Burnout is something that we all experience at one time or another, it is also easily avoided. Have you ever experienced burnout? Or have you recognised that you’re experiencing burnout?
There are people that will say they have never burned out. More often than not, that’s not quite the case. The real issue is that they haven’t been able to identify the signs of burnout, and therefore they haven’t been able to move on from it. So they’re just stuck in that burnt out, exhausted state. And they seem to think that that’s just life. But it’s not. That’s not how people function. That’s not how an entrepreneur works, and it will ruin your creativity, it will ruin your work, and it will ruin your life, your personal relationships suffer, everything suffers, every aspect of your life suffers when you burn out.
The best medicine is prevention over cure
As an entrepreneur or a creative in general you will have ideas coming at you left, right and centre, and you will be really tempted to jump on them all. And I understand how that feels. It is very common to do too much and overstretch yourself. But, there are some things that you could do that will help you to manage that flow. For instance, you can do things like making notes. Every time you have an idea scribble some notes down or get your phone up and record your voice and just blurt it out. But then you put it down and you leave it alone. You have already got a project on the go. Other ideas right now are actually just going to get in the way.
How do you know when you’re burning out?
Well, actually, that’s much simpler than it might first appear.
When you are starting to burn out one of the first things that happen is it becomes more difficult to focus. You will find yourself struggling to output at the same level that you normally can. And you might not even notice at first, they are generally small, incremental changes over time.
Next up comes a drop in your enjoyment of the process, you start to be a little bit frightened of the process. And, you stop getting from it what you once did.
After that, we have things like your you become a little bit more short-tempered, a little bit more snappy, your personal relationships suffer. Eventually, that leads to physical and mental health problems that are really hard to get back from, not impossible but really hard to work your way back from.
If you spot the signs before that happens, it’s much easier to resolve. But spotting those signs isn’t always that easy. But you will be able to tell, for instance, with regards to the personal relationships that although from your perspective people are being grumpy with you, the reality is that it’s you that’s grumpy with them and they just react to it.
That is a big, overwhelming warning sign. That is your body and your mind, and indeed the minds of the people around you, telling you in not so many words you are starting to burn out.
Burnout initiates a process of diminishing returns in your ability to focus
Before that happens, before you stop enjoying the process, you have the focus issue. So you struggle to focus like you once did. And that is a super common one. It’s usually the first sign but to recognise that you need to make note of the effort that goes into what you do. How easy is it, normally or on a good day, to sit down and work?
It’s never easy, but it does get harder when you start to burn out. So when you notice that actually, you are finding it a little bit more difficult to put pen to paper. You’re finding it a little bit more difficult to articulate yourself and really get your head in the game, then you are starting to burn out.
Seeing the signs of burnout is not enough, you need to do something about it
When you spot that, do not just charge on. You need to take a step back. Step back, give yourself some breathing space, your projects will still be there once you have recovered. Right now, you need to put the focus on recovery. You don’t want your work to suffer. Nobody ever does. So don’t allow that to happen.
Take a step back, just put it down and take a step back. The work will still be there when you get back. Nothing bad is going to happen. If your work takes that little bit longer, take some time off.
Other aspects of your life need your full attention
You will have other things in your life that are important to you other than your work, like your family and friends for example. They require your time and your energy too. So while you are experiencing, or beginning to experience, burnout this is your opportunity to take control. So put the work down. Put the pen down, step away from the keyboard, and take some time off.
Doing that will allow you to process the thoughts and feelings that come along with burnout. It will also help you to gain some objectivity about why you’re burning out, it will also help you recognise what aspect of your life is actually causing that burnout. Although it will be a combination of things, there will be one thing that initially triggers it and then everything else just contributes to it.
Recognising that burnout is never just about the work is undeniably important
More often than not, it’s not actually your work itself, that’s a really lovely and enjoyable thing to do for. For most of us, it tends to be the pressure we put on ourselves to perform. Or maybe you’ve got some extra stress in your personal life and things like that. So if you put your work down, just for now, you step away from it, you can go and deal with those problems, you can resolve those problems so that you can come back to your work much more refreshed. Much more energised, and much more passionately.
That way you can give your work the absolute best you’ve got to give, and then some. Your personality can be injected into that work and you can start enjoying the process again. But for now, you need to put it down and take a step back.
Like most things, recognising burnout as it comes up requires self-awareness
Being able to spot the small changes that add up to burnout is something that would not be possible without some measure of self-awareness. It is something that is often misunderstood. Self-awareness isn’t about disappearing off to the woods to find yourself, it’s not about becoming a monk, and it most definitely isn’t about achieving some zen state.
Self-awareness is much simpler than that. It is simply the act of looking inwards as objectively as you can and learning about yourself. If you would like some help with this I have already written about it here -> https://mybizacademy.co.uk/be-more-self-aware-its-not-hard but if you would like some 1:1 help from me then I can definitely help. Head over to my company website and send me a message. That can be done here ->https://mikethebizguy.co.uk/Contact