Your business (or side hustle) occupies most of your waking thoughts.
And why shouldn’t it? It excites you! The possibilities are endless, the new ideas just keep coming, the to-do list is a mile long, and at the end of the day aren’t we supposed to be focusing on the things that bring us joy (and paychecks)?
Yes, we are. No doubt about it.
Even though the logical part of your brain knows that you can’t “do it all”, you’re still trying to.
Your health is starting to decline, but is it lack of sleep and exercise or subpar nutrition that’s to blame? Doesn’t matter...that can be explored when the business is at XXX level or you get done with XXX next big item on the never-ending to-do list.
You’re wondering if your thyroid has always been messed up or if that’s a new thing. Slow metabolism and weight gain are a part of getting older, right? But damn, you’re not that old. Why now?
Seriously, though, you used to be able to run on less sleep than this and feel great. Why does it feel like the more energy and focus you give your business, the quicker you burn out?
Is there a solution to entrepreneurial burnout (especially when you LOVE your biz)?
Of course there is! The problem isn’t your business. It isn’t your focus, or drive, or ambition or desire to follow your dreams.
The problem is truly the chemical (hormonal) imbalances that exist in your body due to prolonged periods of chronic stress. (Whether that stress is positive or negative.)
Chronic stress doesn’t have to be bad stress! Trying to juggle all the behind-the-scenes duties of your business or side hustle while still engaging in the creative side of things that really get your juices flowing - all while maintaining your wife/mother/friend/sister/human responsibilities - that’s stress, baby.
The sad truth is that our bodies get less and less able to deal with those stressors (good and bad) as they compound over time, so what used to be “all in a day’s work” might completely unravel you by 4pm these days.
You are not alone! Female entrepreneurs are especially likely to suffer from adrenal fatigue and the hormone imbalances that result because we literally cannot stop.
If you've wandered the halls of any boss babe Facebook groups or podcasts and blogs lately, you're probably feeling like exhaustion, burnout and even hospitalization are a badge of honor after launching a new product or business. Why do we do this to ourselves and then glorify it? It's insanity!
So did any of that sound familiar....
....or does any of this sound like you?
- Type-A perfectionista who would rather just handle every detail herself than have to watch someone else do it wrong.
- Control-freak volunteer maniac that always takes on a million obligations rather than delegate and feel like she’s not pulling her weight.
- Creative genius who chronically overbooks and overpromises (and finds herself up against deadlines and stressing the clock all the time).
- Disorganized disaster that thinks she doesn't have time to put systems in place in her business, so she spends the majority of her time searching her inbox and texts for appointment times, contact info and documents. (Now what was the name of that new client from last week?)
Some of that resonates with you. I can feel you nodding your head and rolling your eyes as you read through the list...but what do you do about it?
3 Ways to address business burnout and save your sanity
1. SAY NO TO DOING SH*T YOU HATE...OR AREN'T VERY GOOD AT.
This is my #1 health advice regardless of who I'm talking to or why they are asking me my opinion. Pretty much, across the board, we all need to hear this message: You have permission to quit doing shit you hate.
In our personal lives, this could look like over-scheduling, volunteering for things you don't want to do, always being the one to step up and get things done (even when someone else should do it), or toxic relationships that you know you should distance yourself from because they suck your energy dry.
In our businesses, though, this can look a little different. Sure, you should still distance yourself from relationships or people that suck you dry, in whatever sense that may be, but it's harder to see how your biz baby that you love is depleting you because, well, you love it!
This is where outsourcing and/or automating come in.
Believe me when I tell you that if there are tasks you do in the day-to-day of running your business that you don't like, you shouldn't be doing them. I know what you're thinking, because it's the same thought I have had many times: I have to do those tasks because no one can do them the right way.
There are actually only a few things that you are GREAT at, and those are the tasks you need to stick to. Gay Hendricks does a beautiful job of explaining this in his book The Big Leap, but I'll paraphrase: Stick to your Zone of Genius. Your Zone of Genius is the tiny portion of your business where you absolutely SOAR. You and only you can fill this role, and whatever is in your Zone of Genius makes your little heart sing.
And everything else? Outsource it to someone or something that can do it better and faster than you ever could, or just eliminate it altogether.
Newsflash: computers and software systems are fast. Batching all your social media content at the beginning of the month into a scheduler so you don't have to think about it again for 30 days is time well spent...unless social media is your Zone of Genius, in which case, live it up.
For the rest of us? Let your computer do the heavy lifting on a daily basis so you can spend your time and attention on the parts of your business that bring you joy. (Social media is just an example. Maybe you need to automate your email responses, batch your email newsletters, set up workflows for your new client intake process or invest in some systems that are more user-friendly than your current 1,000 step workaround in the free version of MailChimp.)
What if you have already leveraged software and systems to their fullest potential and you're still stuck doing tasks that suck the life out of you and keep you from your Zone of Genius?
Well, it sounds to me like you're ready to hire some support or just eliminate unnecessary tasks. You can't do it all, and your body is telling you to quit trying to! Hire a house cleaner, a great bookkeeper or accountant and by all means: Get your booty onto some Facebook groups like this one and ask for recommendations for a virtual assistant that specializes in the rest of the work that you're looking to outsource.
Don't even think about hiring someone with your same skillset. You need the yin to your yang for this one - find a VA that specializes in exactly the tasks that you loathe doing - he or she can do them in half the time and twice as good - and happily pay your new VA to take those tasks off your plate.
The amount of energy you will restore and "mental weight" that will be taken off your shoulders by knowing that you don't have to spend your precious time and attention on the tasks that you dread will result in so much more productivity and growth for your business. (Not to mention the stress reduction that will help your body heal.)
RECAP: Create space in your daily life for rest: Batch and automate with social media schedulers (I love the Later app) and automatic email responses, then hire support for household tasks like a house cleaner, and finally the holy grail: Outsource the repetitive tasks that take you too long to muck through and anything else in your business that doesn't make your heart sing. Does that overwhelm you? At the very least, eliminate any obligations that you can delegate or just straight up bail on from your calendar, and allow yourself to rest instead.
2. ADRESS THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF CHRONIC STRESS....IT'S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD.
Speaking of stress reduction: Let's not minimize the effects of chronic stress on our bodies. As women, dainty flowers that we are, we need to be aware that our hormones suffer considerably from chronic stress. (Whether the stressor is good or bad.) Adrenal fatigue doesn't discriminate; in fact, type-A boss babe badasses like us are way more likely to suffer the effects after years of burning the candle at both ends and taking on way too much. As unfair as it may seem, the late nights and caffeine-fueled existence that you used to thrive on isn't serving you, anymore.
How does that saying go? Youth is wasted on the young? Yeah...that.
There are very specific dietary and lifestyle tweaks that are needed to heal adrenal fatigue once your health is suffering from chronic stress, which is why I have an entire online course that teaches the step-by-step process. You can find that RIGHT HERE.
Some of the ways that a female entrepreneur needs to address her fatigue and business burnout seem counterintuitive, but I assure you, this stuff works:
- Take a hiatus from high intensity workouts (anything that makes you feel depleted an hour+ afterwards) Running and Crossfit used to make you feel strong and energized, but not these days! Take a fricken nap and get back in the gym when you don't feel so dang tired....your overall health is much more important than a few costly endorphins.
- Eat MORE CARBS from whole food sources (Potatoes, sweet potatoes, lots of veggies...and who says you can't eat some white rice? Maybe your body NEEDS some damn rice and your squeaky clean diet is actually hurting you right now!)
- Ditch bananas and plantains for now...the high potassium content drives down your sodium levels, which your adrenals are screaming for right now. (Which you already know because you're probably craving salt like crazy.)
- Speaking of which: Add unrefined sea salt to your water. You need those trace minerals!
- Wean off of caffeine (This one is usually where the resistance really rears its head, but trust me: caffeine is stressing your adrenals out and is masking how tired you really are.)
Those suggestions are just a snapshot of what we teach in full The Adrenal Fatigue Detox course and the free #AFDetoxChallenge course, but can you see what I mean? A bit of this stuff is WAY outside the realm of what you would expect a health professional to advocate.
No exercise? More carbs? SALT? We'll all die!
Truly, though, that's what your body needs when you're in a state of adrenal fatigue, which is exactly what business burnout and exhaustion is. Less frenzy, less intense workouts, less food restriction, less demands on your time, less strict deadlines, less late nights, and less superwoman. With less of all that, there will be enough time for extra rest, a few more carbs, more delegating and more sleep.
I know what you're thinking, though, because I have had the exact same thought and so have many of my clients: If I give up my workouts and start eating carbs, I will gain even more weight than I already have. On that note, I will offer this thought:
Your thyroid imbalance, food sensitivities, infertility, autoimmune disease diagnosis(es), sensitive digestion, insomnia and acid reflux are not a coincidence, nor are they necessary a product of "getting older."
These are all symptoms of adrenal fatigue and are probably the result of how hard you've been hustling in your business and with your overall high-energy lifestyle. If you keep doing what got you to this point in the first place, you will continue to make yourself sicker, which usually makes weight loss and healing even harder.
RECAP: Time to flip the script and do the opposite of what you have been: Rest, rest and rest with a side of healthy carbs. Your workouts will still be there when your energy returns, but for now it's time to slow down and take some very specific lifestyle considerations to heart, or your business and health are going to continue to continue to suffer. (And who is going to keep your business running and dollars coming in when you wind up in the hospital with severe health issues?)
3. GET ORGANIZED, ALREADY....YOU CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO.
If you're still reading this, you must be serious about reclaiming your health and finding balance between hustle in your business and actually living in other areas of your life. Cheers to that!! I wish I had read something like this when I was starting my real estate brokerage, but that's a story for another day.
Once you've batched, automated and delegated as much as you can in your business, and cleared your personal calendar of as many obligations as possible, rested more and given yourself some grace to slow down and take care of yourself, what's next?
In my opinion, the way to move forward in your creating more profit and ease in your business (and life) without creating the same frenzy as before is to nail down the systems and processes in your business and home, and keep them all organized in one place.
What does that even mean?
For me, this means storing the links to my files on my Google Drive, Dropbox, Calendar, Client management database, workflows, login details, expense spreadsheets, client testimonials, screenshots, monthly metric tracking and more IN ONE CENTRAL LOCATION THAT IS SEARCHABLE ON MY PHONE OR COMPUTER.
*Drop the mic*
Boom. I started using Trello in February of 2017 and it completely changed my business (and household, to be honest) because instead of incessantly searching my inbox, Google drive folders and text messages for important details, which took quite a bit of time considering how often I was having to do it, I was able to link all of those tools I was already using into one central location in Trello.
You know what I'm talking about: Re-reading through 10 emails with ambiguous subject lines to get one piece of information because you can't remember when or what email it was in....this is not time well-spent.
Having everything in one place freed up so much mental space that I didn't even realize I was expending on trying to remember way too many things.
Type-A business boss babes like us don't even realize how many thoughts we are juggling until they are all contained on checklists, calendars and workflows in one central location where they aren't going to slip through the cracks.
You know that underlying feeling of anxiety that you are dropping the ball on something or forgetting an obligation but you don't know what it is?
I never have that feeling, anymore. Ever.
How about the phenomenon of mass emails or group texts to communicate with your team about a project?
Amie and I created an entire course using team Trello boards and didn't have to email each other about anything. Ever. We were able to comment on and add attachments to the pertinent card for the task we were referencing and nothing got lost in the shuffle or our inboxes.
Is all this talk of boards and cards confusing the hell out of you? Yeah, I didn't get it at first, either. Trello boards are full of drag-and-drop lists and cards that you can customize to organize your business (and household) in any way that makes sense for you. (Checklists, links, attachments, conversations, etc...) Does that sound a little overwhelming?
Does that Trello board template give you anxiety or hope? Fear not! I will teach you how to tweak all my templates for your business and household....I wouldn't steer you wrong.
RECAP: If the thought of automating and outsourcing is overwhelming the hell out of you because you don't even know how to convey your business processes to an assistant in the first place, then allocating $37 and 2 hours of your time to Take Charge with Trello is priority numero uno for organizing your thoughts and relieving the underlying panic that something is falling through the cracks.
PHEW, THAT WAS A LOT.
Let's land this plane, shall we?
First and foremost, you are in good company as a burned-out boss babe. We don't know when to quit because we are so driven and passionate about our purpose, and since exhaustion seems like a right of passage, we feel like our bodies have to pay the price for our success.
Yikes. You now know that there is a better way!!
You are creative and motivated and ready really rock your business with some focused attention to taking as much as you can off your plate and incorporating more rest into your life.
That's easy, right? ;)
As long as you are giving yourself more grace and rest, and focusing on streamlining your processes and focus, you're on the right track.
Be honest: Are you feeling more overwhelmed than ever after reading all those suggestions?
Start by visiting my free resource library (click the button below) to browse the dietary and lifestyle cheatsheets, protocols, guides, ebook and free course that I have available (for free!) and just get started somewhere. You can tackle the business automation and organizing when you're feeling a little more like yourself.