Most people who burn themselves out don’t see it coming. With hindsight they see missed warning signs and the moments they chose to keep on going to maximise productivity and drive forward. It’s called ‘burnout’ because it resembles a wildfire, often started by the kindling of ambition. Drive, ambition and productivity are all positive things, but when they come at the expense of sleep, rest, relaxation and time out it can cause devastation. So we’ve put together some tips to help you reach for your goals without sacrificing your health and happiness.
Manage Pressure Points
Every entrepreneur has certain responsibilities that breathe extra friction into the daily grind. It could be hiring and firing, it could be cash flow, it could be the queue standing between you and your morning coffee fix. Whatever it is for you, it’s likely these pressures, when ignored, will start to build up and gain speed. Rather than letting the extra heat keep you up at night, know and embrace your weak spots. If you can be honest with yourself about where you experience extra stress, you can put in place systems to manage it, ahead of time, and before you feel totally drained.
We live in the age of “having it all”. Whilst it’s awesome we can choose to be whatever the hell we like, make sure you’re not confusing what’s urgent with what’s important. You can’t be everywhere at once and trying to be everything to everyone is a known fast track to stress. It’s a very worthwhile task to write down your values, your intention, and your over arching business goals so that you’re clear on your priorities. Your mates might think that thing your competitor is doing is where your attention should be, but does it align with what you want for your business and where it’s headed? If not, it can certainly go on the list of ideas to explore, but don’t be scared to choose the right path for you, say no to what doesn’t resonate, and stay focused on your vision.
Take action. Right now. If you’re writing endless lists that never get ticked off, procrastinating on social media, or distracting your mind with Netflix (or all of the above!) it’s time to pick a task and get stuck in. Overwhelm happens when we leave things to the last minute, creating an inevitable pile-up. Instead pick a meaningful task and get to work. This can help relieve stress, as completing tasks has been shown to release endorphins (chemicals produced by your body that make you feel good). Even better pick the to – do item you least like the look of and start there. If that seems counter productive imagine your future self. How will future you feel when that job is done? Probably pretty awesome. Relieved much?! If you’re still stuck, wave a reward in front of your own nose. Rewarding yourself for hard work completed can be a great way to make work feel both productive and fun.
Support is super important in every aspect of life. It’s so tempting to push on believing we can do everything ourselves. Yes, you could probably do it all, but wouldn’t it be easier and much more rewarding to enjoy the journey with others? Reaching out to likeminded business people, talking to friends and family, and building skill sets with courses and training, can all help provide a support network when those unforeseen setbacks pop up. Putting your hand up when you need help takes strength, honesty, and courage and most people will actually be glad you asked for their advice.
Put your health first. There are so many cliches about health being important, and guess what? They’re cliches because it’s true! It’s fair to say if you’re laid up in bed you’re not going to be able to give your business the energy it needs, so make sure you pencil in the time to do the things that help you stay healthy. It could be as simple as making time for a relaxing bath before bed. Sleep, a balanced diet, exercise and diligent hydration are the basic foundation of ongoing wellbeing. Although it can be tempting to skip meals, work late, miss out the run, and ditch the water for a well earned alcoholic beverage, in the long run these compromises could cost you your initial success. Using your diary to prioritise your health, using a fitness tracker, or pre-booking yourself into exercise classes is a great way to get started. Even small improvements build over a period of time, so see what you could implement today.