The Burnout Cycle
Every entrepreneur has limits on what they can do. You can push yourself for a while, but eventually you reach your limit. Almost everyone I know that works for themselves has had this experience; I know I have, more than once.
Here’s how the cycle goes for me:
Everything is in good order. Then something shifts. Often it comes in the form of getting offered another piece of work or an opportunity that I don’t want to say ‘no’ to. Taking on one thing too many, in and of itself isn’t a major issue (or so I always think). However, it always becomes the thin edge of the wedge. The next thing you know, another can’t-say-no job or project comes along and suddenly I’m overloaded. This has consequences for me, my family and my existing clients. Not good.
Do you recognise the pattern in yourself?
If you are going to succeed in the long run then you will have to protect your energy. Achieving the big goals that you have set for yourself is a marathon not a sprint. So what do you need to do?
Rediscovering The Joy In Your Work
Checklist of obvious things you might like to review:
1. Go through your diary and get rid of anything that isn’t a top priority
That could be catch-ups with people that aren’t really going to help you move things forward. Or it might be a speculative project that if you are honest with yourself is either not going anywhere, or is so far ‘out there’ that for the moment you need to dump it.
2. Review the number of clients you are looking after personally
How many do you have? Is it too many? Could you move some of them on to other advisers within your firm or let them go completely?
When you think of the many other hats you wear as the business owner you can’t be carrying as many (or more) clients than the other advisers on your team.
3. Don’t be CEO, best adviser and chief cook and bottle washer too
Decide on the role/s you most like to play and are good at and delegate or outsource everything else. Start with outsourcing or delegating one thing; look for progress not perfection.
4. Get a Personal Assistant
Here is how I came to get a PA.
I was receiving emails every day that took about 45 minutes to clear, but I had to do them after a days consulting, so they were already eating into personal time. That was bearable, although not smart or enjoyable. However, if I missed one day I then had 90 minutes of work to do and if I missed two days it was a whole day’s work to get back on top.
So I got a PA and now he is first port of call for all my emails. He sorts them, replies to the ones that are about things he can reply to and I’m freed up. On a daily basis he sends me a summary of the days emails that I need to know about so I don’t even have to read them. Anything that I see that needs my attention I ask him to forward to me, although often I can just instruct him to reply on my behalf.
Reviewing all of these basics can get you back to the thing you love to do most, which is usually speaking to clients. You’ll find that a quick clean up can really bring the joy back into your work.
By Brett Davidson
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What are your challenges in this area? How have you resolved some of these issues? Leave a comment below.
If you would like to subscribe to my blog and to receive it in your inbox each week, look for ‘subscribe’ on the right hand side of this post.