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How to Beat Burnout for the Busiest Entrepreneur

Learn how to beat burnout and cultivate a beautiful work-life balance even if everything feels urgent at work and home. 

As a busy entrepreneur, you are on a mission to beat burnout and cultivate a beautiful work-life balance. You want to have an extraordinary career combined with an extraordinary life. But, how can you do this when everything feels urgent?

Running a business and keeping a fulfilling life can be a challenge if you are not intentional with how and where you are spending your time. When enemies of productivity constantly threaten to ruin your day and send you into a tailspin, you almost feel that burnout is inevitable.

Let’s talk about the warning signs of burnout, the enemies that can push you there, and how to beat burnout once and for all.

What are the warning signs of burnout?

If you are like many of us, you might have hit burnout in the past. You know what it looks like–and most certainly what it feels like–when you are inside it. You don’t want to go back to that feeling. How can you realize you are headed for burnout before you get there?

The fun stuff isn’t fun anymore

Did you use to love writing interesting blog posts to share with your clients and now it all just feels like work? Did you always jump for joy when it was time for family game night, but now it just seems like another thing on your never-ending to-do list? Did you love happy hour with your entrepreneur pals and now you just want to say no? When the fun stuff doesn’t feel fun anymore, you know you are dangerously close to burnout.

Your motivation fades but doesn’t come back

We all lose motivation sometimes. Motivation is never a constant and can be impacted by your health, food, habits, mood, and so many other factors. However, if you start waking up day after day unmotivated, this is another sign that burnout might be close.

You start questioning EVERYTHING

You can feel those cynical feelings start to creep in and make you question everything you are doing.

  • “Maybe I am not cut out for entrepreneurship?”
  • “Is this all even worth it?”
  • “Why did I think I could do this?”
  • “Will I ever even be close to where he is in business?”
  • When those skeptical messages start to plague you, burnout is near.

You are just so tired

Exhaustion is a big sign of burnout. Are you waking up tired even after you get a full night’s sleep? Are you groggy and foggy throughout the day? Being overtired, especially if there is not a clear reason, is another sign that burnout might be looming.

Avoid these enemies of productivity

The best way to beat burnout is with engaged productivity–that feeling of being absorbed and aligned with what you are doing. Have you felt that feeling? The feeling that time has somehow faded away and you are completely in your element?

When you are trying to do everything, everything feels rushed and urgent. You have no space for time to fade away. When you are truly engaged in your activities, time feels like it has no end and happiness follows. So, what are the enemies of engaged productivity?

Terrible time-wasters are sucking your time and distracting your progress.

We all have things in our lives that tend to waste our time or distract us the most. You might watch too many back-to-back Netflix episodes or scroll social media for more time than you want. You might take a lot of snack breaks out of your home office.

You might also be getting stuck in some lesser-known time-wasters. Are you constantly checking email all day long? Are you doing never-ending research but not starting the project? Are you task-jumping, multitasking, or trying to tackle a way-too-long to-do list? (Check out The Table of Terrible Time-Wasters for more!)

All these terrible time-wasters prevent actual productivity and result in spinning your wheels instead of clear and decisive action. Reducing time-wasters in your everyday life gives you the open space you are craving.

Find out where your time is going

How many times have you ended your day and said to yourself, “Wow, I don’t even know what I did today?” If you are like a lot of busy entrepreneurs, the answer is too many.

When you don’t know where you are spending your time, you can’t change it. You can’t control it. You can’t figure out what is working and what is not working. The best way to know what is happening in your typical day is to track your time. Spend 24-72 hours tracking what you do every 15 minutes. It might sound like a lot of work, but the results are often astounding. 

Once you know exactly how you are spending your time, you can strategically and intentionally get rid of those time-wasters, open up white space, add in things that make you gloriously happy (keep reading for more on that!), and beat burnout in the process. 

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Did I spend more time doing something than I expected?
  • Did I spend less time doing something than I expected?
  • Are there tasks that take me longer than I thought they did?
  • Are there tasks that take much less time than I thought they did?
  • Do I have areas where I am wasting time or losing time?
  • When am I most productive?
  • When am I least productive?
  • What can I delegate or delete from my task list? (My favorite!)

Once you know your time wasters, you can also use block scheduling to make it easier to avoid them. With a set schedule, you can still make time to browse TikTok or read the news, you’re just making sure you aren’t doing it during a time when you could be more productive.

How to beat burnout once and for all

You know the warning signs. You’ve finally rid yourself of terrible time wasters. You know where your time is going and you are ready to beat burnout once and for all. What do you do now?

1. Cultivate energy

One reason to track your time is to determine where you are most productive and have the highest energy. Then, use those times to your advantage. 

Do you wake up in the morning with a brain bursting with ideas? Use that. Do you tuck your kids or your pets in at night and get a pop of energy? Use that. Those creative times in your day are your superpower. When you can get more done in less time by using your natural energy patterns, you win every day. 

2. Stop waiting for motivation to strike

Being exhausted, overstressed, overtired, anxious, and overwhelmed destroys motivation. Don’t wait for motivation to strike. It might not, especially if you are feeling close to burnout. Simply take action. Even tiny actions can put the first domino in motion. When you get going, motivation follows.

3. Plan to plan

Choose a time to plan out each month, week and day. If you are not taking a wider look at your goals and tasks, you are less likely to meet them–even if it is just to cook dinner every night instead of picking up takeout or playing with your kids for a solid hour every day. You are also more likely to be overwhelmed by your schedule when you are not intentional about it. The best part about planning is that you can build in the white space you need to think, dream, rest, or do anything you love most. 

4. Focus on happiness 

Research tells us some special things about happiness, and as you will see, these things are the opposite of burnout.

  • Happy people are more patient. 
  • Happy people have better relationships.
  • Happy people can see the big picture with more clarity.
  • Happy people make more money.
  • Happy people have better immunity and live longer.
  • Happy people are more productive at work.
  • Happy people manage stress better.
  • Happy people have healthier lifestyles.
  • Happy people feel more control over their lives.

Get out a sheet of paper and make a list of all the things that make you happy, big and small. Don’t write things that should make you happy. Write only things that make you happy. Then, decide to do something that makes you happy. single. day. 

You will find that by intentionally focusing on activities that bring you joy, you bring yourself further away from the cliff of burnout.

4. Find your tribe

If you want to be productive, happy, motivated, have high energy, take care of your health, and live your best life, hang out with people who are doing the same. Imitation and accountability go a long way. Find your local or virtual tribe, dive in, and you will naturally model their behaviors.

You started a business because you wanted freedom, flexibility, and impact. You didn’t start a business to be unbalanced, overwhelmed, and suffering from burnout. By putting these strategies into practice, you can beat burnout and instead feel the energy, enthusiasm, and motivation you are longing for in both your work and your beautiful life.

Efficient business, efficient owner

When your business is running efficiently, it means you’re working more efficiently. My last tip for avoiding burnout is to prioritize more efficient and streamlined processes. Start by mapping your clientflow to understand where there are gaps in your entire process of selling and delivering services. If there’s any process friction, it’s probably putting a strain on your business (and you!).

To optimize your clientflow, use a clientflow management platform like HoneyBook. You can build powerful automation, connect with your clients seamlessly, and move them through your workflows without any hiccups.

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