Chances are you became a business owner to gain freedom. Freedom of money, freedom to make decisions, freedom of relationships, freedom of creativity, and freedom of time.
Perhaps more than any element of entrepreneurship, the idea of freedom of time sounds ideal. The ability to live life with a purpose on your own terms and intentionally invest your time in your business is a dream. Ironically, this freedom you seek as a business owner often backfires and your business becomes your entire life. You work 24/7, morning and night, not making time for yourself, your family, or the rest of your life, thus losing the freedom you originally sought when you became an entrepreneur.
If you’re not careful, this constant work, pressure, and responsibility can become consuming and overwhelming leading to stress and signs of burnout. The habits that lead to burnout directly impact your freedom of time. The first step to preventing or treating this is to pay attention to the signs.
Burnout can present as:
+ Fatigue and lack of energy
+ Lack of creativity
+ Reduced performance
+ Constantly thinking about work - mentally checked out of other activities
+ Lack of focus and motivation
+ Losing your passion and interest
The good news is that you have the ability to reduce your stress with simple strategies and changes.
6 tips to Protect Your Freedom of Time and Prevent Burnout
Tip #1: Create a Realistic Schedule and Stick to It
Do a mini audit of how you spend your time each day and then decide what can be tweaked or what needs to go. Schedule intentional downtime throughout the day and week to be used for other things besides work. As a business owner you have the freedom and flexibility to create your own schedule - so use it!
Tip #2: Exercise
Get moving! Make time each day for at least 30 minutes of movement. Take a walk outside, do yoga, go to the gym, or join in on your favorite workout class. Do what feels good to you. Daily movement benefits your physical health and your mental health. You will emerge with more energy, clarity, and creativity. You can’t go wrong with exercise.
“Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.” – Anxiety & Depression Association of America
Tip #3: Make Self-Care a Priority
It’s easy to get caught up in the next work project, and the next, and the next, especially when you are doing something you love. Emphasis is often put on the hustle and fast-paced lifestyle of a woman entrepreneur - but you can’t run on empty. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat nourishing meals throughout the day, spend time doing hobbies that you enjoy, and don’t forget to pamper yourself a little every now and then too! Remember that you are more than just your business - take time to do the things that you love.
Tip #4: Change of Scenery
The beautiful part about being an entrepreneur is that you have the freedom and flexibility to work wherever you want. Switch your location every now and then to keep you feeling fresh and promote those creative juices. Take a day to go work at your favorite coffee spot or work outside! Changing it up every now and then keeps you energized and can help increase productivity.
Tip #5: Delegate and Outsource
If you want your business to grow, you can’t do it all yourself. Surround yourself with powerful driven partners, ready to grow with you. Delegate tasks and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Lighten your load and outsource certain tasks so you can create more time for running your business and doing the things you love. Don’t be afraid to invest in your business and implement systems and branding strategies to grow. If you aren’t sure how a branding strategy could work for you and your business, set up a 20-minute complimentary brand chat with us. We’d love to chat strategy with you and help you take your business to the next level!
Tip #6: Take a Break - Unplug and Take Time for You
It may seem daunting, unrealistic, and even a little scary to take a vacation or take time away from your business. One of the best things you can do is take strategic, scheduled time away. When you take a break and completely unplug, you will come back refreshed and energized. Even if you can’t take a week or two off, take a long weekend, or even an afternoon. No email, no social media, no work calls - completely separate from work and take some downtime.
Taking time away doesn’t have to be scary - be strategic and plan ahead. Communicate with your clients, prepare your employees, and have systems in place to keep everything running while you are away. Take the time - you DESERVE it, but more importantly, you NEED it! You created your business for a purpose and as an entrepreneur, you are a problem solver. Taking intentional time away to unplug allows you to return and see things differently and potentially find new solutions to the problems you aim to solve.
At the end of the day, it comes down to taking a step back, remembering your goals and passions, and then pursuing them. At Peanut Butter Creative, we became business owners to have the freedom to do what we love every day and live our lives to the fullest. When you use your time intentionally, outsource, delegate, and use the freedom of time that you created for yourself, you are building a sustainable business and creating habits for growth. Use these habits and strategies to turn your desire for freedom as an entrepreneur into a REALITY.
What about you? What adjustments do you need to make to your current habits to avoid burnout and protect your freedom of time?