I hate the "hectic" culture embedded in modern entrepreneurship.
What is it? It is a feeling that we should be working all the time. There is work pressure during your vacation. 30 minutes in the back of an Uber? This is the time to make a call to catch up or to answer emails.
Can you relate to this feeling?
I grew up with this attitude that surrounds me. My parents were refugees who came to the United States for literally $ 0. The only thing they had was their work ethic. Having two jobs was normal. I've only seen my parents grow up on the weekends.
Entrepreneurship is cool now. But the biggest influencers make people guilty for the vacation. You cannot sleep without hearing a voice in the back of your head telling you to push yourself harder.
What's the problem with that? Everyone is burned out and less effective.
The formal definition is: Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by persistent stress.
I know what burnout feels like:
- I would be thrown off easily. I remember snapping at some of my ex-girlfriends and employees for the smallest of things for no reason.
- I would feel no motivation to work. I just want to get it over with so I can distract myself with video games instead.
- My mind wouldn't be that sharp. I would forget things. I find it hard to work without wanting to distract myself every 10 minutes.
- Exhaustion. Not just my mind and body, it felt like my soul was tired itself.
This is a big social problem. A recent survey found that 69% of employees experience burnout symptoms. Japan has one of the longest working hours in the world. They also have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. There is a correlation.
I've had burnouts all my career. I found it normal. All of my coworkers would post updates on how they "grind" at 2am. They would mention that when they are dead they will sleep.
But then I would find out some of the behind-the-scenes consequences. Some people would turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with them. Depression is common in this area.
I knew this lifestyle was unsustainable, but I couldn't escape the guilt of having to keep pressing the accelerator pedal.
One thing that really helped me was an interview with Jeff Bezos.
“Eight hours of sleep makes a huge difference to me, and I try to make this a priority. For me, that's the amount necessary to feel energized and excited.
Most of the time in our lifetime we don't need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. It is more important to make a small number of key decisions well than to make a large number of decisions. If you shorten your sleep, you may get a few extra "productive" hours, but that productivity can be an illusion. When talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity. "
Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet. Here he is telling me that it's okay to sleep 8 hours a night. You need to optimize your life to make the best decisions possible.
Over the next few years I have learned that I am not alone. Books like Deep Work, The One Thing, and Essentialism have taught me that there is a better and more effective way to work.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is better to start with the mindset to prevent burnout than to use more energy to heal it.
I am going to share 5 strategies to prevent burnout and make you a more effective employee.
Note: This is written from my current experience. You may not be able to cut your hours or you may not be able to afford to delegate now. It's okay – neither could I at first. My goal is to share my philosophy with you and to give you something to work with
Photo of Tim Gouw from Pexels
5 ways to reduce and prevent burnout
1. Your health always comes first
I remember my first trip by plane. There was an announcement.
“In an emergency, you should first put on your oxygen mask and then of your child. "
That's funny. Shouldn't the child be given the mask first because they are the weakest? I didn't have a laptop at the time to distract me, so I spent the next hour studying this question.
Then it hit me. By attending to your own needs first, you will ensure that you will be able to take care of your child. If you become unable to work due to lack of oxygen, you are useless.
I have ingrained this lesson that health comes first. You cannot be an effective boss, husband, or parent if you are unhealthy and have no sleep.
The easiest way to be healthy is to maintain standards for yourself. Create habits and track them using a personal KPI dashboard.
My weekly health standards:
- At 9 p.m. in bed. I don't wake up with an alarm.
- Stretch 20 minutes a day.
- Intermittent fasting. I cook almost every day. Little sugar. Lots of vegetables. Avoid processed foods. I have an avocado, kimchi, and bone broth daily.
- Meditate for 20 minutes each morning.
- Jiujitsu 3 times a week. Full-body training once a week.
- Spend 1 hour a week outdoors every Sunday.
Life is unpredictable. It's a bit like driving a boat in the ocean. I can't predict the weather or the waves.
I can control the type of ship I am on. When I am in the best of physical / mental health, I am on a sturdy ship.
Health comes first, is not a saying. I always meditate and run every morning. When I wake up late, I have to meditate and run first.
Sometimes I have to work all weekend. I take Monday or Tuesday off to relax, even if the work is piling up.
This is what it means when health comes first. If I'm not at my best, I'll end up making a bad decision that will hurt me in the long run.
2. Set the upper limits for your work
My college professors told us we had two weeks to write a paper. It took exactly two weeks to write this paper.
If they told me I had three days to write a paper, I would find a way to do it in three days.
This is Parkinson's Law: "The work is expanding to fill the time available to complete it."
Set boundaries around your work.
Train yourself to think in terms of results, not time. Nobody gives a damn how hard you work. The world rewards results.
I work around 40-55 hours a week. This is where I am most effective because I am consistent. I don't get burned out at this speed.
One limitation makes me creative. I won't bother about my problems anymore. The limitation forces me to use leverage. It forces me to delegate and systematize rather than attacking my problems with brute force.
This is what a typical day looks like for me.
Most people think of “work” as what they do on the laptop.
I see "work" as anything that helps me get results.
Going to the gym is job. That's why I don't skip any training. It is important. The same goes for me when I get 8 hours of sleep.
You make me more Effective when I actually do what is important.
You may be wondering about weekends.
On Saturday I fill up my gas tank. I don't work on Saturdays. I go to BJJ. I try to see my parents. I'm watching Netflix with the lady. I play my PS4. We eat in a restaurant. I work off my ass all week so I can enjoy my Saturday without feeling guilty.
I'll sharpen my ax on Sunday. I will plan something for the week. We're going to run some errands. I occasionally work on Sundays, but only on tasks I'm looking forward to.
One key to the process is actually job when it is time.
I don't think many people actually “work” 16 hours a day. First, there are many signs of virtue. They try to signal that they are hardworking.
Second, have you actually seen how some people “work”?
You work with distracting tabs. You'll be interrupted every few minutes via email or Slack. There are useless meetings throughout the day (meetings to discuss the agenda for the next meeting).
It's more like twelve hours of work. Three hours actually work and the rest of the 9 hours fuck around.
3. Find the one
Priority is a single word. It means "the first". It wasn't until the 1900s that managers began to use the term "priorities".
You can't have multiple first things.
So most of us have this endless to-do list. I don't know about you, but I get scared when I see a list that's too big.
I'll show you how to go about it.
For example, let's say you're opening a new ecommerce store. Children stay at home and learn virtually. Chances are they're working at the kitchen table. You want to create ergonomic desks for children.
Let's make a to-do list:
- Design a logo for the company
- Create a landing page
- Ask different parents about their children's virtual learning configurations
- Sketch different desk designs
- Try to find manufacturers on Alibaba.com
Which should you do first?
I would start with # 3 because it is most powerful. Conducting these interviews will tell you whether or not there is any demand at all. Maybe you can find an even better opportunity.
However, most people would focus on low impact work such as B. designing a logo or sketching desks.
Designing a logo is fun. You can upload it online, interview people and get the dopamine update. Interviewing people is difficult.
We are programmed to find out what is convenient.
Fight this temptation.
Burnout occurs when we are constantly working and not making any progress. We don't make progress because we're more likely to work on tasks with little impact than on tasks that make a difference.
- Choose tomorrow. The one task that has the greatest impact.
- Do your morning routine. DO NOT Check out social media, email, or other distractions. Let your distracting monkey sleep.
- Block 4 hours from working on this one assignment.
- Block EVERYTHING that distracts. I use ColdTurkey for websites. My phone is turned off in another room.
- Job. You may find it uncomfortable to be so focused. It's good. You're stretching your focus muscles. Keep it up.
Marvel at the results.
Less but better.
4. Understand levers: automate and delegate
Leverage is the mechanism that you use to improve results.
A musician plays for 3 hours in a local café. 20 people hear it.
Another musician is spending 3 hours playing a song and editing a video. You upload it to YouTube. 55,000 people see it.
Both had the same “effort”, but YouTube's leverage produced different results.
Leverage is a concept. It comes in different forms.
The easiest to understand is people / work.
I am in love:
- Strategy and planning.
- Write blog posts / newsletters
- Marketing Aspects
- Optimize everything
- Look at data
- To meet
- Uploading ads to a platform
- Anything to do with finance
- Emails and customer service
Imagine my day was full of meetings, uploading ads, controlling, and emailing customer service. Fuck my life I would be unhappy and burn out easily.
Here's something interesting.
I'd rather spend 10 hours a day doing things I love than 5 hours a day doing things I hate. For any job I hate, I can find someone who loves to do it.
I love how the founder and CEO of GymShark has stepped down. As CEO, he had a lot of things to do that he didn't love and that he wasn't the best at. He hired Reebook's former head of Europea sales to become the CEO of Gymshark. He decided to create a role as Chief Brand Officer. Ben spends his day doing all the activities he loves.
If the role of CEO can be delegated / outsourced, it means that you can delegate more tasks than you think.
I always think about it Leverage.
- I could spend 2 hours each week doing a task, or I could spend 4 hours training someone else to do it once. We can create an SOP and / or a screencast so that the process is maintained even if the employee leaves the company.
- I could learn to keep my own accounts and save $ 200 a month. But this time when I invest in accounting, I don't focus on mine Strengthen. I can save $ 200, but at what cost?
- Finally, think about business models. There is no leverage or scaling in a 1-to-1 service. Because of this, I see a trend where people are switching from agencies to manufactured services.
It's weird, but you have to develop this "lazy" mentality. Don't set off on a task. Think about how you can get a good result with minimal effort.
Anything that does not involve creativity must be delegated as soon as possible.
Software can automate so much these days. I've invested time using Zapier and IFTTT to automate as much as possible.
I find it hard to get burned out doing the tasks I love.
I also delegate as much of my personal life as possible.
We hired someone to clean my house for $ 100 a week. My mother thinks it's a waste of money. Not me. It saves me 5 hours every Saturday. That's 5 hours with which I can recover. I can use that energy to make more than $ 100.
Read: The complete guide to creating systems and SOPs in your company.
Photo of Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.
5. Does that spark joy? If not, then the answer number.
"The difference between successful and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything." – Warren Buffett
As you become successful and build a reputation, you become a magnet for opportunity.
Everyone will want a piece of you. You will be tempted to say yes to everything. Resist this temptation.
To every opportunity you have to say yes is like eating everything at the buffet. You'll spread out too thin.
I understand when it's hard to say no. Some of us are nature lovers. We don't want to disappoint anyone.
Time is the most precious thing I have. Every time I say yes to someone, it means that I am saying no to some of my own goals.
Be greedy with your time and your mental energy.
Here's a rule that I adopted from Marie Kondo (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).
If something in her house is not fun, she throws it away. So if an opportunity doesn't bring joy, the answer is no.
I had big problems learning how to say no. Here is a simple script to help you:
“Thank you for this opportunity. I'm sorry, but I can't make a commitment. My plate is completely full right now and I have to concentrate. "
As simple as that.
Use the sparkling mentality everywhere in your life.
I've been writing on this blog regularly since 2012. There were times when I got burned out from writing and wanted to quit. What helped me was being more selective about what I write about.
I could get more SEO traffic if I started writing more of what Google wants.
I could earn more affiliate commissions by reviewing various internet marketing tools.
But these "do not ignite joy". I tend to write about topics that I'm curious and excited about. And hopefully this will attract a tribe of like-minded people. So I can write for the next decade.
What are the conditions?
There is a concept I learned from Shaan on the My First Million podcast.
"You tell me the deal and I'll tell you the terms."
So many of us are focused on business that we don't think about that bigger picture.
You want to make $ 500,000 a year. OK great. Well what are the terms?
You work more than 90 hours a week. You are obese. They are getting divorced. You are miserable and depressed.
Do you still want that I wouldn't.
Think about the life you want and then develop it back.
Photo of Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.