Symptoms Of Burn Out In Your Business

We hear the words “burn out” when it comes to entrepreneurs, but do we actually know what it means? If we tried to make a list of the symptoms, could we?

I had a vague idea of what the symptoms of burn out where, but when I sat down at a compassion fatigue seminar listening to the presenter outline each symptom, I was stunned.

I was experiencing every. single. thing she was talking about.

Symptoms Of Business Burn Out | The Girl Inspired Project

So, maybe you are in a stage in your life or business where you are experiencing burn out (or think you are) and need further information to solidify that this is in fact what you are feeling and working through.

If you shake your head yes to all the symptoms on this list, it might be time to do some damage control. In this post, I share some of the most valuable ways in which I recovered from burn out in my business to help you further. I also wrote an article on my best advice for how to prevent burn out in your business.

Symptoms Associated With Burn Out

  1. Fatigue

  2. Irritability

  3. Cynicism

  4. Mental Exhaustion

  5. Emotional Exhaustion

  6. Physical Exhaustion

  7. Depersonalization; in other words, lacking a sense of identity or feeling like business has become impersonal

  8. Frustration

  9. Reduced Sense of Accomplishment

  10. Isolation

I’d love to hear how you’ve been feeling in your business and if I can lend any further insight. Burn out is a very real, diagnosable disorder that no one should have to go through alone. Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help in whatever way I can!

Symptoms Of Burn Out In Business | The Girl Inspired Project
Symptoms Of Burn Out In Business | The Girl Inspired Project

My Best Advice To Prevent Business Burn Out

As an entrepreneur, preventing compassion fatigue or burn out is a full time job in itself.

But, if you are unable to do nothing else of the sage wisdom and advice I give you to prevent burn out in your business, then I wish that you would heed this one piece of advice.

Before you scroll down, if you are reading this right now and you aren’t sure if you are burnt out, here’s a great post talking all about some of the signs that you might be burnt out or at least heading in that direction. If you read it and agree, come back to this post to hear what I have to say below!

The Best Way To Prevent Burn Out In Your Business | The Girl Inspired Project

Are you ready for this?

You probably aren’t going to like it, but here goes:

Get moving. Move your body. Be active. Work out.

As I mentioned in my post about How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business, getting fit and healthy was the biggest way I have been able to fend off burn out in my business.

In order to have energy, you must create it.

And as we all know, entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart—it takes a lot of energy to build an empire.

How will you ever build a successful business if you barely have the energy to get through the day?

It doesn’t matter where you are in your health journey, but as long as you make it a priority to get up, go for a walk, spend thirty minutes doing cardio, take a yoga class, whatever your method of moving may be.

That’s it. Thirty minutes a day devoted to keeping your health and sanity in check.

The best part? Moving your body also helps to fight off anxiety, helps you sleep, and keeps your stress levels in check.

I hope you are convinced by now to go for that jog or take a long walk with your kids!

My favorite ways to stay active and healthy are to take a hot yoga class, walk my pups at our local park, go for a swim, or head out with my husband on a long hike in nature.

I can always tell my body appreciates the motion and I have stamina to work daily in and out to build The Girl Inspired Project.

What are your favorite ways to stay fit and healthy?

Biggest Way I Prevent Burn Out In My Business | The Girl Inspired Project
Biggest Way I Prevent Burn Out In My Business | The Girl Inspired Project


How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business

If you haven’t heard me say it enough already, burn out is a real thing that not enough business owners and entrepreneurs are talking about on the center stage.

When I burned out—I mean, crashed and burned—in my last business I had no one to turn to. I felt so alone and ashamed that I had ‘failed’ in my business. But the part that surprised me most about going through a period of intense burn out was how long it took me to recover. I can honestly say it took me about a year and a half (yes, you read that right!) to start to feel physically, emotionally, and mentally stable, good, and well. Let me just say this—I never want to be there again and I certainly don’t wish that upon any other business owner, because it was hard.

While every entrepreneur’s journey of burn out, exhaustion, or fatigue might look different, it is my goal to be open and transparent about my recovery and the steps I took to move forward.

If you aren’t sure if you are burnt out in your business or on your way to burn out, I suggest you read my post, 10 Signs You Might Be Burnt Out In Your Business (Or Moving In That Direction!).

How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business | The Girl Inspired Project | Made For Creative Entrepreneurs By Creative Entrepreneurs

How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business

I got my health in check.

While this is listed here as number one, it was not the first thing I did to recover; however, it has made the biggest impact. Energy begets energy. When I work out, my energy level peaks, I feel physically confident (as well as strong), which helps my emotional confidence, and it’s also given me a supportive, challenging community of friends I’ve made at the yoga studio I go to. Even on the bad days or the tired days, I go to yoga and it’s a complete and total perspective and body reset. I have never felt stronger, more fit, or energetic in my life. After all, how can you run and manage a successful business without having the energy to do so?

I gifted myself lots and lots of grace.

Like I said earlier in this post, I felt like a failure. Now, I realize failure is a stepping stone of success, but at the time, I was a mess. I was so hard on myself, because I couldn’t “hang.” I looked at my friends’ businesses and their success and just kept thinking, “Why couldn’t I make it? Why couldn’t I do it?” Not a healthy place to be for sure, but after I closed my business, I told myself that this was just a season of life. This season, too, shall pass and open up for something bigger and better. When those negative thoughts would creep in, I would push them away and try to do something more constructive. It didn’t always work, but it was a start. If you aren’t able to give yourself a little bit of leeway and some grace, then won’t be able to move forward into a place of recovery.

I took the time to not think so damn much.

Entrepreneurs are extraordinary in all that we do, but we tend to have tunnel vision. We think and think and think about our businesses until our brain is about to explode. We sleep, eat, dream our business, so when something goes awry or not quite how we expected, we hyper focus on it. We concentrate only on the negative without giving the positives a second thought. In addition to gifting myself grace, I didn’t allow myself to wallow in the past. I accepted the past for what it was and began to look to the future for what I wanted to do next. I also gave myself days where I didn’t think about next steps at all—I remained present in my life, which was hard to do previously when I was working so much. Sometimes overthinking is the enemy of creation, so during your recovery, be sure to give yourself some mental breathing room.

I spent my newly found time giving back.

Health had a massive impact on my recovery, but so did perspective. Right before I closed my business I started volunteering at a local animal shelter as often as I could. The things I had worried so much about with clients, with the business, or how things would turn out ended up not mattering quite so much as I thought. My outlook on my business changed entirely, because I became aware of the creatures and people out there in the world who were truly suffering and that needed help. Whenever I stress about something in the business, I always have to sit and ask myself, “Will this matter in a few days? In a month? In a year?” and if not, I don’t give any more attention to it. Not only that, but I love volunteering. The community I have found there, the feeling I get from helping these animals, and the impact I’m making is truly inspiring. I tell people to find a cause they love especially during a difficult time, because it will change your life in more ways than you could ever imagine (and speed up your recovery!).

I started having more fun.

I don’t even know who the person I was when I had my last business. I was miserable, I do know that. I stopped doing anything for joy instead I focused on eating for comfort, sleeping as often as I could, and just generally walking around like a zombie. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had done something for fun. I made it my mission upon burning out and moving forward that I would do more things that made me laugh or brought me joy. Since then, I host a monthly book club, am the coordinator for a local girl boss meet up group, I volunteer as often as I can, take any new classes or courses that interest me, travel more, see friends every week, spend time with family, and more. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let my business run my life, instead it would be the other way around.

Now, these clearly aren’t all the ways in which I recovered from entrepreneurial burn out, but they are significant pieces of my journey that may be of some help or service to you in your recovery.

If you are in a season of recovery from burn out or feeling burnt out, I invite you to comment with any questions or opinions on this post—I’d love to hear from you.

How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business | The Girl Inspired Project
How I Recovered From Burn Out In My Business | The Girl Inspired Project

10 Signs You Might Be Burnt Out In Your Business (Or Moving That Direction!)

We don’t know what we don’t know. When I was experiencing burn out in my last business, I just thought that the fatigue, anxiety, and exhaustion were all part of being a business owner. Turns out I was wrong! All of the red flags were there—I just didn’t understand how to recognize them, so I hope that this list might help you to see if you are in fact heading down the road to entrepreneurial burn out or if perhaps you are just having a bad day (or week).

Ten Signs You Might Be Burn Out In Your Business | The Girl Inspired Project | For Creative Entrepreneurs, Femalepreneurs, Fempreneurs, Girl Bosses

10 Signs You Might Be Burnt Out In Your Business (Or headed that way!)

  1. Day to day tasks in business that normally wouldn’t bother you feel overwhelming, annoying, or frustrating.

  2. Interacting with clients becomes a chore or you find that even the simplest client requests are bothersome.

  3. You do as little as possible daily just to get through the day and spend the rest of your time seeking comfort activities: food, TV, sleep, alcohol, etc.

  4. You are easily irritated with customers, clients, subcontractors, or employees.

  5. You don’t find joy or fulfillment any longer in the work you are doing.

  6. You feel mentally, emotionally, or physically exhausted (or all three) day in and day out and can’t seem to get your energy back.

  7. You find that you don’t feel valued any longer in your business.

  8. Instead of serving your clients well and to the fullest extent possible, you are showing up just for the financial gain.

  9. You continuously look externally for a greater purpose or to feel valued again.

  10. You are feeling anxious all the time and no matter what you can’t seem to shake the anxious feeling.

If after reading this list and you’ve checked off a majority of them, you might need some advice on how to prevent burn out. I’ve got two articles for you. First, I share my best advice for preventing burn out in your business, but I’ve also sat down and outlined ways that I recovered from burn out in my last business that might help you speed up your recovery as well!

10 Signs You Might Be Burnt Out In Your Business | The Girl Inspired Project
10 Signs You Might Be Burnt Out In Your Business | The Girl Inspired Project

10 Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs

As I’m sure you know, when you are a business owner, you do all the things and wear all the hats; at least right at first.

Sometimes, it can feel incredibly overwhelming not to mention chaotically busy.

10 Productivity Tips For Creative Entrepreneurs

At times, I’ve felt less than productive. Like I was just going through my day fighting fires and executing menial tasks. While some days that may inevitably happen, I find a lot of entrepreneurs can get sucked into the not urgent or important items and let that take up all of their time, energy, and focus.

Then you look up and two months has gone by without accomplishing what you set out to do. (Are you shaking your head yes in agreement with me?!)

So, how can we increase productivity and decrease not urgent and not important tasks?

My 10 Tried + True Productivity Tips For Creative Entrepeneurs

  1. Prioritize your tasks.

I don’t mean organize them, I mean prioritize them. What tasks are you giving the most urgency and importance to? Are those tasks what needs to be done today, right now? If the answer if no, then drop what you are doing and get back on task.

Menial tasks like scrolling social media, watching Netflix, responding to unimportant emails, texts, and phone calls, and dilly dallying should all be move to the unimportant list and ignored at all costs until your work is done for the day.

2. Do your most agonizing tasks first.

I hate to admit it, but doing the tasks that you really aren’t looking forward to first are going to give you small wins and momentum to really take on your day and be super productive. I think of it as getting over a hurdle or roadblock, so that the rest of my day is just smooth sailing. In other words, don’t put off that difficult conversation, nerve wrecking email, or unanticipated phone call — you’ll be glad you did that first.

3. Have a TA-DA list.

Sometimes I get inundated with all the work and feel really overwhelmed by a big project or lengthy to do list. When I start to feel that way or feel the monster of procrastination over my shoulder, I pull up my ta-da list, not my to do list. A ta-da list is a list on your phone of all the things — large or small — that you’ve already mastered, conquered, or accomplished. When you give yourself that perspective, I find it fires me into motivation to take on the day and complete any task at hand. My productivity increases three fold this way!

10 Productivity Tips For Creative Entrepreneurs

4. Stop giving all your mental focus away.

I don’t mean focusing on one task here, which is super productive, but I mean stop giving all your attention to a task or project you really don’t want to do and procrastinate the heck out of it; then spend more time thinking about the task, worrying about it, pushing it off, coming back to it, etc. This one tiny, menial, annoying little task is taking up valuable energy and brain power you could be using to focus on other, more important business things.

Get it done first and let it go, so you can move forward and move on in your business.

To give you an example, I hate making appointments to have work done on my car, so I will put it off and procrastinate forever, but what I didn’t realize is that one silly phone call is taking up so much of my time and mental energy that I could use to do more productive things!

5. Set Yourself Up For Success

Preparedness is the key for any kind of success in life. How are you setting up your days? Are you running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Or are you preparing yourself in advance, so you can focus on more important things during office / business time?

For instance, in my YouTube video, I talk about the importance of a morning routine. When I take time the night before to lay out my clothes, prep coffee, make a green smoothie (which gives me three days of goodness!), make dinner (which becomes my lunch the next day), plan my day in advance, etc, my day runs more smoothly, I’m not focusing on simple tasks like figuring out what to eat for breakfast or what I’m going to wear, all that energy is saved to create content, edit, be creative, daydream, what have you.

Preparing yourself in advance may only take ten to fifteen minutes out of your evening, but it will make the following day go by more smoothly and stress free.

6. Use the five second rule.

I have to give this productivity tip to the productivity Queen, Mel Robbins (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, watch this video!). It’s just ingenious after all.

”We are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult. Our brains are designed to protect ourselves from those things.”

If there is ever something you don’t feel like doing, that’s hard or challenging, or that you have been procrastinating on, countdown from five and then launch into action. It’s that simple. In five seconds we can dramatically change the course of our day, our goals, and our business.

We have to retrain our brains to be comfortable in doing the hard, challenging, and uncomfortable things in life.

Ways To Increase Productivity For Creative Entrepreneurs | The Girl Inspired Project

7. Have a dance party.

Yes, you read that right a dance party. I recently listened back to one of Rachel Hollis’ Made For More talks where she encourages you to get amped up before sitting down to do work as a means of motivation. For fifteen seconds (or however long really) blast that favorite music of yours that makes you feel like a boss and when you are done, sit down and get sh*t done.

The energy you cultivate, the endorphins, and the feeling you get from having a mini dance party is all it takes to reset your mindset and get you back into crazy productive action.

8. Hydrate

Ever hit that three o’clock slump? Yeah, me too. Your brain is thinking you’re tired, but most often, it’s crashing from your morning sugar and caffeine intake.

The best way I have found to get over the mid day fatigue is to hydrate all day long. Keeping the body hydrated from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed is going to boost your energy, detoxify your body, and prevent you from craving lots of salty and sugary snacks we often reach for mid day when we are feeling like a sweet pick me up. Your skin will look great, too.

Hydration is essential for keeping your health a priority when you’ve got your head down in the productivity tunnel.

9. Work for twenty five minutes, then take a break.

I’ve added the Noisli extension to my Google Chrome, which not only lets you choose soothing sounds to listen to you as you work (that make your brain happy), but every twenty five minutes, the music will shut off reminding you to take a break.

Stand up, move around, do some yoga breathing, drink some water — all of which will help keep your energy up throughout the day and make you way more productive!

10. Stop overthinking it.

You are probably asking, overthinking what? Everything. Your life, your career choice, your lack of, your current social status, the level you are at in your business… spending our days overthinking where we aren’t instead of where we should be is the direct enemy of action. Action is what changes your life, not thoughts.

So, no matter where you are, you can change it. Stop overthinking it, get to work, and make things happen.