By Hannah Keyes
I don’t know about you, but I became an entrepreneur because I didn’t fit into the traditional business world.
Our generation has been raised on chasing the hustle and it has fast tracked many of us, especially those in caring, teaching, and serving roles, straight to burnout town.
I have first-hand experience with this as a card-carrying member of the burnout generation who has spent the majority of the past 12+ years dealing with and trying to heal from burnout.
I knew there had to be a better way to do business so I combined my expertise in executive management and corporate administration with my own journey as an entrepreneur to help other high-achieving women reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Along the way I found that while individual characteristics can compound, increasing the chance of burnout…
The truth of the matter is: burnout is a culture problem.
If a company culture doesn’t prioritize human-first practices and values, it becomes a breeding ground for burnout that will sneak up on everyone – from top to bottom.
As leaders, we are responsible for being proactive and cultivating an environment that people not only want to join but can thrive in – whether that’s your community members or your employees – it’s important that we operate from a place of sustainability.
A Better Way
So how do you help prevent burnout culture from transferring to your own company?
Well, it starts with you.
Your habits, routines, and values shape the culture of your business.
Like many things in life, too much or too little of a good thing can lead to problems.
So instead of focusing on perfect balance, I help entrepreneurs work from a place of Sustainable Productivity and lean into the ebb and flow of life.
So what does that even mean?
Sustainable Productivity is a plan to efficiently complete tasks and goals that can be maintained over time without burnout.
When you operate from a place of Sustainable Productivity, you can:
• alleviate stress and reduce decision fatigue.
• breathe easier knowing for all the energy you give, you have a plan to recoup.
• intentionally hustle to accomplish goals without making it a habit.
• feel confident knowing your routine will flex to your life instead of falling apart at the first sign of change.
• have peace of mind when you wake up instead of dreading all the things you need to do.
No two entrepreneurs or tasks are created alike which is why cookie cutter solutions just don’t work. Using a combination of time and energy management unique to you, operating from Sustainable Productivity helps you streamline your projects and day-to-day activities so you can create a big impact without sacrificing your mental health.
Operating from Sustainable Productivity
Let’s get down to business! Here are 5 steps you can take to operate from a place of Sustainable Productivity:
Step 1: Cultivate Self-Awareness
I truly believe that cultivating self-awareness is not only the most important step any of us can take, but it is also a lifelong practice. You are on a constant journey of growth and change so there’s always going to be something new to discover within yourself.
A few of my favorite questions you can journal on are:
• What am I passionate about?
• What is my priority? Work, Family, Community, Health?
• Do I operate from my gut or my mind?
Cultivating this self-awareness helps you to honestly reflect on what you feel and allows you to begin noticing patterns.
Step 2: Embrace Self-Acceptance
Once you have built an awareness and honesty with yourself, it’s crucial that you do so without judgement. Here are some prompts to ask yourself from a place of kindness and grace:
• How long do tasks and activities really take?
• What are my natural strengths and skill sets?
• What tasks drain you vs. light you up?
With productivity, everyone is different. What is helpful for you may be the absolute worst for me or another entrepreneur. That’s why my focus is to help you uncover what productivity methods work best for you, your life, and your natural energy cycles.
Step 3: Embody Self-Care
It’s a tale as old as time – you can’t serve from an empty cup. It’s easier said than done, right?
True self-care comes from knowing what you need so that you can prioritize it. Sometimes that’s alone time for hobbies or rest and others it’s writing that email you’ve been avoiding or going to therapy.
• What are my optimal hours of sleep needed?
• How much rest/recoup time do I need for every hour of draining activities?
• What is my non-negotiable habit that supports my overall health?
As you identify what you need, you can continue serving your clients and community knowing that you aren’t depleting your own resources in the process.
Step 4: Implement Self-Management
Successful self-management is the culmination of all of Steps 1-3 and putting them into practice. Taking into consideration your priorities, values, and natural energy cycles along with the type of self-care that resonates most, you can begin laying out schedules and systems (short and long term) to operate from a place of Sustainable Productivity.
As a leader it’s important to implement and self-manage so you aren’t overly dependent on a coach or assistant. This also sets an example for your community and teams to do the same as well.
Self-managing helps us learn to implement and sustain routines, schedules, and strategies based on our needs, priorities, and goals.
Step 5: Reflect & Embrace Change
Whether we like it or not, things will rarely go 100% perfect so flexible plans are the best laid plans.
Start by making sure you haven’t over-committed your time (or energy!) Here’s a couple questions you can ask yourself:
• Am I booked to complete capacity all the time?
• What would it feel like to have some wiggle room in my plans to handle the unexpected?
• How can I adjust expectations to complete realistic timelines AND still meet my own needs?
No matter how prepared or flexible you are, there will always be something you want to do differently or prevent in the future. Ensuring a solid plan to reflect and consistently check-in throughout the year will help you improve and handle those curveballs life will inevitably send your way.
Connect with Hannah on Instagram
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