VIDEO: 3 ways to reduce business burnout

In this video I talk about burnout in business. It was sparked by a response I gave when somebody asked recently how they could help their partner manage their burnout. I had three things to offer them:

Read the video transcript below …

Hi there, it’s Kelly from Swish Design, and today I want to talk about the concept of burnout in business. Somebody asked me about this in a Facebook group the other day. They were asking how they can help their partner manage their burnout, and I had three things to offer them.


The first one of those things was sleep. Sleep is something business owners in particular love to de-prioritise. We think sleep is for the weak, or we think we can function really well on four or five hours’ sleep a night so, why shouldn’t we?

The problem with sleep and burnout is it becomes a bit of a self-perpetuating cycle. The less we sleep, the less productive we are, the less clear we’re able to think, so it takes us longer to do things. We make poor decisions which means we then start sacrificing more sleep to try and catch up on all of those things.

The one thing I really encourage people to do when they’re struggling with burnout is to prioritise getting the number of hours of sleep they need every night, rather than using the fall back of sacrificing sleep as kind of an easy fix. It’s never an easy fix. It’s something that has long-term ramifications. If it’s something you’re going to do maybe two nights in a row to quickly catch up on something, that’s fine, but if it’s a long-term approach you’re taking to managing your burnout, it’s not going to work very well for you.


The second thing I suggested to her to help her partner was to try to zero in on the 64/4 jobs in their business. We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the things we are doing are giving us 80% of the results we are getting. If you 80/20 the 80/20, (I stole this idea from James Schramko, it’s not my own), you’ll find out that 4% of the things you are doing are giving you 64% of the results.

So, when you are suffering from burnout because you are doing everything in your business and trying to keep everything going, try and figure out what those 4% tasks are and zero in on those. Do those first and foremost. The other tasks, things that might fall by the wayside because you’re zeroing in on those tasks, it doesn’t really matter because those tasks aren’t having as great an impact on your business as those other things are.

This is also quite a handy way of culling what you need to be doing in your business. We all think that we need to be doing all the things in our businesses. When you take the 64/4 approach to what you’re doing, you quickly find out that all these things that you were doing weren’t as impactful as you thought, and actually, you can probably do without them in your business.


The third thing is to stop being so awesome. When you are being super amazing in your business for your clients or for your suppliers or for your staff or whoever, no one can replicate that. You then find yourself in the situation where you’re the only person who can deliver at that level. This means if you try to outsource certain parts of your job, or if you try to hand off certain parts of your job to someone else, people are going to get narky because those people are not able to perform at the level that you are.

Long-term, for burnout management, you really want to be able to hand off jobs to other people so that you don’t have to do them. Short term, you have to start being a little less awesome. You have to start taking a little bit longer to do things, you have to start being ever so slightly less responsive. This is very counter-intuitive but by reducing your customer’s or client’s or whoever’s expectations back to a level that somebody else can replicate, you’ll be able to get that somebody else in to help you do your job. This will free you up to do the things that really you want to be doing. Those things where you really are the only person who can or should do them.

Liked this post? You’ll find 20 more high-impact, easy-to-implement strategies for making your business-owning life better in Kelly’s book 20 Simple Shortcuts to Small Business Success. It’s available in paperback, pdf and Kindle formats here.


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