What to do when you are reaching burnout?


A reader writes “I am in my 30’s, run my own consultancy business and am quite successful. I recognise that I am overworking.  I have less and less time for myself and my family. In truth, I am probably reaching burnout. Help.”


I respond: Well done for acknowledging that you are over doing it.  Ask yourself whether you are ready to make a change? To help you answer this question, ask yourself how work is impacting on you – both personally and professionally.  Are you frequently tired, short tempered with colleagues and with your family, or have you started to notice physical symptoms and illnesses.  Perhaps your family are losing patience with you. Although you are keen to ensure that your clients don’t lose out, have you noticed that you are starting to make mistakes?


Since your business is successful, you have a number of work/life balance strategies available to you. Taking on extra resources in the way of admin support, collaborators, partners or employees are options. Take the time to define what the right resources are for you. Yes this is an investment, but the right resources will pay dividends in the long run.


Create a list of criteria for projects that are appropriate for your business. A client of mine who has a consultancy business asks himself the following before taking on a project: Is it on strategy? Does it have potential to generate future on strategy projects? Is the client a VIP? Am I excited about doing it?  If he can’t say yes to at least three of these questions, he either delays the project, passes it on (internally or externally, for a fee) or simply says “no” if it doesn’t meet any of the criteria. Saying “no” to projects that don’t meet the criteria makes space for projects that do.


Arrange activities to do with your family and plan time for yourself, doing things you enjoy and feel nurtured by. Setting and sticking to time boundaries will also make a difference as will saying “no” to out -of -hours calls.


Fear may be driving you to over work. Ask yourself whether you believe that you need to work hard in order to be successful.  Replace that with a new belief such as “success is effortless and easy!” Tell yourself this several times a day. Even if you don’t believe it initially, act as if this was true and start to look for new evidence to support your new belief: Make it your business to notice people who are successful, and work 9 to 5 or less.


I wrote this post to help any reader understand how to get motivated and how to boost confidence following stress burnout. Managing your work load is a key part  of Mastering the inner game which is so key in helping achieve business goals and objectives.



How do you avoid reaching burnout?  Share your ideas.

This article was written by Karen Skehel