Sunday, February 7, 2010

Avoiding Burn Out When You've got too Many Plates to Spin

Whether we work for ourselves or someone else, every one of us will experience burnout at one time or another. You know the feeling - you’re tired, you lack enthusiasm, you crave a change and you ask yourself, “why am I doing this?”

I recently spoke with a couple who felt stretched to the max as they were starting a business while keeping their day jobs and raising their children. Both were tired, and both questioned if it was all worth it.
I can relate. Some days I feel like one of those clowns spinning plates, running from one thing to another and trying to keep all the plates from crashing to the ground. This pace can easily lead to burnout if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to avoid burnout:

Take care of yourself

You are your business. If you’re out of commission, chances are your business might be as well. Therefore, it’s good for business if you take the time to take care of yourself, including eating right, exercising, resting when you need to and trying to carve out some personal time each day.
Take a walk, play a round of golf or have lunch with a friend. You can’t keep up the pace of spinning those plates unless you’re healthy and have the energy to do so.

Get away

It can be difficult to take a vacation from your business or your job, but it’s critical if you want to avoid burnout. You need to get away from the daily routine for a while to rest, recharge and reflect.
If you have the flexibility that allows you to escape when you feel like you need to, do it. If not, then take out your calendar now and schedule a week or more for a vacation. Even if it’s months from now, knowing it is going to happen and making plans for it can help to alleviate burnout.

Create something new

I admit to being a “starter.” I like the process of creating something new, and once something is successfully up and running, I tend to get bored and burnt out.
This is a common challenge among entrepreneurs. If your business is up and running, or if you’ve been at your job for a while and are feeling bored, try to create something new within your existing business or job. This is a surefire way to rev up your enthusiasm for your work again.

Create a “feel good file”

It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of our work or business that we sometimes forget why we do what we do. It helps to be reminded now and again of the positive impact our work has on others.
Set up a file with copies of thank you letters and e-mails you receive from customers, co-workers or others. Include any awards, press coverage or commendations you’ve received for your work. When you start to feel burnt out or question why you’re doing it, pull out the “feel good file” and you’ll be reminded of how what you are doing matters. This fuel keeps many of us going.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back here next week with more tips for your small business. In the meantime, I’ve got some plates to spin!

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