And I know this from personal experiences. Not one time. Multiple times. And because I’m so hungry to get a viable business of my own up and running successfully, I’ve burned myself out multiple times.
What is burnout exactly?
Stretching yourself – the things you’ve committed to accomplish – so thin that you feel overwhelmed and inundated that you no longer want to do anything. If you have clients in the pipeline, burnout sucks ten times more. Because finding the strength to encourage and hype yourself up to continue forward is harder when you’ve given your word and deadline.
Side hustlers are not immune to burnout just because their projects or freelance work is on a smaller scale. Every business started small and probably went the the same frustrations you’ve felt.
I would equate about 20% of my past failures are due to burnout. Simply because when you get to that burnt out stage, it’s hard to stay motivated long enough to pull yourself out. It’s hard to reignite that fire. Burnout can take you over for weeks or months. And I won’t begin to tell you how many projects and opportunities you can miss in that time.
But there are signs of burnout you can look out for to better avoid fizzing out especially when you’re juggling so much already.
For starters, get sleep. I should be telling myself this, but I’ll start with you. Get as much sleep as your day will allow. Right now I’m getting 6 hours of sleep a night. So when I get home, it’s hard to find the will to work on client’s work. I need at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. No joke. I need to feel rested in order to feel productive. And I’m sure you do too.
Find small wins. Sometimes clearing your bed off is enough. Don’t laugh. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but just completing one small task will make you feel you get can get things done.
Self care yourself. Mediate. Soak your feet. Take a bath. Listen to bossa nova music on YouTube. Have a couple of glasses of wine. Pull yourself away from work and physically feel free even if it’s only for a little bit.
Take a week off. If you can’t take a week off from work, take a week off from your projects. I had to learn to take breaks early on so I wouldn’t break down. That drive yourself into the ground philosophy is not a healthy approach and you cannot sustain that way. So don’t do it. Having bouts of power boosts, sure! Keeping that intensity up for a year… uh, good luck. ‘Cause you’re gonna need a break shortly after that mental marathon.
Point being, don’t let yourself burn our especially if you’re working towards a bigger goal with your side hustle. Take time to really become someone and create something you can be proud of without falling apart.