Juggling a million projects at once, burning the midnight oil, and traveling nonstop may sound like roads to success. But they’re also a recipe for burnout. Once you reach that point, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of a funk. Your health and productivity will suffer, and you’ll find it tougher to get jazzed about going to work or coming up with creative ways to market your business. Here are five ways to beat burnout – before it beats you down.
1. Just say no. Whether you’re getting tons of requests for consulting or speaking engagements or you’re asked to serve in a leadership role with an organization you believe in, women often have a tough time saying no. But, trust me, it can save your sanity! Make a list of your top five business and personal goals, then turn down any requests that won’t help you achieve those goals. Staying focused on a few important goals, rather than trying to be all things to all people, is the best way to be effective.
2. Schedule “me” time. Even during hectic times of year, I always make sure to schedule a massage or a girls’ night out. Mark it on your calendar and commit to that appointment the same way you would commit to a meeting with a client. You might enjoy relaxing with a celebrity magazine or taking a long, luxurious bath. Whatever your pleasure, taking time for yourself will allow you to return to work refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.
3. Get a change of scenery. There are times when you don’t necessarily need a break from work, but you might benefit from a different environment. Try taking your laptop or other materials to a different location: a coffee shop, coworking space, even a beach if you’re lucky! I’ve been known to do some of my best work in a hotel suite.
4. Prioritize your well-being. When we get busy, we tend to overlook our need for sleep, exercise, and nutritious foods. That’s why it’s so important not to fall into this trap. Give yourself time for seven to eight hours of sleep each night and make time for exercise and meals. Hire a personal trainer or have healthfully prepared meals delivered to your office if that’s what it takes. The extra time and money is a worthwhile investment in your health and future success.
5. Practice delegating. One of the reasons that so many businesswomen suffer from burnout is that they think they have to do everything themselves to make sure that it’s done right. Not so. The key is finding competent people and delegating some of your work to them (particularly work that you don’t enjoy or that detracts from your main business function). Consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle your schedule, a copywriter to handle your blog and newsletter, and a bookkeeper to run numbers for you. Your business will run more efficiently, and you’ll be a lot less frazzled.
Ultimately, the key to beating burnout is listening to your body and its needs. Take breaks when you need to, say no when you need to, and always make your physical and mental health a high priority.© Copyright 2010 Ali Brown