Doing This Too Often Could Be Why You Feel So Burnt Out
The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you avoid burnout? is written by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.
When you’ve built something from the ground up, chances are that at one point or another you’ve done nearly every job in your company. You’re used to firing on all cylinders, all of the time. And that habit is hard to give up, but when you reach a certain point of success or growth it becomes necessary to assess whether you’re expending your energy in the right places.
If you love the people you work with, you’ll love the work you do that much more. Therefore, choosing a team that I truly enjoyed working with was paramount. Think of it this way: if you were assigned a project in college with your four best friends, you wouldn’t think, “Ugh, this sucks.” You’d think, “Okay. This could actually be really fun.” No one wants to feel like they’re going to battle every time they walk into a meeting or answer an email.
While working with people you enjoy obviously makes things easier, it’s only half of the equation. One of the most obvious ways to conserve your energy is to hire for your weaknesses. There are going to be certain areas in which you’ll have to admit you’re lacking. A good leader recognizes this and delegates certain tasks to people they can trust to do them better. For instance, I started a digital women’s lifestyle publication. My first two hires were editorial positions because I recognized that I wasn’t one who could write a good fashion story. Attempting otherwise would not only burn me out, but also end in failure. Find new ways to do the things that you’re not as good at and get them off your plate as soon as possible. And then spend a lot of time on the things you’re really good at so you can push the company forward.
In that same vein, get comfortable saying no to things. I had a real problem with this when I first launched my company; I said yes to every meeting and every opportunity. Every. Single. Thing. And I still take on too much. But if that’s who you are, then you need to be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Figure out what you can say no to. For me, too many out-of-office meetings is exhausting. Running around from place to place, cab to cab, being on time, being late, etc. — it’s stressful. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. It’s part of the hustle. But being aware of that, I’m more careful about planning my schedule. Sometimes it feels good to say no.
Finally, self-care. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it here because it truly does matter, especially when you run a company. Everyone operates differently, but I see a change in my energy level when I’m not treating my body with respect. When I’m eating well, it’s blatantly obvious because my energy level is so much higher than when I’m eating junk. Sleep? Same thing. Without at least 7 hours, I’m completely useless. Take care of your body. And don’t neglect time off. Honestly, I’m never really fully disconnected, but even being 60% connected compared to the 110% I’m used to operating on makes all of the difference. And of course, my very own personal mantra: drink tons of water. Take care of your body so that you can operate to your fullest potential. That’s the point.