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  • Writer's pictureMarie Robertson-King

Biz burnout is real! Strategies to help avoid it ...

Are you a small business owner who works from home? How you do manage the delineation between work and family time?

It’s not easy is it? The office (if you have a dedicated one) is right there. Your mobile connects you to family, friends AND clients all day every day.

Here are some ideas to help you manage your time and make sure you don’t burn out.

I’m really good at some of them, not so good with others!

Have a “closing” time

Ok, I know it can be difficult to "really" be done with work for the day. And there will be times you’ll have to break your own rule, but try to establish a closing time. Mine is when Simon (my hubby) gets home from work; usually around 5pm.

Turn off your business phone, if you have one (I had a separate biz phone to begin with, but I just found it too hard having multiple devices, so now I just have one); close your email, and try not to think about work. You deserve a mental break! This will absolutely help you avoid burnout.

I know lots of you have to work again when the kids go to bed, but try to have a finish time for the evening too.

One of the things I do without fail every afternoon, is write my to do list for the following day … this is part of my switch off routine.

Try to have a designated work space

It can be so easy to let your work invade your personal space. Suddenly, reminders of ‘all the things’ you have to do are everywhere.

Instead of working at the kitchen table, try to establish a designated work area. If you don’t have space in your house for an office (assuming you work from home), even finding a place for a desk is a great idea. Try to keep your business stuff confined to that area.

Try to make your workspace welcoming! Flowers and colourful artwork can do wonders for your creativity. Make sure you’ve got lots of natural light if you can, that makes such a difference to your overall wellbeing.

Establish boundaries with your clients

This can be a hard one. After all, you want your clients to feel as though they’re your number one priority! BUT, you can’t do this at the expense of your own sanity. If you’re burned out, they won’t receive the best of you anyway!

I’ve conditioned myself to be able to set aside client emails until work hours; don’t get me wrong it’s taken a while, but I’m now happy to tell myself that it can wait until I’m back in the office. I just flag and forget!

Make time to exercise

This is not one of my strengths. It seems like this is always at the bottom of my list when I’m super busy with work! It’s a work in progress for me!

Plan and eat well

We set out a meal plan for the following week each weekend and then shop for that menu. I was really reluctant to do this at first when Simon suggested it, but now I realise it’s a godsend! (Please don't tell him!)

I try to keep easy breakfasts and lunches on hand. Leftovers are great too. We tend to do a couple of big meals on the weekend that we can use during the week. Monday night is "leftover dinner" every week … makes a Monday much easier knowing that no-one has to cook!

Spend time with friends

As well as spending time with non-biz friends, it’s also a great idea to connect with other business owners. I’ve make friends with lots of biz owners through Facebook and networking groups. It’s great to be able to talk to others who understand the struggles and rewards of being a business owner, and I’ve learned so much from these relationships as well!

Get sleep!

This may seem like an obvious one, but the thing to remember is that you work much better when you’ve had plenty of rest. Try to establish a schedule, where you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday; this will help you get regular, consistent sleep.

Have a hobby or interest

It’s healthy to have hobbies and interests outside of your business. Whether that’s reading, yoga, gardening, or something completely different, spending some time doing the things that you love outside of work is a great way to avoid burnout and establish work/life boundaries.

Establish “no business” time

It’s really important to establish time where you don’t do anything with your business. Even if this is just a little bit every week, it can make a huge difference. It’s also important to make sure it’s not the only thing you can talk about.

I’m so guilty of this; Simon doesn’t seem to mind, BUT I really want to work on it to make sure that it doesn’t take over … there does need to be some separation.

Ok, so that’s quite a list! Are you wondering if you can manage all these things?

I’ll be honest; I still struggle with a few of the things that I listed above. As a busy business owner, it’s virtually impossible to incorporate all of them at the same time. So, I challenge you to choose one or two and focus on improving those! Once they’re a habit, move onto something else.

And keep in mind that even when you’re overwhelmed and feel as though you have to work 100% of the time, avoiding burnout is best for you, your family and your biz!

I'd love to know your thoughts ... let me know in the comments below




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Marie is a Virtual Assistant based in Perth

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