As a business owner there’s a thousand different hats to wear, and seeing clients is…
This week we’re discussing burnout; what it is and what you can do to fight against it.
So today I thought I’d discuss a topic that may be all-too-familiar to you. It’s a big sign that you’re heading toward burnout, or maybe even already there. It is the downfall of so many business owners and why they just can’t seem to progress like they want.
What is it? Procrastination. Procrastination is a serious struggle for so many people. If you’re one of those lucky ones who just does everything as soon as it needs to be done and you never put anything off, just click away now because this ain’t for you…and I might just hate you a little…it’s really jealousy, but you get the drift. Most of us do it, right? We know stuff needs to get done; we need to send out that email campaign for our holiday specials or we need to figure out what our specials are in the first place. Or we have to send out those “haven’t seen you in a while” mailers or emails. Or we have to get the bookkeeping caught up or taxes done. Whatever it is, you just can’t seem to make yourself do it. It just never seems to be the top priority at the moment. But when you find yourself constantly procrastinating, especially about the things that could get you new clients, fill some appointment slots, keep you in business, or really move your business forward, that’s not a good sign. In fact, that’s often a sign that you’re on your way to burnout. Because you’re not doing some pretty basic stuff to keep your business going.
Burnout is basically a physical and/or mental collapse, so to speak, due to overwork and stress. When you find that you’re physically and emotionally exhausted all the time; you’re really irritable; you’re constantly feeling stressed; you dread what was once enjoyable; you’re getting sick or injured often; all of these are good indications that you’re burning out. It happens to best of the best, so don’t listen when you hear some guru tell you how they’ve never dealt with it because they’re so Zen or whatever and buy their program. I call B.S. I don’t care how much you love your job, how much you enjoy your day-to-day tasks, it is in our human nature to get burned out. We get tired of doing the same things over and over again, we need a change, or we just need a break from it all. So we procrastinate and we put these things off. The not-so-important things, and sometimes the really important things. It’s kind of like our way of controlling a situation, or just not facing something that we see as stressful. But here’s the thing…you’re already stressed about it.
Let’s say for example that it’s getting your taxes done. Is that big box of receipts and pile of paperwork sitting on your desk, is it going away because you refuse to acknowledge it all and do the hard part of getting it done? Or is it stressing you out to see it sitting there, taunting you? Is it stressing you out to see that on your to-do list every week, only to move it to the next week, and then the next week, and the next week? Which is more stressful; facing it head on and getting it out of the way in a single day or a week or whatever, so you can just be done with it and no longer have that hanging over your head; or do you want to sit with that nagging stress staring at you for a few more weeks or months by putting it off yet again? I mean, I know that I can sit here and say just do it, like the Nike slogan is some miraculous mantra that’ll get you motivated, but that’s not the way it works is it?
You have to come up with a way to create your own motivation around this. Whether that’s internal, you build it up in your mind that you got this and you’re tackling this or that project no matter what; or an external motivator like a weekend away to celebrate that you finally took care of XYZ. You’ve got to find what works for you.
But before you figure out what is going to work for you, there’s an important subject that needs to be covered…and that is the things that can come disguised as procrastination. Because sometimes it’s more than just flat out procrastinating. It’s really perfectionism or a need for organization or planning or an arbitrary list of priorities or a fear of failure, or really anything else. I’m not procrastinating, I’m just not going to worry about bookkeeping until I have the perfect system in place (perfectionism). I’m not procrastinating, I’m just waiting to have things set up a certain way (the need for organization). I’m not procrastinating, I’m just going to put my website design on the backburner until I have every detail mapped out (planning). I’m not procrastinating, there’s just more important things to take care of, even though this is really important (priorities). I’m not procrastinating, I just don’t know that it’s worth all that work if it doesn’t pan out (fear of failure). Each of the things you find yourself putting off for another time, do they fit any of that? It’s a sneaky disguise. But they really go hand in hand, and simply saying ‘do it’ isn’t enough. You need to find the reason behind it. Are you procrastinating because of perfectionism, a need for organization, planning, priorities, or a fear of failure?
Figure out the root cause, the real reason you’re procrastinating. Then, and only then, will you be able to fight the battle against it and stop burnout in its tracks. So what have you been procrastinating? What’s the real reason behind that procrastination? And what are you going to do about it?