“You can do anything but not everything.”
This seems like an extremely contradictory post for me to write at the moment as I am currently coming out of what feels like a period of real stress and exhaustion myself but that’s exactly why I thought I’d pull together my top tips on how to avoid burning out in your first year of business.
Burn out [NOUN] Feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion, due to stress from working with people under difficult or demanding conditions.
Choosing to run your own business is an exciting journey but going it alone and being a one (wo)man band is a brave decision for many reasons. As well as being in charge of making sure all of the day to day work is taken care of there are also a lot of extra stresses that come hand in hand with being self-employed. Unpaid invoices, bringing in new clients, dealing with your accounts, filing your tax return, the list goes on and on!
Not having any colleagues to depend on or a manager to guide you when things get tough can be extremely difficult to get used to and you might find that there are times when you have a wobble and wonder whether all of the extra stress is really worth it.
So whether you’re feeling low, run down, exhausted or on the edge of burn out, theses tips are for you!
This is something that should be implemented from day one, just because you receive emails at 9pm doesn’t mean you need to reply to them at 9pm. Make sure you set working hours and stick to them!
I usually try to keep to the routine of working 9-5 as it fits in with Adam’s schedule but occasionally I’ll make the most of the flexibility freelancing offers and switch things up. With that in mind I’ll hope to have finished up my work for the day and be wrapping things up when Adam gets home at around 6:30, that way I can leave my laptop in my office and spend the evening cooking, watching TV and generally just chilling out!
It can SO easy to get into the practice of being at your clients beck and call in the evenings and weekends but implementing these clear working boundaries early on makes everything a whole lot easier.
Top Tip: If you’re worried about your clients not getting a reply why not add an out of office to inform anyone emailing you outside of your working hours that you will get back to them the following day.
When you work for several clients or have a long list of customers interested in your products it can sometimes feel like you’re being pulled from pillar to post as you’re only one person and only have so many hours in the day! This is the exact reason why you need to work on prioritising your tasks to make sure you’re not overwhelmed by your to-do list and have time to fit everything in.
I’ve heard of lots of different techniques for to-do lists from focusing on three main tasks a day to getting everything down on paper so your mind is clearer. Just focus on whatever works for you!
I’ve also recently started time blocking my days which is a tip I picked up from Holly. By splitting out my tasks and physically inputting them into my Google calendar it means my working days are a lot more scheduled and I have a much clearer idea of everything I need to get done.
Take Time Off
Holidays might be more difficult to arrange and usually take a lot more time to prepare for but they are SO needed when you carry the stresses of running a business.
Whether it’s a full two weeks in the sun or several long weekends in the countryside (may I suggest avoiding a city break unless you want to come back even more exhausted than when you left) make sure you’re planning in some real rest time away from your laptop.
If can be daunting to disconnect from your clients and customers but as long as your forewarn them and pop on an out of office for the time you’re away what is the worst that can happen?! I’m pretty sure the world won’t stop spinning and things will still be waiting for you when you get back!
Top Tip: If you’re planning a day off make sure you put it straight into your diary! It can be so easy to pack our diaries full of commitments with clients and customers and let our own needs slip to the bottom of the pile!
Detach From Your Phone
Since running my business full time I feel like my phone has been permanently attached to my hand which isn’t good for anyone’s mental health. Just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to ‘on’.
I’ve spoken before about turning off your social media notifications to make sure you’re not being distracted but recently I’ve taken to putting my phone out of sight so I’m not tempted to keep picking it up. I definitely agree that it’s simply a habit, and one that I need to break if I want my working days to be more productive.
In the evenings I try to do minimal scrolling, especially not before bed as there’s nothing worse than filling your head with thoughts of comparison.
Get Enough Rest
I can’t emphasise how important rest is when you have a busy working routine. If I’ve had an evening where I’ve worked late into the night I really do feel it the next day. My brain is never working at full capacity and I usually really struggle to stay focused for any length of time.
I rely on eight hours a night and I also find that it makes a huge difference if I decide to spend half an hour reading before bed as opposed to simply watching TV or scrolling on my phone. At the moment I’m making my way through Sarah Knight’s series of books which are perfect for winding down after a busy day. I also rely on my trusty This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray to send me off into a relaxing slumber.
Top Tip: Make sure the blue light filter is activated on your phone if you are to use it in the evenings so it doesn’t have as greater impact
Have you ever suffered with burn out? What did you do to help you overcome it?
Daisy London were kind enough to let me select an item from their range of Women’s Necklaces in which I choose the gorgeous Rose Quartz Healing Stone Necklace. Rose Quartz is said to have been an expression of love throughout the ages and is believed to promote the building of deep and meaningful bonds in relationships.