Burnout is not on your schedule, and why should it, when you love what you do?
You know that feeling deep inside you when you are just about ready to step over any challenge to make that special dream come true? It’s your inner drive, your flame. This magnificent force that pulls you out of bed each morning, and the thing that kicks you in the ass during the day if you start slacking! No time to hang around, you’re on a mission. Your goal is clear, your mind is focused, you know no fear. You are ready to conquer and achieve your mission, because you just can’t get enough of this good feeling of doing what you love.
If you know this feeling; welcome to the club! You are likely to gain success in whatever it is you are doing. You do whatever it takes to get the job done and you probably do it better than anyone else. One thing is for sure: You will always find a way to solve a problem and you never take NO for an answer. And because you feel like you are winning, and it feels so good; you never stop.
And that’s where the problems start to emerge.
You might be full of energy for weeks and months, even years! But if you fall too far into it for too long without proper time off, you might forget the here and now. You might even neglect the other very important areas of your life.
Burnout is never worth it
Anyone who has experienced burnout will tell you that it wasn’t worth it. You might think it’s just another small and necessary bump on the road to success. But you are wrong.
Three years since my own little burnout now, and I still feel that my energy levels have not even once reached the same heights as before… I still need a lot of sleep, and I have to very carefully choose my input; both for the body and mind. But I learned so much having this happening to me, and although I would rather have chosen to forego this experience, I now have the urge to share it, hopefully to prevent others from falling into this trap. Below are six things I wish I had payed more attention to, and even considered during the time leading up to it. Your life as an entrepreneur will not be balanced, but I urge everyone to consider the following to stay on the right side of a burnout:
Include your family and/or friends in what you are doing. Share your vision, dreams and fears. Have someone know your schedule. My first failure was to keep it all to myself. Nobody knew that my days were so long; away from home from 5:30 AM to 9PM most days of the week. Someone surely would have at least discussed it with me if they had known.
Make sure you rest enough. Sleep is the number one thing we eliminate if we “need” more time. Just note that if you do cut off your sleep, you always need to pay it back with interests. You can even nap if you can’t get enough sleep during the night. All of the great names in history have done it, so why shouldn’t you?
Eat good and nutritious food every day. Include healthy fats and protein along with the good carbs. And drink plenty of water, it is the drink of life! Try to stay away from too much coffee or sugary foods/ drinks. Sure, they might spike your energy levels in the short run, but in the long run, it’s doing more bad than good to your body.
You should also take care of what nutrition you feed your mind with. You don’t need all the latest news every hour on the hour. Neither do you need to know what all your friends are sharing on social media at the moment it is happening. It will drain your energy and give you an unfocused mind. Instead feed your mind with positive thinking that will encourage you to have a positive and solution-minded look on life and your projects.
Do some form of exercise, pick something you like to do and stick with. Do it at least three times every week. This is the best way to increase the value of your time as you will be more energized afterwards and thus more productive.
Hire staff! Get someone to help you, train them if you need to, just share the load. But pick wisely as this will be your no.1 person working on your business, your goals, your mission. This was very hard for me to do, until I realized that I was telling myself I was the ONLY one who could do what I was doing….. What a self-centered narcissist I was! If it’s a skill, other people can do it too, just train them right and make sure they know your “why” for what you are doing.
Schedule time for doing nothing and preferably off the grid (that means no phone, no WiFi). It could be looking out your window for 30 mins every other day, just to let the mind drift. You could enjoy a hike during the weekend, or a bicycle tour. It might even be meditating. Just pick something that you can measure and be sure to put it into your calendar so you won’t skip it. It’s a way to let the steam out, reflect on things and stimulate your creative thinking. I experience a calmer self, and I often solve problems during or right after this session, without especially thinking about a problem.
The bottom line
The bottom line, you don’t want the one thing you love the most to become the thing you loathe. You probably feel like the business is your baby, and you should take care of it in that manner, or it will outgrow you, and soon. Keep these points in mind to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You will keep your flame for your work alive, without a burnout tapping on your shoulder. Put your health first, it’s your source of greatness after all. Stay strong.