Surviving Burnout

Burn out has been rough. It’s like my brain wants to only think negative self criticisms. Positive thinking is the fuel I need to recover. To be quiet and reflect where I am and what I dream for myself. No sense in walking on a path in a direction that isn’t my personal wonderland. Rather than falling for business hype and a false sense that I ‘must attend’ every place and I ‘must do’ every thing in order to succeed, it’s time I take a step back to gain some clarity.

The burnout had been building up since February, it’s now well into April. As every startup entreprenuer embraces, I pushed through attending conferences like South by Southwest, public speaking, connecting the LA Tech community via producing events; movie screenings, women in tech gatherings, adventure activities and retreats, executing tasks for my startup day in and day out past Easter with the speed of a Hare. What I didn’t remember is… the Tortoise wins. I think us entrepreneurs forget it’s just as important to process and assess as it is to execute. So for April, to regain my mental well being, I have cancelled almost all my meetings and conferences, filled with FOMO, but I understand if I don’t have me, I can’t possibly sustain delivering to the level I’d like for my company and for my family and friends.

Here’s my homework to regain endurance, a sound mind and clarity…

1, Don’t fight the current. Go with the flow.

For example, in traffic, especially here in LA, people get so angry driving. It results in accidents, cutting others off and a lot of screaming and profane hand gestures. Instead of rushing which could very eaisly lead to a car wreck taking even more hours out of the day, why not use the time to be inspired listening to a TED talk.

2, Speak in Gratitudes.

For example, in day to day life we all experience many inconveniences. Anything from someone rescheduling a meeting last minute to arriving at a store to pick up an item and it not being ready. Rather than give into being flustered, instead speak in Gratitudes. This means being thankful that the person on the other side wants to meet at all or that I even have the money to purchase the item in the store.

3, Choose who I want to give my time to.

We all have the same amount of minutes and hours on this earth. Rather than agonizing about a deal that went south or the person who was rude to me in line, opt to choose who I want to give my time and energy to.

4, Create a time budget.

I was listening to the podcast “Developer Tea” and the host had an incredible recommendation to be more efficient; create a time budget. And so I did. On a spreadsheet I labeled 3 tabs, ‘business’, ‘personal’, and ‘dislikes’ (such as doing laundry). I worked out that on average I have 16 hours a day I’m awake. That’s 80 hours a work week leaving the weekends free for randomness. I listed an overview of my task categories and made sure that how I am intending to spend my time each week is actually feasible, and what, if anything, do I need to cut out or delegate. Even as I am writing this I am using Pomotodo to stay focused on a single task and tracking how long it takes me so I can make sure my time budget is as accurate as possible.

5, See abundance, let go of FOMO.

Opting not to go to conferences this month is SO HARD. Afraid I’ll miss making a key connection or learning a vital piece of information to accelerate. But I need to remember there are opportunities surrounding me each and every day. If I don’t have my health and sound mind how can I possibly make the relationships I want to make and retain the information and insights I come across. It’s better I focus on what my systems look like when everything is flowing perfectly and debug from there.

6, Write my Five Whys.

My friend Eli who blogs on how to effectively create healthy habits suggested I get to the core of what caused my burnout. A burnout which has since led to recurring anxiety. He taught me to ask myself “Why” 5x. Why am I scared, and why to that response and why again. Dig deeper to find my true honesty.

7, Prioritize spending quality time with friends.

There is nothing more successful than who I surround myself with. Being with friends not only rejuvenates my soul but it calms my mind.

8, Have a Morning Routine.

Habit Clock app is a life saver for this one. It’s like a boss in an app telling me what to do each morning. Being a Startup Girl means a lot of self motivation and that’s not always easy. So being able to click on my app and see my pre set morning routine is the easiest way to make sure I start the day right. James Altucher says that how he starts his day determines how successful his day and week will be.

Here’s my morning routine list…

1- make bed 2- eat breakfast 3- say three gratitudes 4-write daily to dos in spark planner 5-meditate to headspace app 6- say life wish list out loud 7-tidy for 15 minutes 8-write in journal 9- read chapter of book 10-write story 11-hot5 app five minute exercise 12-get dressed (morning routine duration, 2 hours)

9, Be mindful of my health daily.

My friend Charlie advocates for adults to Play. He recently gave a TED talk sharing that when we were kids we’d be excited to Play. Why not as adults perceive activity as ‘I get to meditate’ or ‘I get to exercise’.

Exercise (Hot5 app, Dethrone Basecamp, Core Power Yoga), Nutrition (Shine Collective and FarmBoxLA), Meditation (HeadSpace app), Play Outside (hiking, santa monica stairs, take walks, skate at the beach)

Recovering from burn out is a process and I am still in the thick of it, but with the support from friends, an attention to being mindful and playing outside, I think I’ll find my way again soon ❤