The Spark Show Episode 36: How to Avoid Burnout

How to Avoid Burnout

the spark show Oct 03, 2019

Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I’ll be talking about the ONE thing that every influencer, content creator and entrepreneur experiences - and that is burnout. It’s a real thing, even for people who work a 9-to-5 job and are side-hustling because for most of us, we really love what we do, so we keep going and going, depleting our energy until there is nothing left - then we fall into burnout mode.  

Let’s dive into burnout! It looks different for everybody, but for me - it’s like a total creative block. When I’m burnt out, I don’t feel like doing anything. I don’t feel inspired at all, I’m kinda down with no energy. I’m tired and I just wanna watch a whole season or two or three on Netflix.

It usually happens when I’m working long hours, long days, non-stop, without giving myself a break. It happens a lot when my team and I are launching, setting something up, starting a new project. I usually like to go full-speed ahead and I realized that this is when I experience burnout. 

After several years of being in this business, I can start to see my patterns and trends so that I can start being aware of it and knowing what to do so it doesn’t keep happening. I mean, don’t get me wrong.

It still happens and it’s still gonna happen. It’s just knowing how to react to it and prevent it if possible. But there are always going to be stressful situations like this and sometimes it does get to you. 

As entrepreneurs, our success is our responsibility. So once you know that something is going to affect your productivity, you want to be aware of it and make sure you do what you can to prevent or lessen the probability of it happening more frequently. 

To be honest with you, when I first started out, I was going so hard for so long that I would be in burnout mode for sometimes a week or more and it would derail important dates and deadlines. I knew that if I continued to go super hard then have weeks of not being able to get work down, I wouldn’t be able to run a sustainable and successful business where I would have longer periods of productivity. 

So how do you prevent or decrease the probability of burnout? Good question. I’m still trying to figure this out - I’m definitely no expert. As creatives, we also get these bursts of inspiration and if you’re like me, you usually want to ride that wave until you can because it doesn’t come along every day. 

One way to cope is to restrict your work to certain hours, EVEN if you’re tempted to keep working. This means you have a start time and a stop time. It could mean that you start every day at 9am and you stop at 5pm if you do this full time. Or if you’re side hustling, then you work every night from 8-11pm only and that’s it. 

Sleep is something we’re always gonna need and in the first few years of starting my business, I had to compromise on it a lot. But I also knew that if I didn’t sleep enough, it would show in my photos and I wouldn’t feel good so that defeated the purpose.

So now, I make sure I always get enough sleep. And that number is different for everyone. A lot of it has to do with self-awareness and knowing what you have to do to feel good and function in the highest capacity possible. It’s your responsibility to know how much sleep you need, when you need to eat and how much you need to eat, all of that stuff. 

Another way to combat burnout is to take lots of breaks. There are times I remember working for hours on my computer and the next thing I know, I forgot to eat lunch and walk my dog. And although, I got a lot of work done, I’m usually not producing the level of work I want to be because...this thing that they call the law of diminishing returns.

 Studies have shown that the more work you do, the worse it gets because of things like attention, capacity, you get tired and all of that human stuff, because you know, we’re not robots. It makes sense that after a few hours or a lot of hours, our work probably isn’t as good as when we’re fresh and ready in the morning. 

That’s also another thing I recommend doing is to do the most important thing first. One thing we tend to do is to make these long to-do lists because yes, there’s a lot to get done and we want the satisfaction of crossing things off. But what usually happens, is we don’t get everything done in one day and then we’re disappointed.

So instead of setting yourself up for disappointment, I want you to just focus on completing one thing a day. Okay, if you’re an overachiever like me, you can bump that up to two or three. That way, when you get that one, two, or three things done, you did it! You accomplished your tasks for the day. If you end up doing other things then that’s extra, it’s icing on the cake! 

I’ve found that a lot of burnout has to do with managing our emotions and keeping them in check. If you’re continually giving yourself unrealistic deadlines, then your continuously disappointed and then you spend time being sad and down about it rather than actually getting work done 

So that leads me into another thing you can do to manage burnout, which is to plan accordingly. If you’re like me and want to get everything done as fast as possible, then this is for you. Sometimes, I don’t give myself realistic timelines and I want things to happen ASAP. But then of course, there are delays, other things come up and it takes an extra week or so, sometimes more. So what I’ve learned is - whatever timeline I think it’s gonna take, I double it. And that way, if I get it done sooner, it’s a plus. Rather than a minus because I didn’t get it done on time. This way, I account for things like delays, communication, opportunuties, etc. 

And so that is how you can say goodbye to burnout (at least for a little bit or as much as you can). Just to recap: 

  • Restrict your work hours
  • Take lots of breaks
  • Be self-aware (know how much sleep you need, when you need to eat)
  • Do the most important thing first
  • Focus only on 1-3 tasks per day
  • Manage your emotions
  • And lastly, plan accordingly

Those are my top tips to help you with burnout. I hope that you start practicing now and don’t wait for the burnout to happen. You’ll know when you’re there and you will hope that you started this sooner, like we all did. But don’t worry, it’s part of the process and part of this journey.

That’s it for today’s episode. Thank you for listening to the Spark Show and I’ll see you in the next one! 

Listen to the full episode here:

                           

Book a call with Gwen: 

thesparksociety.org/call

Listen to Previous Episodes: 

The CEO Mindset featuring Ali Daniel

Pick your Platform

Build Your Influence on LinkedIn featuring Brittany Krystle

Dealing with Haters

Building a Unique Brand with your Personality featuring Tyler J McCall

Influence = Impact

Using your Influence for Good featuring Ashley Fultz

 

                         Connect with Gwen Lane

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