business owner, have small children, or even children at all. You can over commit yourself to ANYTHING in life. The same concepts still apply! Be proactive in preventing your own burnout. The world needs you and your brilliance functioning at your best.
Check out these simple stress relief methods to revive your mind.