The year 2020 has been one-of-a-kind. There is no need to list all of the newsworthy and history-making stories about this year to make that statement. We, as a society, have had a truly unique experience.
Many business executives, company owners, leaders, and employees have been working at full throttle since March to keep their businesses afloat. In fact, it’s only now that many industry leaders have allowed the year to catch up with them.
This “burning the candle at both ends” is unsustainable. It will result in burnout unless action is taken immediately. You may have already experienced fatigue from all of the additional hours you are putting in.
In this article, we talk about how to avoid burnout this year – and how to recover from stress if you are already experiencing weariness from everything you have done to sustain your business.
How to Avoid Burnout
If you have been working during every waking hour since March, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your business model. Working 24/7 is unsustainable, and it’s time to rework your company’s foundational model so that you and your employees can provide everything your customers expect – and more – with your work/life balance intact.
Here is a brief checklist that you can follow to take some of that work off your back and allow you to build a more balanced business:
- Create effective policies, processes, and procedures.
As process consultants, we see how vital a well-laid foundation is for increasing production, efficiency, and customer experience. Taking the time now to set up a foundation for the future will allow you to more easily step back and attain your ideal work/life balance.
- Set your goals and then breakdown how to attain them.
This is another way of telling you to create processes and procedures. The best way to achieve your business goals is to build a plan for how to attain them – and then break down each step further so that others in your company can work with you to accomplish them.
- Build systems that run without you having to be involved.
A business owner must be able to delegate work. One person should not carry the entire company. This is done by creating systems that others can follow so that you can step back and look at the big picture without getting mired in the day-to-day.
- Hire employees and delegate some of the work to them.
If your business is burning you out, then you need to delegate. If you have done the above steps, you need employees who will do the day-to-day work and allow you to grow your business.
- Automate as much as possible.
Automation is a key part of many businesses. For example, you do not need to hand-enter your expenses. Most banks work with Quickbooks or other accounting software to import business expenses automatically. Incorporate technology and automation to ensure necessary tasks get done.
How to Recover from Burnout
Perhaps all of the above is well and good – and should be something you do. But, you are too burnt out to tackle a project of this magnitude.
Here are five actions you can take to recover from burnout and move forward with your business.
1. Create a routine that you can follow.
Right now, many of us are working from home. Some business owners are also caring for children, handling Zoom school, and providing more in-house care to aging relatives. Others are running more than one business and trying to work with new regulations that are not conducive to growth. Many of us are doing more than one thing at a time, making our days chaotic.
All of this can make it feel as if everything is in flux – or on the brink of some new emergency.
Take control of your days by creating a routine. This may be as simple as making sure you get ten minutes every morning for coffee or work from your deck in the mornings and your home office in the afternoons. It may be far more complicated – taking into account all of your responsibilities and creating systems to eschew interruption.
Time blocking, scheduling, calendaring, and many other tools are at your disposal, available to help you bring consistency to your schedule.
2. Reach out to colleagues, mentors, and coaches
It’s essential to have a team of supportive colleagues, mentors, coaches, and employees during the best of times. If you feel burnt out, then it’s time to reach out to one of these supportive people and talk with them.
You can discuss the issues you are running into with your business coach, delegate tasks to an employee, and work through industry issues with a mentor.
If you don’t have supportive individuals to talk with, it’s not too late to connect with someone. You can begin by getting in touch with Business Success Consulting Group. Our consultants are here to go over the challenges you encounter and help you grow your business, one step at a time.
3. Sign up for (and attend) that webinar
Building up your knowledge base will do a few things. First, improving your industry understanding can change your perspective. Second, it gives you more control over your job and life.
So, make time to take classes, attend webinars, and connect with leaders in virtual conferences. You may discover the connections and knowledge you need to improve and revitalize your business.
4. Switch gears
Sometimes a new environment, a new project, an updated schedule, or even an altered perspective change how we feel about our workday. Here are just a few ways that you can switch gears and improve your day:
- Start your day an hour earlier or later.
- Have a “long lunch meeting” once a week where you order your favorite lunch in your home office and take that hour to talk to your mentor, coworkers, networking group, or – if you are parenting and working from home – take that “meeting” time to chat with your children.
- Tackle projects that you can complete rapidly first. Many of us keep those “easy to execute” projects for the end of our “to dos” – but sometimes you need those small victories to generate energy to tackle larger, more complicated projects.
- Move your workspace for a few hours once a week. Work from the back porch, sit at the kitchen table and work with your kids as your “coworkers”, work at a “standing desk” at your breakfast bar. If you already work from your bedroom or in another inconvenient location, try to find a better spot for your workspace.
5. Try unplugging for three days
The “three day effect” is the effect that nature has on your mental function. Studies have shown that spending at least three days in nature – with no devices – gives your mind time to recalibrate. This time spent away from the office allows individuals to refresh and recover – returning to work with new ideas and
We understand that not everyone can take a break from the office to go out into nature for three days. But, you can still take a break from technology for a short period.
Take off your Apple watch and leave your phone behind to go for a walk or take a hike. Turn off your phone and laptop at night and read a paperback. Turn off all devices for a family dinner.
There are many ways to unplug and recharge – even if they don’t all have the full “three day effect.”
We hope these “how-to” strategies provide you with more ways to avoid and resolve burn out. If you are ready to re-energize your business, contact us. We are here to help!