We live in a rapidly moving world where everyone seems to be starting a family, running a home business, and somehow they still manage to hit the gym 6 days a week. So why is it that we start off with this great sense of power and motivation, but somewhere along the way you begin to feel both physically, and mentally exhausted? You try to push through it, and your brain just won’t budge…you’re burnt out. You aren’t alone, even I have found myself stalled out, staring at the project and trying to convince myself that it’s definitely going to happen.
With 5 kids, a greenhouse, and a coaching business to take care of, I’ve had to create my own way to juggle it all successfully. It’s not easy and it does require discipline and internal willpower, but you can create new habits and develop a stronger mindset.
Do the Hard Stuff Early
When you have an intimidating list of tasks to complete before the end of the day, it’s tempting to knock the easy items off first because you “can get them done faster.” Or at least that’s what we like to tell ourselves! I know you want to avoid that massive mountain of work, but do you really want to climb it late at night when you should be getting rest? Stop procrastinating and get those tough tasks out of the way as early as possible. When you finish off the more difficult items on your list at the start of your day, it’s all downhill from there.
Use the momentum you’ve built to tie up loose ends on your larger projects for the day. Worry about moving on to the easier ones later on. Before you know it, everything on the list is done and you can sleep peacefully without waking up at night in terror every 3 hours.
Recognize Burnout Before it Starts
Sure, some of us are workaholics who can survive on caffeine and 4 hours of actual rest; I am not one of those people. If you’re reading this, you probably aren’t either, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When you aren’t a Duracell bunny though, don’t try to fool yourself into believing you can just keep going and going. After so many hours of working, your body begins to let you know that it’s time for a break.
You probably start off your “work shift” focused and determined, but after a while, you notice you’re making more mistakes than usual. You find yourself getting confused and producing fewer results than you were earlier on in the day. Once you reach this point, it’s time to stop and give your brain a little time to recharge. This doesn’t mean you should get distracted by dirty dishes in the sink or that appointment you’ve been trying to make for weeks now.
If you find yourself snacking a lot more than usual and eating poorly or having less energy because you aren’t exercising as much as you should, take it as a sign of burnout.
Keep Busy Work and Serious Work Separate
If I’m not working at optimal levels, my clients don’t get the results they need. On work days, I dedicate the majority of the day strictly to fitness coaching. On the days when I’ve only got a few appointments, I do my best to do things like cleaning up the house, taking care of dishes, paying the bills, and the things that tend to keep us busy.
Try to do these tasks opposite to the days that you’re working on the projects that actually pay the bills. Remember, there’s a big difference between burnout and distraction. Make sure you recognize that before you assume you’re too tired, you’re capable of much more than you think! If your kids are reaching that age where it’s time to share some household responsibility, have them help you with the vacuuming and scrubbing down bathrooms.
Dividing up household chores sets a good example for them and builds a strong sense of character and personal pride. This takes some of the load off of your shoulders as well and gives you more time to focus on your work.
Be Ready to Hold Yourself Accountable
The fact is, we already know what we need to do, we just don’t always do it. Take a moment to sit down and realistically decide how much you’re able to take on between your personal life and your work life. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what your limits are and how far you can push them. When things get really hectic in your work life, not everyone will understand why they haven’t heard from you in awhile.
Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and want the same things that you’re looking for in life. Sometimes gaining success in your life requires such a level of focus that only those who have the same mindset will understand. Find other women who have the same desires in their business and careers and ask them how they keep themselves from burnout. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there will always be someone out there who has been through or is going through the same struggles that you are.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that you are in control of your own choices and decisions. We can’t blame our spouses, children, friends, or family for our shortcomings; at the end of the day, you’ve got to have the willpower necessary to achieve what you want out of life. If you’re experiencing more burnout than usual, consider taking a little time off, say, a week or so. You should find yourself feeling refreshed and ready to work again. If not, ask yourself whether or not you’re following the methods I’ve provided for you.
Avoiding burnout means you must be honest with yourself. If you know you’re making excuses or taking shortcuts somewhere, re-evaluate and keep pushing forward.
Fitness & Mindset Coach
Wife & Mom of 5
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