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7 Simple Everyday Strategies To Avoiding Business Burnout and Risking Personal Well Being

BY SUSAN R. KILEY

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Avoiding Business Burnout

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON: Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play | Sound Cloud | Player.FM

In my latest podcast episode, I talk about how to avoid business and life burnout. Most new entrepreneurs (in any niche) will burnout as they try to build fast enough to live the dream life they want to live. 

The reality is building a business or life is a slow and steady process – a marathon if you will – not a sprint. 

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, no longer creative and are struggling to continue with your online business dreams, continue reading! 

Avoiding Business Burnout Susan R Kiley

What is Burnout?

I did a little research and found that psychiatrist Dr. Philippe Wuyts says, “Burnout is a syndrome of depleted emotional, physical and cognitive energies, manifested in emotional and physical exhaustion, cynical attitudes and feelings of personal ineffectiveness and incompetence,” noting that the burnout combo can “originate from excessive work-related stress.”

Okay, let’s dissect that mouth full… 

First, I looked for another shorter definition and found the late psychologist Dr. Herbert J. Freudenberger who describes burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive.” YES! Now that short and sweet description makes all the sense to me. 

Who listening, reading or watching has experienced what Dr. Freudenberger has described? 

Well, you’re not alone! I have, and it was gosh awful. I had a slight inclination but didn’t really understand until it was ‘too late.’ It’s like watching your kid at a soccer game and a massive downpour unleashes onto you. All of a sudden, you’re soaked and unable to run for cover (yup, that happened and it sucked). 

Have you been burned out before? Maybe not at a soccer game, but driving your convertible (or any car or truck or motorcycle) and a whooper of rain unleashes – caught and nothing to do.  

Not only is there ‘burnout’ for simplicity reasons, there are actually 5 phases of burnout.

5 Phases of Burnout

  1. Honeymoon Phase
  2. Onset of Stress
  3. Chronic Stress
  4. Burnout
  5. Habitual Burnout

Google any of these phases of burnout and you’re in for a treat. Each phase has its own defining characteristics. For sake of time and not boring you, I’ll let you Google your hearts content, this article isn’t about the nitty-gritty of burnout (I leave that to the specialist). 

Remember, burnout can affect anyone, at any stage of their business or life. Due to the recent pandemic and ongoing world uncertainty a growing number of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business owners are reporting symptoms of burnout. A survey by The Harvard Business Review in 2018 found that all entrepreneurs experience some level of burnout at one point or another. Some feel it more than others, with 25% of respondents reporting to be moderately burned out. 

Learn more? Head over to Entrepreneurs Cafe and read their article Understanding Entrepreneurial Burnout And The Best Ways To Fight It… it’s a good one! 

Signs of Business and Life Burnout

There are definite ‘tell-tale’ signs of burnout in life and business, however my list is not definitive. These are my top three I most often see in people I speak with about transforming their life or their business for happiness and success. *I am not a professional, licensed or providing medical diagnosis or treatment. Please talk to a health/medical professional. 

  1. Fatigue or Exhaustion
  2. Loss of Productivity
  3. Feeling Overwhelmed

Strategies to Avoid Business and Personal Burnout

Here are my ways to avoid business burnout. These are only 7 ways to overcome burnout and gaining your umph for business and life, however there are many other ways to get your zeal for life! 

Ready, let’s get recharging! 

#1: Make Time For Yourself…

How many times have you heard this message? Like a hundred or million different times throughout your life? Am I right…

We all need rest and recovery time. To control stress we need time away from our businesses. You may think of a nap, and that’s okay to do a 10 minute power nap. I personally don’t do naps because then I can’t sleep at night. But that’s me. 

Essentially you need a schedule that allows for ‘you’ time, within a certain time frame, that is focused solely on recharging your batteries. 

Remind yourself that life and business will continue if you step away for 5-60 mins every day to recharge. Actually, taking time for yourself to recharge increases productivity and creativity, as entrepreneurs require for success. 

#2: Take Frequent Breaks

Work one hour, take a five minute break. Continue this through the day. I totally understand how some people may think that taking frequent breaks is counter-intuitive… 

Coming from someone who has had two back surgeries, frequent breaks is the number one way I have managed to save myself from a third surgery. 

Content creators and business owners alike tend to sit hunched over, improperly typing on their keyboards while straining their eyes looking at a monitor. RECIPE FOR BURNOUT! 

Through the years, I have found taking a 5 minute break every 60 minutes actually increases my productivity, not decrease it. Of course, you need to be disciplined for this to work.  

#3: Move Your Body

Get up and take a quick walk down the street or around the block.

If walking is a challenge, think of small successes and movement.

As I recovered from surgery at the beginning of 2020, I had to think small chunks of time until I built the strength and endurance to go for longer.

My initial goal to move my body: pedal on my indoor bike for one minute. Sounds easy, however after surgery when your body is healing, not so fun or as easy as many might believe. Eventually, with patience and consistency, I could pedal twenty minutes without difficulty. 

For those who have stairs, break those into smaller goals each day. Two steps, then four and so on. If walking isn’t an option, think bicycle motions with your legs or arms, arm circles in both directions and ‘walking’ in place.

To all the writers and content creators who are trying to avoid burnout and are stuck in their chairs all day – talk a walk or invest in a standing desk. I’ve had standing desks and I’ve had stationary bikes with built in desks so I can “keep working.” Neither ever worked for me. Instead, I would schedule walks outdoors, even in the rain and snow. Just get your body moving.

#4: Meditation

There are numerous research studies supporting meditation as a beneficial daily practice for improving one’s health – thus avoiding burnout. 

Many articles support practicing meditation 5-30 minutes per day. I’m no expert in meditation.

I took meditation in baby steps because I couldn’t sit still long enough to gain the overall benefits. Seriously took me a month to form a habit to actually gain any type of benefit from practicing meditation.  

#5: Schedule Gaps to Avoid Burnout

Try, at the very least, to schedule 5 minutes – 10 minutes between meetings. If you are constantly participating in back-to-back meetings, especially during the pandemic where meetings are virtual (Zoom/Google), your eyes need a break. 

Anyone who knows me knows I use Alexa – there are timers constantly blarring through the house and office – reminding me to GET UP and TAKE A BREAK. 

I also time block my daily schedule in paper form. Now, if you are not about paper calendars, try Calendly, Asana, Google Calendar or Outlook. 

As annoying as  Alexa timers are, they are my absolute necessity to running my life and business to avoid creative and business fatigue.

#6: Practice Gratitude

I am a strong believer in practicing gratitude every day. I believe people need me and that I need them.

When you practice gratitude on a consistent basis, your overall attitude and mood is more positive.  

#7: Mindfulness

Take time every day to check in on yourself. Ask yourself: How am I feeling in my mind? How am I feeling in my body? How am I feeling with achieving my purpose?

After answering any of those questions, figure out what it is you need to do to fill that area of you.

Hey… it just may be you have to take the day off. 🙂 

Be strategic to avoid business and life related stress.

The Truth About Burnout

Research shows that about $300 billion is lost every year by entrepreneurs due to the effects of burnout. So, if you underestimate the effects of burnout on the entrepreneur or freelance space, you may need to reconsider your stance – burnout has a negative effect not only on your happiness (well being), but your business will head straight for failureville. 

In my twenty plus years, I have burned myself out numerous times. You have to realize that when you run a business, you need to look at the overall well-being, this includes you! 

A typical burnout rate can easily range from 60 days to 6 months. Anything less than that is already a huge indicator your business model or dreams of being an entrepreneur need significantly modified. 

In my business, I make a goal of achieving each of the 7 strategies every day. In order for me to maintain that number, I need to make a conscious effort daily. And that’s not always easy. This is exactly why I do so much talking about the topic and using timers. 

If you are thinking of starting a business (I don’t care what type of business), you need to have a solid foundation of personal well-being to succeed. 

Build a Solid Foundation

So many newbies get over excited about starting their new online passive generating business they forget the essential solid foundation required to avoid burnout. 

YOU! 

Your well-being is essential to long-term happiness and success. When you build your business using the 7 strategies I laid out above, spoke about in the podcast episode, you will avoid burnout. 

I hope this episode is an eye-opener for you. Make sure you join my FREE videos where I teach you How to Build a Happy and Successful Business (AND Avoid Burnout…Long-Term)!

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Susan R Kiley is an author, content creation expert and coach. She teaches newbie entrepreneurs how to build wildly happy and successful businesses using content without overwhelm. The Success YOU podcast is all about empowering today’s content creator, aspiring writer and YOU to finally do the dang thing and start building a business and life that truly makes you happy! Susan also runs a digital agency, Kiley Media.

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