How to Avoid Burnout as a Business Owner
Today we’re going to take a step back from the tech, and focus on something more important; that it’s okay – to not be okay….
I think every business owner knows exactly what Burnout feels like, and I think it’s time that we talk about it. The question I’m sure you may be asking yourself right off the bat is, what right does this guy have to talk about burnout?
I’m going to be truly honest answering that question. In 2020 I was massively suffering from burnout. Working long hours, anxious whenever my phone beeped and I wasn’t sleeping.
For someone who‘s fortunate enough to have not suffered from any mental health issues before – it had a huge impact on me. So, I have experience. I have suffered from burnout multiple times.
I’m like the old joke of a smoker – “I’m really good at quitting, I’ve done it multiple times”….
WHAT IS BURNOUT
What exactly is burnout? It’s more than just over working yourself. It’s feeling crippling anxiety and depression and Social media compounds all of that which puts even more pressure on all of us when you see others doing better.
Videos like many on my own channel are part of that problem, for sure, like the content that everyone else posts. For every good thing you do, there is always someone else doing it better, building a business quicker with more staff, boasting about how many enquiries or customers they’ve taken on recently.
For us in the business world, most of that revolves around LinkedIn. Case in point?
You’ve seen me grow my business and recently sell it off. Fan fucking-tastic to all those who currently are staring unemployment in the face, who have had no income for the last 100+ days due to Covid 19. To those people I say stop watching these types of videos, because it’s not going to help you.
For me, I found that burnout can make you emotionally numb.
I posted a question on LinkedIn a while back about the last time I cried from laughing. I genuinely couldn’t remember the last time I cried from laughing …. or crying at all for that matter.
As a business owner myself, and with much of my audience being owners themselves I think it’s important to address.
If you are finding yourself short tempered, fed up more often than not, constantly tired, not wanting to go into work each day. If your heart sinks when your phone goes off because you don’t know what it will bring, constantly stressed, not spending time with your friends because you have too much work to do, always filling your time with just more work, then you might be suffering from serious burnout.
It needs to be addressed, because if it doesn’t then it will drive you into the ground.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Over my time, I did a few things that kept me from burning out so quickly. That’s what I want to share with you today, a slow and painful descent into burnout… haha!
No really, if you do these few things well, then you should be able to completely avoid running into burnout, most of the time.
The fix to this is to make sure that you are setting aside time to switch off completely and for things that aren’t work.
There are 3 Key ways to make this happen.
Do something every week that makes it impossible to think of work. For me it was Ice Hockey, every Monday around 10pm to 1am. No chance to think about work when everyone is shouting at you and you’re trying not to fall over.
Find something for you – sport, music, art, motorsports. Something that makes it physically impossible because of everything else going on around you.
The next one is to Get your weekends back.
Switch off your phone, or if you can’t because it’s your personal phone then at least switch off the emails on your phone. Did you know that you can go into your email settings and either switch Just the email off, or change it so that it only shows you new emails when you open the email app?
Don’t do any work on the weekends. If that’s not possible because of your line of work, then make sure you have at least a day or two completely work free during the week.
No matter how amazing this whole hustle culture is of working insane hours – it’s not good for anybody, least of all you. You’ll lose your friends, won’t see your family and you will definitely feel isolated and alone – trust me, I’ve been there.
Next and Perhaps THE most important one.
Look at the next 12 months, and book at LEAST 4 Holidays that are 1-2 weeks long. Make sure they’re not just so you can stay in your home, but to actually get away. See another part of the country, travel abroad…whatever…
The goal here is to completely detach yourself from normal life. This will give your mind a chance to reset.
For those of you who feel the business will fall apart if you aren’t there, take short breaks. Switch off everything, make no contact. Then when you return you can deal with any fallout and put steps in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again next time. Now all you do is slowly make your holidays longer until you can happily be away from the business for those 2 weeks, then a month, then 2 months , and so on as everything carries on within the business.
When you take those 2 weeks holidays and completely switch off, your company will still be there when you get back.
IF IT DOESN’T WORK?
If none of this helps you, I’d like to quote something from “Anything you Want” by Derek Sivers – If you’re not saying Hell Yeah about something, then say no.
If you aren’t saying ‘Hell Yeah’ to your life – then please do something about it. Don’t be one of those people who constantly moan but never take a step to take their life in their own hands and do something about it.
If you don’t like your job, then find another one or maybe start your own business. If you don’t like where you live, move. If you live in a bad relationship, then find someone better.
Be brave and do what you need to do. Yes it’s scary, but what if it made everything better?
That’s actually the dilema I had at the end of last year. I was stressing about the decision of whether to sell my business and leave everything behind that I’d worked so hard to build over the last decade of our lives.
I think I just wanted to end this post by saying actually, it is OK to not be OK. Sometimes the answer you need isn’t to push through.
I was part of a live stream recently, hosted by Andrew Moon – who mentioned how common it was for some clients he came across to just expect him to push him harder, go get those salesX go build your business, push through the pain.
When actually all that person needed was to hear those words – “it’s ok to change what you want to do”. What you are doing now, doesn’t have to define you for the rest of your life.
It’s something that not enough people talk about, much like mental health it always seems like such a taboo subject because it shows weakness, but in fact it shows that we are all just human.
Being human is something that I’d like to think we can all relate to.
Thank you – I Love you – and I look forward to talking to you again soon