This is the time of year when everyone thinks about goals and what they want to achieve in the upcoming year. I am one of those folks that have written a lot about the importance of setting goals and the implementation of those goals.
But I think there is another subject that is important to cover at this time and that is how those same goals can lead to burnout. Avoiding burnout is not as easy as it sounds when you are an entrepreneur. It is the very nature of an entrepreneur to keep going when everyone else has thrown in the towel. Entrepreneurs are known for their refusal to give up. This very trait that separates us from the rest of the folks is the very trait that can cause us to crash and burn.
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Many of us tend to set big goals in our businesses. In fact it’s not uncommon to set goals that are so big that they would be almost impossible to actually accomplish and still “have a life”. Entrepreneurs aren’t really known for being good at pacing themselves.
What generally happens is that we work until we are ready to drop. Day after day we work late; we work on weekends and holidays chasing those big, lofty goals. Don’t get me wrong; I am a big proponent of setting goals that stretch you. But you have to be realistic at the same time.
Finding balance can be a tough thing to do. I have found in my own business that when I have too many big projects on the table, I fail to get any of them completed in a timely manner. Having too many “incompletes” weighs me down and actually prevents me from being as productive as I would otherwise be. It can also be downright depressing. Often when this happens, we feel like we have failed when in reality, we just have put too much on our plate at one time.
Have you ever read a book that was so full of information, tips and tools that you wanted to implement all of them in your business? Ask yourself what happened later when you looked back at those great ideas. I’ll bet you failed to put any of those things into place. Once again, there was just too much to tackle at one time.
Getting a Handle on Information Overload and Burnout
Preventing burnout will require you to stop doing some of the things you currently do and in most cases you probably find this is hard to do. But if you don’t make these changes, over time your health and your wealth will suffer.
Here Are 6 Steps You Can Take
1. Just pick 3 or 4 big projects at most to put on your goals list this year; no more. There will always be day to day activities in your business that will soak up a large portion of your day.
2. Figure out a reasonable schedule for the implementation of your goals that doesn’t involve working long hours and weekends on a regular basis. It’s OK to do that from time to time but it shouldn’t be a regular thing.
3. Get some help. We have discussed outsourcing before. If you haven’t done it yet, decide that this is the year you will take some steps to make that a reality in your business. Here is an article I wrote on this topic you can refer to.
You can hire an actual person either full time or part-time for your business, or you can look into virtual assistants for some tasks. If you have a direct mail program for your business, that job can be easily outsourced.
4. Look at all of that information that hits your inbox every day. Do you really need to be on all of those lists? Are you really going to miss out on the “next big thing” if you hit the unsubscribe button?
5. Schedule a vacation. Whether you plan to take an actual vacation or just take a week off and rest, this is vital to your well-being and for avoiding burnout.
6. Get a hobby or just go have fun.
Avoiding burnout actually requires you to quit working, give you brain and your body a rest, and to have interests outside of work. When you don’t take these breaks your body will often handle this for you; it will typically show up in the form of illness. That’s not the kind of break any of us wants.
I would love to hear how you prevent burnout
Photo Credit: Magnus.