Everyone has hit “The Wall” at some point in their career.
Whether that was personal or professional, it happens and all of a sudden you just can’t keep going. You can’t push through - mentally or physically.
I’ve had my fair share of those days.
December 2015 was my first.
I was on the way home from work after a meeting I didn’t want to attend, that had run longer than it should have, and traffic had piled up while the meeting ran long. I ended up pulled over on the side of the road, crying too hard to see straight because I had so much work to do when I got home and traffic was going to double my drive-time.
I still run up against them every so often, but I’ve learned how to watch for, and then control the burn-out factors to a much better degree.
Here are a couple of the keys I’ve found to avoid and recover from burnout…
Schedule working time. Schedule time off. And stick to it.
I work 8am-6pm weekdays. I allow myself to work two evenings per week (that includes evening mixers!) and four hours every other Saturday. Saturday work is only allowed to be “want to” work though.
My point: This set up allows me to check-out when work-time is over. It also forces me to be more efficient and focused when I am working.
The goal is to create safe spaces. Safe moments of time when you are allowed to not worry about the business.
Understand Your Burnout Symptoms
I also refer to these as “red glass symptoms” when I discuss Emotional Quotient (Check out EQ here if you’re not sure what Emotional Quotient is!). Here’s the difference between red glass and clear glass:
You can think clearly, easily push forward, think in terms of the team, understand others and yourself, take risks, etc.
You’re frustrated because the coffee spilled and someone cut you off on the freeway and all of a sudden you can’t think straight in your business because you’re so overwhelmed by everything that has happened. Every frustrating thing that happens is a drop of red in your clear glass and eventually the result is burnout. Your clear glass becomes red.
When we get stressed, we are experiencing a physical change as the stress hormones hit our system and those result in physical cues. I personally experience a sharp pain under my right shoulder blade, tunnel vision, rawness in my throat and I’ll find myself saying things like “I can’t process through that right now” or “I just can’t wrap my head around that right now.” I find myself sending short and thoughtless replies via email.
We all have different signals, but it’s important to learn your red glass symptoms so you can recognize when it’s important to back up and start proactively avoiding burnout.
Lean On Your Team
Even solopreneurs lean on people.
Don’t believe me? Think of all the vendors used, or the graphic designers, or the VA’s, or the web developers that a solopreneur uses. Spouses, friends, networking partners also fall in this category. These are people that can be leaned on for help with different things!
Whether you’ve got an in-house team, or you lean on alternate options, avoiding burnout means we have to lean on them.
Personally, when I find myself “doing it all myself” I a