5 Ways to prevent burnout and sustain your drive in work or business
One question I’ve been asked by most of my female friends is how I sustain my passion and drive. They all want to know how I keep up my energy and persistence without experiencing burnout, even when things aren’t going as well as I may have wanted, or when I have a lot going on in other areas of my life.
Now firstly, I’d like to share with you that it’s been tough for me too. Growing a business is not always sparkles and unicorns! I also have the odd day where I feel frustrated and unsure of myself. But I don’t have to stay there! It’s important to have tools and routines which you can turn to on days like this, to help you find your courage and decide on even one step that will move you forward.
So in this blog I would love to encourage you by sharing 5 things that have worked best for me, to sustain my energy, passion, and drive. These strategies also help me to renew my persistance and courage when I experience a setback or frustration.
I don’t do “all the things”
I’ve found it incredibly powerful to take my time in identifying a smaller number of actions or strategies which could be most powerful for my business goals. I don’t prescribe to the notion that I have to be everywhere, all of the time, in order to be relevant.
As a ‘Solopreneur’ it can become so draining to be on all social channels every day sharing your content and interacting with your community, it’s simply not sustainable for most women who don’t outsource any of their business tasks.
I’ve always known that YouTube is incredibly powerful and will be a huge asset to my business, IF I can implement and sustain a personalized content marketing and community growth strategy for that platform. But until now I hadn’t added it to my own strategy because I recognize how much consistency, time, and determination it will take to build a strong platform on that channel.
Another part of this is that I don’t promote many different kinds of products and services at the same time. I choose one or two services/products to share about and develop, which I feel would be the most helpful ‘first step’ for the women I love to work with most. Even though I have several options available for those who may need deeper support or a longer coaching relationship with me, it can be very confusing or annoying to my community (and draining for me), if I were talking about all of them every week.
So if you aren’t ready to invest in outsourcing certain tasks, I would recommend you zone in on the specific strategies and offers which make the most sense for your business and the kind of client you want to work with right now.
I set my own pace
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know myself at a much deeper level, one thing that I’ve discovered is that the pace and intensity at which I work best is unique. Every one of us need to explore when, how, and where we are most focused, energized, and productive.
Some people are most creative when they have a deadline and some pressure to produce higher quality of work. Others thrive when they can work at a more relaxed pace and don’t have anyone looking over their shoulder or dictating how much they should get done in a day.
But it’s important to recognize that many the most successful Entrepreneurs, who are famous for working long intense hours, have publicly shared that they do prioritize rest and renewal after a certain period of productivity. You may love longer days, packed with deadlines or priorities, but after a certain period this needs to be followed by downtime and reflection.
What I want you to take from this, is that you shouldn’t feel bad if you get worn down, anxious, or incredibly tense when you are pushed by yourself or others to work at an intense pace. This is not a sign of weakness, lack of skill, or poor work ethic, it’s a sign that you need to make some changes so that you are able to work at the pace where you are most focused and driven to deliver.
I prioritize margin moments
Perhaps one of the most helpful things I’ve implemented over the last two years, is prioritizing margin moments. Fitting this into your day, several times throughout the day, can help you immensely with releasing tension, checking in with yourself, and reflecting on your past steps or next steps.
So what exactly is ‘margin’?
Compare your day with a bucket, everything that you do throughout the day is what you fill the bucket with. Imagine that you were to fill the bucket to the brim with priorities, tasks, things to do for others, projects to finish, and crisis to resolve.
If your life were a journey where you needed to carry this almost overflowing bucket every day, then how far would you be able to carry it before you start spilling the contents? When would you be completely worn out by the journey and decide to give up?
Now if you were to allow a generous gap between the edge of the bucket, and whatever you fill the bucket with, so it’s not 100% full, but rather 90%, or 80%, or 70% full, how much easier would that journey be for you? The chance of you spilling the contents – making mistakes or messing up in any way, would be so much less. You’d be able to sustain YOUR pace for so much longer.
So my advice is to take breaks throughout your day. Invest in regular time away from your work to refresh, renew, and replenish your emotional, physical, and spiritual reserves. You don’t need to fill your day until it almost overflows, in order to make great progress in your life or your business. In fact, my experience is that when you invest time every day in supporting and improving your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, you are actually able to be more focused, clear, and productive. This means that you will get more done in less time.
I let faith saturate what I do and how I do it
This mindset and way of life helps me to prevent burnout and sustain my sense of drive, it also helps me return from dissapointment and frustration. I know that I am not the center of the universe, I am not the basis of my confidence in any situation or in my own potential, my own talent and skills are also not the foundation of my hope and excitement in the future.
My confidence, hope, and joy, is so much greater than that. Whenever I falter, I lack focus, or I feel unqualified, I have a glorious Heavenly Father who can pick me up, put me back onto the right path, and give me the wisdom and clarity I need to take a step forward again.
This may all seem too ‘spiritual’ for you, so if you aren’t sure how to apply this to your life, let me share with you some ways in which I make faith a very real part of each day.
For me personally, one part of living by faith and relying on faith, is to walk in that faith in a way that can be witnessed and even felt by others. But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a way for me to act holy or glorify myself at all.
Firstly it is a way for me to Glorify God by being vulnerable and open about my own journey and how God has transformed or carried me, secondly it is a way for me to serve others and touch their lives with loving kindness, thirdly it is a way for me to show them something about Jesus by reflecting one or more of His qualities.
Through my commitment to do this consistently, even if I am not perfect at, I experience more fulfillment, passion, and hope (though I know that the primary reason why I live this way is not for my own success or hapiness). This is very encouraging and uplifting when you invest so much emotional and spiritual energy to build a business.
The second part of living by faith and relying on faith, is to renew my mind every morning through connecting with God and ‘accessing’ His guidance. Every morning after I’ve had my workout, I sit for a while in prayerful conversation with God. I am certainly no expert in prayer, but I can say that treating it like a real relationship and being intensely present is so important.
Through prayer, at any time of the day, I connect with God in a very real way, possibly the most real and authentic experience that life has to offer. If I am overwhelmed, discouraged, or tense about anything, I give it to God, and ask Him to guide me and give me the qualities I need to be who I need to be in the situation, or show up in a way that will serve others and Glorify Him.
The reason why I say that I ‘access’ His guidance, is because I believe that He wants to guide us, but it’s up to us to be so intensely present in the moment and spiritually ‘listen’, so that we can receive it.
How you do this is an intirely different article all together, and it may be slightly different for each person, because we all have so much noise that can infilterate our minds and distract us from where God wants to lead us.
So my advice on how to let faith saturate what you do and how you do it, is to walk in it and by it every day – let it reflect who God is, and reflect your spiritual and moral values or beliefs. I would also advice you to start your day with prayer, to connect with God and really listen for His guidance, encouragement, and correction.
I build my life around my business AND my business around my life
One reason why most business women find it so difficult to create and sustain a healthy balance between their work and their personal life, is that they have a bigger focus on one or the other. You have to invest in both if you want to experience benefits in both.
Now let me be clear, I am not saying that you have to be superwoman and do it all, for everyone, all of the time. Every woman should definitely know when and how often to say no or not right now, without feeling guilty or incompetent.
But I definitely want you to consider that if they are to support each other, then one area can not be neglected, otherwise you risk that area pulling the other down.
I’ll share an example based on something I see quite often.
Let’s say you have a good friend who likes to confide in you about her troubles, let’s call her Susan. One day Susan gives you a call and asks for advice. She says that she just can’t focus during her work hours, she keeps making mistakes and forgetting to follow up with suppliers. Her energy levels are low and she experiences intense fatigue about 30 minutes after lunchtime every day.
You ask Susan a few questions about her lifestyle and find out that she never exercises, she knows that what she eats is very unhealthy but it’s the quickest and easiest things he can throw together, and she usually has a steak and kidney pie or pasta salad for lunch between client calls. She says that she hasn’t invested any money or time in changing her habits, because her biggest focus right now has been the proposal she is putting together for a potential client.
Now how do you think this cycle of unhealthy habits, dropping balls, and making mistakes will cost her business in the long run?
It’s incredibly important to know which habits will support you physically, emotionally, and physically, so you can show up fully in your business. But more than that, you have to cultivate the discipline and determination to prioritize these habits every day, even in small but impactful ways, if you want to sustain and improve your drive and persistence as a female business owner.
So the first part is to ensure your personal life support your business. The second part is to ensure that your business supports your personal life.
If you were working long hours in your business, and it starts overflowing into your personal life, how will your connection with others and how you show up for them begin to suffer? If you do not sustain healthy work habits, and the stress, tension, and pressure starts wearing you down mentally and emotionally, will you still be as present, attentive, and loving as when you feel at ease with your work?
For me personally, I find that it is very helpful to make adjustments to my business regularly so I can tend to my son’s needs as they change over time.
Recently he’s started to need my attention more than even just three months ago. So I’ve decided to zone in even more on those strategies and steps which are most powerful and aligned to my vision and goals for my business. Right now this also means less work during the day, getting up earlier in the morning to do my creative work, and perhaps doing some outreach and community building later in the afternoon, so I can still grow my business during those hours when he is resting or happily playing by himself.
What ideas come to mind for you? How could you adjust your work and personal life, so they both support each other and help you grow in every way that matters to you?
I hope what I’ve shared with you here has given you some powerful ideas on adjustments you can make to avoid burnout, and sustain your drive and passion for your work.
Please share with me below, which suggestion are you most excited to apply to your life?