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September 2, 2021
Burnout is an issue that many business owners and entrepreneurs face, but when it comes to blogging, many more factors come into play. When you run a blog, it’s likely that you are the face of the brand, which brings a personal element – something the typical brand or business does not have to struggle with. Aside from just business owners, many people can get burnt out by social media as a casual user, but what about when it’s your job to share your personal life online? Sometimes it’s not an option to take a break and remain a responsible professional at the same time. When these two worlds collide, finding balance can almost seem impossible. After being in this industry for 10 years, I’ve battled my fair share of burnout, but this summer was more of a struggle than I’m used to.
You might have noticed (probably not) that I haven’t published a blog post in over a month. I’ve been overworked, uninspired, and completely drained by traveling, web design, and consulting jobs. Blogging is what I love most, yet I’ve let it fall by the wayside to cater to clients, friends, and family. Finding a balance is something I have always struggled with–and I’m not alone–especially in the United States. And the new normal of working from home makes separating from work more difficult than ever.
Here are some things I find help fight burnout – and make running a business from home more manageable:
Set Realistic Expectations
Both for your clients and yourself. As a business owner, I take pride in going above and beyond, but sometimes that can bite me in the ass. Clients come to expect more than what they paid for, which can get really stressful. Be intentional about setting expectations from the beginning and don’t be afraid to communicate any added fees there may be for additional work.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Setting expectations goes for timelines as well. I always try to give myself more time than I think I need since life happens and things always pop up. It’s still not enough sometimes, so my new rule is to double how long I think it will take and if I’m early, then what a pleasant surprise! Imagine having extra time! After all, we are all human and need time to ourselves every now and then. Speaking of…
Take Care of Yourself
This is the one thing that I struggle with the most. I do not prioritize my physical or mental health in the slightest, which is the biggest contributor to burnout. Ever since I got my Peloton, I’ve been much better about moving during the day, but I definitely still struggle. I forget to eat more than I care to admit. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to yourself like I tend to do. It’s something I’m constantly working on, but recognizing it is the first step.
Include Office Hours & Response Time Estimates in Your Email Signature or Autoreply
This is another item that can help manage expectations in a clear and professional way. If you don’t want to have an autoreply on for all emails, then add your office hours in your signature. Anyone you communicate with will surely see this and take note. In turn, it will alleviate that pressure to reply right away.
It might involve taking a pay cut yourself at first, but finding good help can work wonders for avoiding burnout! Finding great employees or contractors is definitely hard, but once you do, your business can tackle more than ever before. It’s important to remember that you are one person. A business cannot thrive and continuously grow with just one person involved because it’s simply not possible. If you’re at the point where you’re experiencing burnout, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to hire someone! I’m actually in the process of hiring someone both for my business, as well as a house manager. I need help all around and there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m starting small with just 5-10 hours a week and working my way up from there as my business generates more revenue.
Dedicate a Specific Space for Work
When you work from home without any separation, it can be extremely difficult to stop working. Home should be a place associated with relaxing, but for those of us who work from home, it is seen as our office – especially if you work in a common space like the kitchen or dining room. Assigning a specific space for work can help create that separation. It doesn’t have to be an entire room; take my office for example. The area I used is a pocket of space between the stairs and the guest bedroom. It works perfectly for my needs and helps me relax and stop working when I’m in the other areas of my home.
Battling burnout and finding balance is something that must be consciously faced on a daily basis. There’s no quick fix and it takes a lot of practice and patience. Because no one truly “does it all” and stays sane in the process.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms and work to take care of ourselves and set boundaries, especially when that feeling of being stretched too thin starts to creep up. It’s ok to say no and it’s ok to take a break!
How do you battle burnout?
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Photos by Ryan Carpenter.