Burnout hits nearly every entrepreneur and creative at some point.
Your neck and shoulders ache. Your temper is irrationally short. You are more reactive than creative. You worry more than wonder. It feels like there is no time for envisioning the near-future because everything feels immediate and urgent. But if you keep pushing forward this way, you might just self-combust.
I found myself at the brink of burnout not too long ago. Between hosting online masterclasses and webinars and delivering client work, responding to global crises and social upheaval, not to mention tending to my home and family, my creative energy was sapped.
I returned to a question I’ve lived for a while:
How do we motivate ourselves to stay on track with our meaningful endeavors and enterprises when life is turned upside down and when our mind buzzes every which way except where we need it to?
Over the past 25 years, I’ve immersed myself in studying the nature of concentration and creativity. I’ve found that if you juggle multiple projects, you can get anxious and burn out for one of at least three reasons:
- You feel overwhelmed by having too much to do with too little time.
- You fear you will forget to do something or that you’ve already forgotten something.
- You in fact forgot to do something.
One response to this overwhelm and uncertainty is deceptively simple – and it seemingly has nothing to do and yet everything to do with any deep work or big endeavor. You develop business systems. Business systems involve sets of processes, tools, people, partnerships, and strategies that synchronize to help you work smarter. Establishing clear workflows can ease your anxiety, streamline your efforts, and improve your productivity. But of course, implementing these systems is easier said than done.
In my work, I speak to highly accomplished professionals, thought leaders, creative entrepreneurs, and service providers who still seem to fly by the seat of their pants. They expend finite time, focus, and emotional energy by not taking advantage of these simple systems.
The ever-curious among them get distracted by shiny object syndrome, always chasing the next idea rather than laying a foundation for their ideas to flourish. Others bemoan the idea of spending hours organizing instead of doing or creating or delivering. It’s a good point. You could obsess over color-coding files and learning tools that you then forget about.
But taking a little time up front to develop fundamental business systems will actually help you feel more rested, focused, and fulfilled so you can advance your deep work rather than fret over minor details.
Here are three simple systems to help you free up your focus, override anxiety, and find your flow.(more…)