Beat that Burnout

KBB_batteriesSome recent medical issues of mine caused me to rethink a lot of the way I work and how I handle stress. In other words, I needed to recharge my batteries.

In a world where we seem to judge each other in terms of the hours we put into a project, I think we’ve created a work culture that promotes working longer hours for fewer, less rewarding outcomes. As a society we’re stressed out, less focused and worst of all, less satisfied. At least, I know I was. This leads to what I like to call burnout.

The problem with living in that kind of work culture is that we self-perpetuate the myth that if we just work longer and harder we’ll be more rewarded. What exactly are we awarding ourselves with if we’re tired and stressed out all the time? When did money and job titles becoming more important than sleeping? Sitting down to a meal with your family? Getting exercise?

Obviously, feeling burned out is sometimes unavoidable- major life events, seasonal extracurricular and work activities, personal crises – these are natural occurrences in the ebb and flow of life. It’s still okay to feel inadequate, or ill-equipped during these experiences. What’s most important is taking care of yourself, and harnessing the help of others around you during this time.

One of the solutions I have discovered that has been one of the most surprisingly beneficial to my own issues has been communication. No one should have to suffer alone. You’d be amazed to discover how many people are willing to offer their help or support during your time of difficulty. At the very least they are better able to understand your absence, lack of focus, or your appearance of disinterest. Professionally speaking, you may want to share this information with a select few at your workplace depending on the nature of your issue.

If you protect yourself by seeking the help you need early enough, you may be able to delegate certain projects to co-workers, or delay certain deadlines. Sympathetic bosses may offer opportunities for cut-backs or short-cuts. Take these when are you are able. Your responsibility at this time should be to yourself.

Personally speaking, learn when to say no to social commitments and be select about the personal projects you take on. Give your time and attention to the things that are of immediate priority- personal hygiene, adequate sleep, eating nutritionally, getting enough exercise and giving yourself the mental space to breathe and recuperate. You may want to check in with your doctor at this time to make sure there are no medical issues that could contribute to your stress, or level of burnout. Vitamin deficiencies, sleeping disorders or thyroid issues could all lead towards feelings of malaise. Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water can also help, as well as taking a multi-vitamin if your diet requires.

Type A people like myself will argue that they are superhuman and can do anything; most of us can if we put our minds to it. But our first responsibility is to ourselves, and to our own personal well-being. Learning how manage that in a crisis is the first step to empowering ourselves to work smarter instead of harder, and enjoying the benefits of a happy and fulfilling life, no matter what the world throws at us.

KBwB-BFlower-50What’s your best advice on dealing with a crisis? Is there something that’s worked for you in the past? Sharing is caring and I’d love for you to share yours below, or with me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com so that I might share them in a future post. No one should have to suffer through a crisis alone! We’re all here to help.

If you’re looking for more ways to find some balance in your life, I’m trying to figure it all out too here.

Book Review: Timothy Ferris on Scrunching Your Schedule

KBB_Book_Review_TimothyFerrisPeople are often surprised to find out that in addition to my freelancing career, I work part-time as an office administrator at a local family practice. It isn’t easy trying to balance a regular job between freelancing clients but I have to admit that one of the ways that I’ve achieved this is through Timothy Ferris’ technique that I like to call “schedule-scrunching”, as outlined in his bestselling book The Four-Hour Work Week.

Scrunching your schedule isn’t necessarily about sacrificing certain key elements of your workflow- for instance; it would be impossible for someone in a service-based business like my own to cut down on time spent with clients. Instead, making extra time during your work week depends on 1) figuring out which tasks can be streamlined or delegated; and 2) maximizing your schedule for efficiency by grouping together tasks.

Ferris sounds like he leads a pretty wild lifestyle- he dances competitively and travels the world- and he claims that his methodology presented in The Four Hour Work Week has allowed him the time and flexibility to pursue his passions. I’m a little skeptical about the feasibility of running a business using only a weekly four-hour marathon work session, but it’s definitely an attractive idea.

When applying this to my own schedule, I tried to make the most of the days when I work half-day shifts by scheduling client meetings or other appointments during the portion of the day I’m free. It means that for a few days every week I’m working my butt off but the payoff of building a couple of flex days into my schedule has allowed me the freedom to take on new clients, keep on top of housework, and develop personal projects.

For those of you who haven’t totally bought into the hype, there’s still lots of interesting tidbits on how to automate your business, on which tasks to delegate and how, and the most interesting of all (to the budget-obsessed like me), Ferris offers lots of different suggestions on how to cultivate the lifestyle that best suits you for as cheaply as possible. He covers everything from cutting down on business costs to finding cheap airfare so you can too make that dance competition on another continent.

As for me? I’m taking Timothy Ferris’ suggestions to heart, but I’m sticking to armchair travel for now.

KBwB-Flower-50

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Why Blog?

KBB_keyboard

Well, why not?

Blogs are a great way to express yourself creatively and emotionally. If you’re willing to set aside the time to explore the Internet, you can probably find dozens upon dozens of blogs that cover every subject from crazy things that your dad used to say (sound familiar?), to lists of awesome things that can improve a person’s day in many little ways (that probably sounds familiar too).

I guess that’s another reason people blog- a lot of these blogs have ended up becoming quite famous. Maybe your blog could end up being the ticket to your fifteen minutes of fame- although there is never a guarantee yours will enjoy the same amount of success!

Besides being an outlet for yourself personally, blogging as part of your business plan is often a smart move for those who feel like they have a lot of information to share with their clients. It’s a lot less intimidating than giving a lecture but requires less maintenance than a weekly newsletter. A blog can be maintained however and wherever is most convenient for you and can be updated as often as you wish.

Best of all, blogs can be a great way to let your clients get to know you on a personal level. We live in an age where we send quick one-line emails instead of handwriting business letters and sealing them with wax. We do business much more informally now! Clients are interested in hearing your thoughts on what is relevant to your business at this moment, whether it be your take on the current housing market or what you consider to be the best colours to paint your bathroom. Making a connection like this on a personal level may be the key to a good business relationship later on!

Having said that, I hope you get to know me a little more through my blog. My consulting business provides help for the people who need a little extra support when dealing with the everyday trials of running a small business. As such, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I’m excited to share with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the strategies currently working in your life too. Subscribe to my blog and let me know about yours. One of my favourite things to do is read, and I’d love to hear more about what you do.

Who knows? It could be the start of a beautiful blogging friendship.

KBwB-Flower-50

Let’s be blogging friends. Click here to read more about what I do, or visit business, baking, busy, book or best practices to find out what I like to write about. And if you really want to be super friends, I’m on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Instagram and I’m waiting to hear from you!