6 Tips to Avoid Business Owner Burn-Out in 2020
27th January 2020
With the end of January fast approaching, it's easy to let New Year intentions go awry. Clear Vision's Business Consultant Dee Gerrish shares 6 tips to make sure you continue to protect your personal wellbeing this year.
Book Your Holiday Time Early
It’s vital you consider your time and what you need to function efficiently, be a great leader for your team and stay motivated over the next 12 months.
This includes booking time out from your business, to either re-energise or have chance to work on your business.
As far as you can, sit down with the other people involved in planning your time and plan when you’ll have time off this year. Then block out the time in your diary.
The benefits of doing this are:
- You avoid working without a proper break for long periods during the year
- You will be better placed to continue to inject energy and provide clarity to your team
- You have an enhanced sense of purpose to your everyday activities as you look forward to your next break
- Your team know in advance when you’ll be off, so there’s no confusion about when to book meetings/appointments
- You can incorporate your time off in your business financial forecast, so you know in advance when and how they may affect your financial results and plan in advance to mitigate any negative impact
Review Your Activities
How are you spending your time? Record notes on your tasks to reflect on. They don’t have to be detailed, just enough for you to recall your activities.
Looking at your notes, consider:
- Are you doing what only you can do/enjoy doing?
- Is there anything that can and should be delegated to others?
- What’s stopping you delegating this work?
- How can you overcome these obstacles?
- Do you need to employ a further team member?
- Where are you dealing with issues brought to your door by others in your team?
- How often do these interruptions occur and for what?
- Are you dealing with customer queries out of hours? How often and for what?
- What tasks could you outsource or automate?
- Are you still serving your purpose/your reason why?
Investing in this reflection can reveal valuable opportunities to protect your wellbeing.
Perhaps where you can delegate tasks with confidence by providing a system to follow and training your team. Where team members’ roles should be reinforced. Where your accountant can carry out your payroll or deal with your HMRC correspondence.
Where your team can direct IT issues to an external company. Where you can set up a regular meeting with a team member to control their access to you and the agenda of items you follow.
Set Boundaries for Customers
Many business owners find responding to customers bleeds into their personal time. Your review may reveal you are one of them.
You teach people how to treat you. So set expectations with customers early as part of your onboarding process.
Highlight your typical working hours and ask your new customer about theirs. Suggest and agree what constitutes an emergency to be dealt with outside of these hours.
If unusual circumstances leave you to catch up with customer emails out of hours, consider preparing draft responses and emailing these the following morning. This shows your customers that they can’t expect a response from you at 10 o’clock at night.
If a customer calls you while you are on downtime, either pick up the call or text back to let them know you are enjoying some personal time, assure them they are important to you and that you will deal with their query promptly the following day.
Adopt the Delegation Ladder Model
It’s possible that when you’re reflecting on the results of your activities review, the answer to ‘what’s stopping you delegating this work?’ is ‘I don’t trust my team member(s) enough to pass it over to them’ or ‘my team won’t do the work like I do it.’
To successfully and confidently overcome these concerns you need to retain a sense of control over the delegation process. Stephen Covey’s ‘Delegation Ladder’ model promotes a gradual, step-by-step route to full delegation.
In summary the model consists of:
- Before Delegation: be clear and explicit on the level of initiative that the person is allowed to exercise. Or not allowed to exercise
- Level 1: Wait until told. Don't do anything until I tell you
- Level 2: Ask. You see a problem, ask me about it. Ask me what to do
- Level 3: Recommend. Bring me a problem, and bring me your recommendation along with it
- Level 4: Do it, and report immediately, so if there's a mistake, it can be fixed immediately
- Level 5: Do it and report routinely
Using this process enables you to delegate effectively. Plus your team will show more initiative over time.
For a discussion on this model and how you can adopt it in your business, give me a call.
Appraise Your Team
Appraisals are the time when you assess your team members' performance and hear from the employee about their feelings and issues.
In terms of protecting your own wellbeing, they provide the opportunity to:
- Discuss the tasks team members should be managing but currently land at your door
- Highlight the areas of improvement you expect of them
- Discuss and discover their ambitions for development within your business
- Agree goals and targets for the team members for the next period
Take a walk. Grab a cuppa. Pick up a newspaper. Meditate. Sit in peace.
Do take longer if you can, but 10 minutes will help you refocus and decompress during a busy day.
Just get yourself away from your desk or working area and do what works for you.
This will also act as a great boundary-setting message to your team when they see you ‘Take 10’.
Just be sure not to spend your quiet time checking your phone!