Avoiding burnout......


 Seven Ways to Avoid Burnout and Find Rest

by Fred Schippa - Managing Director, RISE Consulting Group, March 7, 2018

I was wrapping up a phone call with a business associate a couple weeks ago; someone who provides a service we occasionally refer to our clients. In closing, I suggested he “have a great weekend!”, to which he responded, “Oh, you mean the two workdays before Monday?”.  I laughed at the time, but as I hung-up the phone I thought about it and it struck me; I know just how he feels. For a small-business owner, or anyone who is building something new and challenging, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of working without ceasing. We all want to succeed and the price of success is often working harder than our competitors and pushing through many challenges. If you aren’t punching a clock and no one is there to tell you to go, or come, home, you can easily end up in a place where your work has no boundaries – not a healthy place to be. It can lead to stress, burn-out, and contribute to a myriad of other issues with your health and relationships. We all need to take care of ourselves and get sufficient rest to keep our balance, maintain our joy, protect our health and keep our priorities in proper perspective (sorry, had to sneak in the alliteration). Keep reading for seven ways to avoid burnout and give your body and mind the rest they need….

I know there will always be seasons when we need to put extra time into our work -- that just comes with the territory. As I type this on a Saturday, we are managing multiple audits, tax returns and year-end financials for many of our clients, but this pace shouldn’t become the “new normal” and go on for indefinite periods of time. If it does, we run the risk of losing our effectiveness and burning out altogether. 

Part of the challenge for all of us today is that we can work anywhere, anytime and in ways unimaginable a generation ago. If we are waiting for a table at a restaurant, we can check and respond to our e-mail, e-sign a contract, take a phone call from a client and schedule a follow-up meeting with a prospect, all before we get seated. I am experienced enough to remember the days when traveling on business meant you couldn’t be reached and weren’t expected to do any work, until you arrived at your destination and checked into your hotel. You could actually watch a movie, read a book or (gasp!) take a nap. Good times…..different times, and we can learn from them and establish a NEW trend!

Below are Seven Tips to help you stay rested and minimize the risk of burnout:

1. Get enough sleep – Everyone is different. Some people do their best work early in the morning, others at night. In either case, you shouldn’t try to be both at the same time. If you are morning person, get to bed early. I know this can be hard if it’s the only time you have to spend with your family, but do it anyway. You will be more fun to be around when you DO come together.

2. Power down – Look for opportunities to power down your devices (e.g. phone, PDA, computer). This avoids the temptation to immediately read or respond to emails or texts that “chime in” during your designated break times. This should be done during meals, family time, while you sleep (Please!), or whenever else you choose. 

3. Create a “work-free zone” – This should be a place where you never take your work with you. Maybe it’s a room or closet in your home, your back-yard, or the beach. No matter where you choose, It is important to have a place where your mind is free to relax, and meditate on things not work-related. Don’t violate the work-free zone!

4. Stay fed and hydrated – We all need to pay attention to our bodies and provide them with the fuel they need to sustain us and keep us functioning at peak performance.  When we’re busy working, we can lose track of time and neglect to food and drink - other than coffee. This can lead to headaches, low blood-sugar, emotional swings and an inability to concentrate.  I read somewhere that you should drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up each morning and since I started doing this, I find it really jump-starts my mornings.

5. Take breaks – When you’re working, it really helps to take little breaks throughout the day. Even a 12-hour day that includes 5 or 10-minute breaks every hour or two will seem like a much less arduous effort. This will also help you maintain your focus and energy. Ideally, these breaks should include some physical activity. Depending on where you work, you might be able to walk around your building a couple times, run up and down a set of stairs a few times, or do some push-ups. Whatever it is, make it fun! You will be amazed how refreshed you feel when you sit down to work again.

6. Focus your mind on something else – It’s important to give your mind something to think about besides the challenges you are facing in your business. Podcasts and e-books provide great opportunities to learn, while you are commuting or working out, but if all you listen to are classes, seminars or marketing strategies, you are missing out. Give your mind a break. Listen to some fiction, history, sports, music or something completely unrelated to what you do for a living. You will be delighted at the unexpected thoughts and insights that will invade your thinking when you aren’t looking for them.

7. Be with people who have nothing to do with your business – Surround yourself with family, friends and people who you enjoy but are unrelated to your business. Networking isn’t socializing. Do something fun and laugh…as much and as often as you can. By doing life with others, by taking our focus off our own challenges and sharing time and an interest with others, we can be rejuvenated emotionally, spiritually and physically. 

Please consider taking the steps above to heart. We have seen and known a lot of business owners who start out with a passion and joy in building their own business. They were driven to succeed and were excited and satisfied by the challenges they were taking on. However, when the initial thrill and energy of their new venture waned, and they didn’t find some way to re-charge their batteries, they became overcome by fatigue, depression, lack of motivation and other problems. As you can imagine, this put more than just their businesses in jeopardy. 

In fact, this is one of the reasons why we started RISE. We ease the burden of some of those tasks that most business owners aren’t properly trained for and provide little satisfaction, often contributing to their increased frustration and burn-out. Fortunately, we actually enjoy accounting and getting buried in the numbers (I know…crazy, right?). It’s such an important aspect to our value-proposition I’m considering a new tag line, “At RISE, we give you Rest by Giving our Best!”. I’d love to hear whether you find it to be CATCHY or CHEESY. 

For now, get some rest and we’ll look forward to catching up again in April!