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How to Overcome Burnout While Staying Productiveby@scottdclary
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How to Overcome Burnout While Staying Productive

by Scott D. ClaryFebruary 10th, 2023
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As entrepreneurs, we know all too well how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle of trying to make your business successful. Hours quickly turn into days which turn into weeks gone by with barely even a break for food or water.  This intense hustle can be useful at times, and it certainly is very productive, but it’s important to keep things in check.  More often than not, this intensity of hustle can quickly turn into burnout. And if left unchecked, this burnout can be detrimental not only to your business but to your own health as well.  But don't worry – despite how it may feel – it is possible to overcome burnout and find massive success as an entrepreneur.  In my recent conversation with the legend David Carlin of Residual Payments, we talked about many things, such as e-commerce, how to build a side hustle, and whether to invest in real estate or crypto. We also talked about David’s beliefs about burnout and how he, as one of the busiest people I have ever interviewed, manages it.  In this newsletter, we'll explore some strategies that have helped David, myself, and other entrepreneurs I have spoken to find balance and avoid burnout.
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As entrepreneurs, we know all too well how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle of trying to make your business successful. Hours quickly turn into days which turn into weeks gone by with barely even a break for food or water. 

This intense hustle can be useful at times, and it certainly is very productive, but it’s important to keep things in check. 

More often than not, this intensity of hustle can quickly turn into burnout. And if left unchecked, this burnout can be detrimental not only to your business but to your own health as well. 

But don't worry – despite how it may feel – it is possible to overcome burnout and find massive success as an entrepreneur. 

In my recent conversation with the legend David Carlin of Residual Payments, we talked about many things, such as e-commerce, how to build a side hustle, and whether to invest in real estate or crypto. We also talked about David’s beliefs about burnout and how he, as one of the busiest people I have ever interviewed, manages it. 

In this post, we'll explore some strategies that have helped David, myself, and other entrepreneurs I have spoken to find balance and avoid burnout.

What is Burnout?

First, let's define burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It can lead to a range of negative consequences, including decreased productivity, impaired decision-making, and even physical health problems.

Burnout can be caused by long working hours, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of control over your own success.

If you’ve ever woken up and felt completely drained, had no motivation to get through the day, were extra irritable and unable to think clearly - you’ve likely been in a state of burnout. These states can last a few days or, if left unchecked, can last weeks or even months. 

Lots of entrepreneurs I have spoken to about this have come to realize that they were, in fact, burned out for weeks but didn’t know what was causing it or what to call it. Knowing what burnout is and recognizing it when its symptoms show is crucial to handling it effectively. 

How To Overcome Burnout

42% of entrepreneurs claimed they had experienced high levels of burnout in the last year. The question isn’t whether or not you will experience it as an entrepreneur, the question is when.

So then, the next big question is - how can we avoid burnout and stay healthy and productive as entrepreneurs? 

It’s important to break this down and to really understand where burnout comes from, how to recognize its onset, and how to deal with it when it shows up. I’ve had to deal with this several times in my own entrepreneurial journey, and it’s not always easy. 

I wish that when I was coming up as an entrepreneur I had someone explain to me what this was and how to best get through it.

Since I didn’t have that, I want to do my part and share the tips I wish I had while I was going through this. 

Recognize The Warning Signs 

The first step to overcoming burnout is to identify the warning signs. 

These warning signs can include unusual fatigue, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and a lack of motivation. If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to take action before the situation worsens. 

If you let these warning signs go by unnoticed and don’t take the time to address them, they can very quickly snowball out of control. 

Once you’ve identified the warning signs, it’s important to take steps to address the underlying causes. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks, it may be necessary to delegate some of them to a team member or outsource them.

Self-awareness and knowing when you are at your limit are very important skills for entrepreneurs to have, and they will save you tons of pain and suffering in your business life. 

Take Care of Your Physical Health

This might seem obvious, but it's easy to neglect our own well-being when we're busy running our businesses. It’s all too easy to put the business's needs ahead of our own. The next thing we know, it’s been two days, and all we’ve eaten is one bagel.

When you take care of your body, it pays dividends to your business. When you are healthy, well-fed, and well-slept you are more productive, more focused, and more enjoyable to be around. 

Focus on the big three when it comes to taking care of your physical health. 

Sleep. Getting enough sleep is critical for your overall health and productivity. Sleep is when the brain is able to repair itself and when it’s able to process and store all the new information it took in during the day. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to ensure you’re getting enough rest.

Nutrition. It’s easy to forget to eat healthily when you’re working long hours and have a million things on your mind. But it’s essential to eat regularly, to eat proper portion sizes, and to make sure you’re getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals. Skip the takeout for every meal and try to do some meal prep, or use a meal prep service to ensure you are eating healthy, whole-food meals as often as you can.

Exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to reduce stress levels and get your mind off the business for a while. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a short walk around the block, a quick game of pickleball, or a weight-lifting session, it can make a world of difference.

Try to schedule regular bouts of exercise 2-3 times a week and you will immediately notice the difference.

Set Boundaries and Establish a Work-Life Balance

It's important to set limits on how much time you spend working and make sure to schedule time for rest, relaxation, and other activities that bring you joy. This can be hard for entrepreneurs because our work is often our passion, but it's crucial to make time for other aspects of our lives too.

Studies have shown that taking breaks from your work, whether short breaks for a walk or a coffee or longer multi-day breaks, have dramatic effects on productivity and employee well-being. 

Remember to schedule a few short breaks throughout the day, as well as some long breaks to take some time to rest, recharge and enjoy the other areas of your life.

Find Ways to Manage Stress

This is one of the most important things you will ever learn as an entrepreneur. Your whole professional life will consist mostly of stressful situations, stressful people, and overcoming stressful obstacles. It’s vital that you have a strategy to manage all of this stress.

This could include techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. You could also try writing in a journal or talking to a therapist to help you process your thoughts and emotions. 

As I already mentioned, exercise is another great way to manage stress, and it has been my go-to for several years now. Wherever I’m feeling more stressed than usual, a nice 30-minute workout is just what Dr. Scott ordered. 

Seek Support From Others

Building a strong network of supportive friends, family, and colleagues can help you stay motivated and on track. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It's okay to admit that you can't do it all on your own – in fact, it's essential to have a supportive network to turn to.

A supportive network can provide motivation and encouragement. When you're feeling burnt out, it can be easy to lose motivation and feel like you're not making progress. Having a supportive network of friends, family, and colleagues who believe in you and your business can help you stay motivated and push through.

Supportive people can offer valuable perspectives. When you're in the thick of running a business, it can be hard to see the bigger picture. A supportive network can provide valuable perspective and help you see things in a different light. This can be especially helpful when you're facing a difficult decision or feeling overwhelmed.

A supportive network can provide practical help. Running a business can be demanding, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. Whether it's help with a specific task or just an ear to listen, a supportive network can provide the practical help you need to get through tough times.

Seeking support can also help you feel less isolated. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience at times, especially if you're working from home or don't have a lot of in-person contact with others. Having a strong supportive network can help you feel less isolated and give you a sense of community.

Know When to Walk Away

This was one of the most interesting points that David brought up in our conversation - knowing that as an entrepreneur, you have the power to walk away. 

We tend to sacrifice ourselves for our businesses, and all of us do this for different reasons, whether it’s the money, the freedom, the impact, or just the love of the game. However, we need to understand that this sacrifice should only be pushed so far. 

There comes a point where we need to be able to say enough is enough. 

If you are waking up every day dreading the day ahead, hating your life, hating your business, and hating your colleagues, then maybe it’s time to consider if moving on is the right move for you. 

Managing your finances correctly and not splurging on every vacation, new car, or luxury shirt that you see will help a lot with this. If you have a little bit of money saved up, it makes walking away from a soul-crushing position much easier. 

Wrap Up

How do you respond to the feelings of burnout when they arise in your own life? Has this raised a few questions for you? 

Perhaps you're realizing you have felt burnt out for a while now, but didn’t know what was causing it. Recognizing the signs is the most important first step for managing burnout. 

So, from now on, when you start to feel the signs of burnout flaring up, remember our advice:

  • Take care of the big three: Sleep, nutrition, and diet
  • Set boundaries and establish a balance in your work and personal life
  • Find healthy ways to manage your stress
  • Seek support from those around you
  • Know when to walk away

Remember, burnout is a common problem that many entrepreneurs face. But with the right strategies and support, it's possible to overcome burnout and find success as an entrepreneur. 

If you’d like to hear the full interview, be sure to check it out on my Success Story YouTube channel.

The lead image for this article was generated by HackerNoon's AI Image Generator via the prompt "stressed office worker".