At With Grace and Gold, we’ve become big believers in the idea that the time you spend outside of your business is just as important as the time you spend within your business.
When we were new business owners, we found ourselves believing that the more time we spent working — or the more time we spent within our business — the more productive we would be, the more work we could get done, and the more we could grow our business.
But after about a year and a half, we knew something needed to change.
Today, I want to share 3 signs of burnout — 3 signs you’re working too much or spending too much time within your business. And in addition to that, I want to share 3 surprising reasons for rest — or for spending time outside of your business.
As we approach a holiday weekend here in the US, I am so hopeful today’s episode will encourage you to step away from your business when you can, with the confidence that doing so will make you an even better small business owner.
3 Signs of Burnout and 3 Surprising Reasons for Rest
Before we dive in, what is burnout? According to the World Health Organization, burnout is defined as chronic workplace stress — which can lead to exhaustion and even cynicism about your job as a whole.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Entrepreneurs are more at risk of burnout, because they tend to be extremely passionate about their work, can be more socially isolated, and can operate in high uncertainty.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
Because our small businesses are an extension of us — our creativity, our passion, and our purpose — it’s easy for our sense of self to feel tied to the highs and lows of our small businesses.
When I recall my own personal experiences with burnout, I know that when our business was doing well, I was doing well — but that’s a risky position to be in, because the opposite was also true! Maybe you can relate. Maybe you feel like your sense of self ebbs and flows with the successes and with the inevitable challenges within your small business.
So, how do you know if you’re in a season of burnout — or if you’re heading toward burnout? Here are 3 signs:
- You generally feel overwhelmed. Maybe you’ve heard of the Sunday scaries — an overall feeling of anxiety about the upcoming workweek. Maybe you experience anxiety or overwhelm leading up to every workday. Maybe you feel overwhelmed during your workday, hoping nothing new will arise, because one more to-do feels like too much to manage. You’re working long business hours, hoping the more you work, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel.
- You feel like you’re running on empty. You can remember a time when you used to bring energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to your workday — but now it feels like you can’t come up with any fresh ideas, that you aren’t very excited about the work you do, and that you feel like your business is unmanageable. You may even be extra hard on yourself for feeling so negatively about your small business, because it was once something you dreamed of.
- You can’t see the big picture. You’re so immersed in completing the day-to-day to-dos, you’re unable to see the big picture. You aren’t sure how to bring your best self to your workday, because you’re so focused on simply showing up and getting through your to-do list. You’re overlooking the heart and purpose behind your business — or forgetting that your business makes a real difference in your clients’ or customers’ lives.
Whether you know you’re currently experiencing burnout, or you can identify with one or more of the 3 signs we’ve explored — you’re just a decision away from turning your burnout around.
Here are some figures to consider:
- According to the Washington Post, in 2018, 55% of Americans did not use their paid vacation time.
- According to LinkedIn, nearly 60% of people engage in some type of work — such as checking their email — while they’re on vacation.
So, for small business owners or entrepreneurs who manage or create their own schedule, how can we ensure we’re confidently embracing rest and embracing time away from our small businesses? And why does resting or stepping away from our work matter?
- A change of scenery can boost your creativity. Maybe you’ve realized the best ideas come to you when you’re in the shower, when you’re out for a walk, or when you’re going for a long drive. A change of pace or a change of scenery can help you to change the way you’re thinking about or approaching your work. If you’re too immersed in your work, chances are, doing more work won’t help you to uncover a solid, creative solution. According to Science Daily, hiking in nature and being disconnected from technology can lead to a spike in creativity. So, although it may feel counterintuitive, next time you’re experiencing a block in your creativity, try stepping away from your work and doing something else.
- Taking more breaks can make you more productive and restore your mental energy. According to the University of Mannheim in Germany, when you’re unable to detach from work, you lose productivity. But, on the other hand, when you disengage from your work, you can become more resilient in the face of stress and experience greater productivity when you do return to work. In other words, when you build up and strengthen your life outside of your work, you can then bring your best, healthiest self to your work.
- Lastly, according to Inc.com, time off can add years to your life. When you step away from your work, you’re presented with an opportunity to move your body through exercise, prepare healthy meals, reduce your stress, and get a better night’s sleep — all of which can lead to a healthier, happier, longer life.
I know, first hand, how challenging it can be to reframe your approach to small business ownership, but these surprising benefits of resting and taking time away from work can be truly motivational.
In today’s episode, we shared 3 signs of burnout and 3 surprising reasons for rest. We are so hopeful today’s episode helps you confidently step away from your business — knowing time outside of your business is just as essential as time within your business.