The CEO Danger Zone: Too Tired to Think
As CEO of a growing company, you may be doing so much that you can’t even take the time to think. You’re in the growth stage and are between doing everything yourself, and having a staff trained and coached sufficiently to take care of the day-to-day activities.
It’s easy to get overworked, with so much demanding your time and attention. It’s not only the ever-lengthening to-do list. It’s also the ongoing requests from clients that draws your attention.
There’s also that entrepreneurial enthusiasm that you and I share. We get excited about a new project, diving in, not realizing how much time it will involve. Once you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard to extricate yourself and you just keep going.
When you’re so tired that you can’t think, just putting one foot in front of the other, you’re in the danger zone. You’re exhausted and rapidly approaching burnout.
It’s hard to make progress when you’re exhausted. Your personal life is also probably suffering too.
Don’t despair! You can still pull out of the danger dive, and you can certainly do things to prevent you from getting to this point again. Let’s look at 5 ways to avoid the danger zone of exhaustion and burnout:
1. Identify your sources of exhaustion.
Chronic overwork leads to emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Wanting to work around-the-clock is just not sustainable. Find ways to delegate or drop some of your tasks.
Ironically, a couple of ways we use to keep working can themselves be sources of exhaustion. For example, too much caffeine or sugar can overstimulate the mind and fry the nerves. Sugar’s temporary high is followed by a crash, and long-term, it can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes. Keep coffee consumption to a maximum of 4 cups a day, the Mayo Clinic advises, and sugar to no more than 10% of your daily caloric consumption.
Not getting enough sleep has major repercussions. Some people do fine with less than 8 hours, but that’s a small percentage of the population. If you’re sleep-deprived, you can’t think clearly and it can even change your ability to cope if that sleep deprivation is profound. Good sleep habits like going to bed at the same time each night in a quiet room with no electronic devices are helpful.
A chaotic environment can significantly hinder you. Not knowing where things are, having bits and pieces of information scattered around can unnecessarily add to your feelings of exhaustion, as you have to hunt for everything. Spend some time bringing order to the chaos by organizing your space and documenting processes will be a tremendous benefit. It also allows you to delegate more easily, once you train and coach an employee in the process.
2. Take a break. As counter-intuitive as it may seem when you feel so busy, take time off. Even a day off can reset your perspective when you are most overwhelmed. It’s also a good thing to do on an ongoing basis. We all need rest. We all need time to rejuvenate. Being away from work is a necessary part of high performance.
3. Bring on the healthy habits! Practices such as a morning routine of movement and self-reflection in some form or meditation set the stage for a more productive and less tiring day. Studies have shown that movement helps with your physical health, and with your emotional health too. Having a morning practice can help you manage your emotions throughout the day, and avoid that emotional roller coaster that happens more often when you’re tired. Eating whole foods, instead of processed foods eaten in a rush, help you maintain your physical and energetic equilibrium.
4. Reduce stress in relationships. When your important relationships are in turmoil, it’s distracting and draining. The increased stress of those situations will tire you. It can feel easier to push facing those issues to the side, especially when you have tasks that, frankly, are easier to deal with. That often makes things worse in the long run. Whether they’re happening at home or at work, make tackling those relationship issues a priority.
5. Manage your mind. As you become more tired, your normal controls on your emotions and feelings of balance start to erode. It’s important to keep on top of what you’re thinking. What you focus on grows. Focus on what’s working. Put the brakes on self-judgement and comparison. As self-made billionaire and Spanx founder Sarah Blakely has said: “negative self-talk is the #1 barrier to success.” To counter the negative self-talk, acknowledge your own accomplishments. Lift others up. Praise your staff when they’ve done well. Be excited for people who are succeeding. As you maintain a more balanced and positive perspective, your problem-solving ability will increase. You’ll see more possibilities that will allow you to reduce your stress more quickly. As you develop these mind muscles, you’ll stay more focused on your business and your impact.
As CEO of a growing company, you’re going through a lot of change. If you want to make strides in your business, be aware of your energy level and symptoms of tiredness and exhaustion. Taking steps to avoid exhaustion and burnout is an absolute must.
Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.
Find Ursula on her podcast, Work Alchemy: The Impact Interviews
where she interviews impactful entrepreneurs and leaders like Seth Godin and Marianne Williamson, and at WorkAlchemy.com
for free resources for you and your business.
This article was originally published at https://www.workalchemy.com/entrepreneur-burnout
and has been syndicated with permission.