Sometimes I get a phone call and the person on the other end of the phone’s first words are, “I need to get out of my business.” When this happens I’m reasonably sure I’m dealing with someone who is burned out.
I can hear real pain in that statement. You might have felt the same way. You might even be feeling that way right now.
I know that I’ve felt burned out. I also know that when it happens it’s because I’m doing something that I don’t have a lot of energy to do. I also know that I’ve been doing this particular activity for a long time, much longer than I should have.
I’ve written many blog entries about strategies I think you should use for hiring. There is a recurring theme in all of these entries on using a can do, will do, and fit factor method. You need to use this method for yourself.
Look at what you’re doing and see if it adds or subtracts energy from your life.
We all have limited energy for doing different activities. The folks at the Kolbe company have developed a whole technology around this issue called Conative processes.
If you’re feeling burned out you’re likely using up all of your energy units for a particular group of activities. For me, this would be filling out forms or reading contracts. Although I can do these activities, if I spend a lot of time doing them I get very tired. If that’s all I did for years I would eventually get burned out.
You had to do everything when you started your business.
When you start a business from scratch you’re often the only employee. As you became more successful you hire people to help.
A mistake you may have made is that you didn’t hire people to do things you had limited energy for. You probably believed that those activities were so important you couldn’t delegate them to anyone else. At the same time when you were doing these activities you were using more energy than you really had.
Over the years you’ve gotten very good at activities that you don’t have much energy for. You might become even less likely to delegate these activities. You not only think the activities you’re doing are really important, but no one in your company can do them as well as you. Or, at least that’s what you believe.
You have to give up the sacred cow that only you can do certain things.
I strongly suggest that you take a good look at how you spend your day. You might even want to write down what you do on a calendar to track your activities.
After you do this for a week or two see how many of your activities add energy and how many use energy. After finding out what uses energy, find someone else in your company to take them over. You need to do this even if others can’t do those activities as well as you. This how you will keep from getting burned out.
I find that those who do what they love never get burned out, they never get tired, and they don’t complain about how they spend their time. If you are on the other side, I bet it’s because you’re doing things that you just don’t have a lot of natural energy for. What do you think?
A related topic is how you spend your time and in what role you spend your time. We’ve put together a special report on the roles a business owner plays and why it’s important to learn the art of delegation. To get more information and your own copy of this report, click on the button below.