In the early stages of building a business...heck...any stage in business or in life, it is easy to find yourself in a state of burnout. Meaning, you run yourself into the ground, you feel like you're running from one thing to the next without ever being physically present, you're always a little bit behind schedule and you have numerous OSM's...aka oh sh*t moments...you know, the one's when you forget to email, call, schedule something ;)
Friend, you are not alone. I've been there many times in my life and I'm sure it will happen again. But what I can tell you is that when I find myself in a place of being overwhelmed it is because I didn't do the following three things below to avoid feeling overwhelmed....
1. Schedule Buffers
Buffers, buffers, buffers. I love me some good ole buffers. And I'm not talking about the kind when you go bowling, I'm talking about LIFE buffers. TIME buffers. Post reading Essentialism I became very aware of how I was scheduling these so called "buffers" into my life. Buffers are time slots before and after an activity. Realistic buffers I might add.
For example if you have back to back meetings but only allow yourself 10 minutes to get from one meeting to the next while they are both at different locations, is it realistic to assume that it will only take you 10 minutes? This is the point where you have to be honest with yourself. Before I would say, "Yup, 10 minutes is enough." But what would is happen is something would come up and I would find myself running 10 minutes behind, thus taking me 20 minutes. Especially living in the city of Chicago, anytime my Uber app tells me it takes 10 minutes to get somewhere, I automatically double the time allotment and schedule accordingly (this sometimes drives my husband nuts because we sometimes get to places quite early) however, to be on time is to be late, right ;) I would MUCH rather arrive early than late. And if you're ever worried about wasting time by getting somewhere early either pack a book, or download a podcast and bring some headphones.
Rule of thumb - DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU THINK IT IS GOING TO TAKE YOU TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT B.
Areas you can easily schedule buffers in your life: traveling (car, uber, taxi, train, walking, biking), scheduling calls (leave some time in between), even completing a task (if you think it will take you 15 minutes, maybe double it or increase it by 50% of the time).
2. Take advantage of the small windows of time
Time is one of those resources that you never get back. One of the things I noticed that I would do is think to myself when I would have an extra 10-20 minutes is that "Hmmm, I could do XYZ but I'm going to wait until I have a chunk of time to get it done." Because truthfully I would think that those 10-20 minutes or so couldn't be used in a productive manor which in reality they could be...even if it is responding to 1 email that has been on your to-do list. So instead of checking social media during those extra minutes (guilty - insert hand raise) put them to go use.
3. Say NO more often
This one is extremely important. I used to pack my schedule with meetings, events, travels, you name it. What I noticed though overtime is that it would cause me to burnout because I wouldn't incorporate buffers and I was moving from one thing to the next without every being present. I also found myself saying yes to things that didn't excitement and only saying yes because I either felt bad or that I should attend and that can be energetically draining. By forcing yourself to create buffers and get clear of your goals and what YOU want you'll automatically start saying no more often and my friend, THAT IS OKAY! Give yourself permission to take of YOU.