Lessons from Formula 1 – How to spot warning signs of burnout and how you can help yourself and others.

It’s often the last person we expect who burns out and comes crashing down, their mental and physical health pushed to the limit and causing a breakdown in their personal or professional life. It can happen to anyone at any time. It could be your boss, co-worker, a supplier, best friend, son, daughter, partner, but what if it’s you?

There’s nothing wrong with being busy and juggling lots of tasks. As humans, we thrive on mental and physical activity. We perform our best when we are happy and fulfilled. We can take on a variety of different things at once, but if we don’t allow ourselves the capacity to rest, relax and recover, we can miss the warning signs of burnout and become detached, withdrawn and potentially seriously ill.

The good thing is if we can spot those signs early, in ourselves or other people, the better prepared we can be and the more positive steps we can take. Just as you would carry out a service and MOT on your car, it’s important to do the same for yourself.

If you think of your mind and body as a high-performance Formula 1 car, you’ll know choosing the right fuel is as important as choosing the right parts, the right tyres and the right people to have in your team. These are key ingredients to long term success, finishing the race and taking home the trophies and prizes.

Don't get burnt out before you've time out
Don’t get burnt out before you’ve time out

Top 3 Causes of Burnout

Just as in motor racing, our lives run on time, money and energy. If we’re low on any, or all of these we can suffer. Perhaps it will only be for a short term, but if the problems with time, money or energy are prolonged, they can compound, and become harder to solve as your resources are depleted and eventually run out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Going back to spotting the warning signs of burnout, do you feel more tired than usual? Are you sleeping well? Do you have frequent colds, or loss of appetite? Have you lost a lot of weight, or gained a lot of weight? Do you feel trapped, hopeless or helpless? Have you cancelled plans with friends, or lost interest in a favourite hobby? Do you dread answering the telephone, checking your email, or even going into the office?

On their own, these symptoms can be easily overlooked or dismissed as “not a problem” or “something to deal with later”, “I’ll be ok”, or “everyone goes through this”, but this isn’t true. Unlike a car, you won’t have a bulb light-up on your dash to say something needs fixing, however learning to spot the symptoms and warning signs is the first step to getting back on track.

Effects of Burnout

As well as your own mental and physical wellbeing, burnout can affect those around you, perhaps even without you realising. You may feel more cynical or critical than usual. You may be sarcastic, irritable or quick tempered, raising your voice, becoming angry or violent. Feeling detached and withdrawn is equally common. Cancelling plans. Arriving late, or not at all. General apathy towards yourself and others.

Even the simple act of closing your office door or screening yourself from co-workers with paperwork or desk debris, can be the beginning of cutting yourself off from others, including those who haven’t already given up asking you to join their activities.

Tips To Avoid Burning Out

Keeping track of your time, money and energy are three effective ways to look after yourself and can greatly reduce the time you are “off the road” or out of action. Just as in Formula 1, always check the warning signs on your dash, take the time for regular pit stops, and make time for repairs earlier rather than later. Find the best people to be on your team, those who will have your back and those who want you to succeed.

These are things I help my clients with every day. Working with you on an individual basis I can help analyse your time and tasks and make recommendations for software and processes to give you more time, more money and more energy to be in pole position for success.

If you’d like to find out how this works, please book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll get you to the front of the grid.

What Habits Do You Need To Change Today?

Over the last few months I’ve been writing about habits, how to create good habits and how consistently practising good habits will help you run your business more efficiently and effectively.

It’s all very well creating new habits, but what about the bad habits? Are there things you need to change?

When I chat with clients, one of the recurring themes is time management, how to make more time, how to save time, how to get more done in less time, and so on. The end result always comes back to the choices they make and the actions they take, which are largely dictated by the habits each person has formed during their lifetime.

Take the dog for a walk - best habit
Take the dog for a walk – best habit as fresh air, exercise and companionship

Setting an Alarm

For example, setting an alarm clock to wake you each morning is a habit many of us do. This habit makes sure you’re awake on time and can start your day. It’s perhaps something you learned in childhood which made sure you were on time for school. As an adult, continuing this habit, either with your alarm clock or setting an alarm on your phone, makes sure you’re on time for work, for networking, for meetings and other appointments.

Coffee and Emails

Another example is the habit of having a coffee and checking emails as soon as you arrive in the office. This habit can take ten minutes, or most of the morning, depending on your workload. It can be a good habit to divide emails into categories of importance and priority. If you struggle with this, I can recommend my Time Intensity Grid to help with prioritising your messages and putting systems in place to respond quickly to new tasks.

Fifteen Minute Slots

If you find you’re chasing around with low intensity messages and tasks, it’s worth analysing your time over the course of a day. Simply break your day down into fifteen-minute slots and make a brief note about what’s happened in each slot on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet.

This makes it easy to identify bottlenecks and deadtime. If you continue this analysis over the course of a week or a month you can spot patterns and behaviours in yourself and your staff. This gives you the ammunition you need to make changes and create new habits.

Create a New Habit

Something I’ve just put into place is to have my food shopping delivered. It’s not something I’ve done before, but it’s saved me the time (and fuel) not driving to and from the supermarket. It’s saved time not hunting for the ingredients I don’t normally buy. Shopping online has saved time not queueing at the checkout. And, it’s also saved me time unloading the car as the shopping is brought to my front door.

Adding this up, this change in habit has probably saved me at least two hours a week.

That’s two extra hours I can spend with my family and friends.

The time has always existed, it’s not new hours in the day. There’s no magic trick. I don’t have a time machine either. The difference is how I’m choosing to use those hours. I can choose whether I spend the extra hours working, or whether I assign the time to house chores, or spend it with my family.

Making small changes to my daily habits is how I’m saving time and making more time for the things I want to do. I can show you how to do this too.

If you’d like to find out more simply book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll help you find the time to create great habits at work and at home.

Summer Holiday Advice – Using Your Time Twice

Running a business in the summer holidays can be quite daunting for many of us. With the sun shining outside and temperatures rising, it can be hard to get motivated to get the work done. Sometimes we even drag out the tasks in an act of self-sabotage. We dawdle and faff about when we could be focussed and efficient.

Summer Holiday Advice - Using Your Time Twice
Summer Holiday Advice – Using Your Time Twice

The summer heat seems to have an effect on us, both physically and mentally. The warm air seems to slow things down. It can make life sluggish and lull us into feeling that time is going slower. Perhaps that’s why things seem to take longer than they should.

However, whether we like it or not, clients still need work finished and bills still need to be paid. Given the choice of staying inside working, or spending the day at the beach, I guarantee most of us would prefer the latter.

So, how do we fix this? We all have the same 24 hours in the day.

The answer is simple.

We must use our time twice.

We can’t magic 48 hours in a day, so therefore we must make the hours that we have count and take positive actions to be as productive as possible.

One of the key examples of using your time twice came up in a recent conversation with a client. They mentioned their frustration at losing time travelling to and from appointments. Sometimes this added up to hours at a time. Over the course of a month, it turned out that a whole day had been consumed by travelling hours.

We came back to this later in the conversation and I asked what they did while travelling, was it listening to music, or a podcast, or the radio?

I suggested using this time to connect with clients, to phone them informally and see how they are getting on. The phone call could just be to check in and see if they need anything, but also extending this to a genuine interest in them individually and personally. How is life going for them? Are they ok? Then listening with full attention and responding appropriately.

This is a great example of using the same time twice.

By making a point of scheduling these phone calls into driving time and calling existing clients on a regular basis often proves to have many far-reaching benefits.

  • You’ll find chatting makes the journey seem to go faster.
  • It gives a client the opportunity to compliment you on your products or services.
  • Equally, it gives a client the opportunity to complain or raise their concerns.
  • Chatting regularly enables you to reinforce your position as a key supplier they can trust.
  • It offers a forum to discuss new projects and come up with new ways of working together.
  • If they’re busy, phone calls can lead to face-to-face meetings and “coffee catch-ups”.
  • If you have similar interests, it can lead to social opportunities as well.

Although the phone calls can still be carried out when travelling by bus, taxi or train, the background noise and/or client confidentiality may prevent some topics being discussed. However, this leads to a great opportunity for you to make a quick call to arrange a face-to-face meeting.

This is just one example of how doubling up your activities and using your time twice can increase your efficiency and your effectiveness. On a regular basis, using your time twice can save many hours in the long run. It can free up your day so you can spend more time with your friends and family as well.

If you’d like to find out how you could use your time twice, the answer is simple. Book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll help find those extra hours to help you achieve more.

Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?

It’s that time of year again. Schools are have broken up for the long summer holiday and it can be easy to lose control of your time with the overnight changes to your daily routine.

I remember, as a child, this was the best time of the year. Days of unbroken sunshine. No lessons. No homework. Just days and days of playing outside. Exploring. Making friends. Learning skills. Watching hours of TV and playing games for weeks on end.

Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?
Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?

But for working parents, especially those with toddlers and young children, the summer holiday can have a significant impact at home and at work. That “quiet time” after the school run has gone. The “quiet time” while homework is being done has gone. Even the “quiet time” doesn’t feel like “quiet time” as you’re on alert for the next argument, breakage, injury, or other incident.

Even with independent activities such as TV, films, online games and instant messaging, to occupy and entertain young minds, there’s still the feeling of guilt and peer pressure that you’re not spending enough quality time with your children or that your business will suffer if you do.

This is where positive time management skills help you to control your time.

  • If you can control your time, it can feel like you’ve made more time in the day.
  • If you can control your time, you will use your time better and achieve more.

I can help you take back control of your time.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. I can’t stop time or magic more hours in the day. But I can work with you to create a positive time management strategy so you can fit your work goals and your personal goals into the time you have available.

Time waits for no one, so it makes sense to make the best use of your time every day. I can help you make taking control of your time a habit and a lifestyle choice.

They say there’s no time like the present, so these are some of my top tips for controlling your time in the summer holidays.

  • Activities

Create a list of indoor and outdoor activities which can be enjoyed with or without you. This can include sports, clubs, TV, films, online games and messaging.

  • Work Hours

Discuss your work hours with your family. Make sure they know when it is ok to interrupt and when you need to concentrate. A key example of this is when you’re on the phone.

  • Liaise With Others

Can you ask your partner to look after the children for a few hours? Or a grandparent, or other friend or relative? Liaising with other parents can give you hours of uninterrupted work time and your children can enjoy hours of play time with their friends.

There’s no reason why you can’t be Super-Mum or Super-Dad this summer. You can keep on top of your workload. You don’t need to lose any clients or put anyone off working with you. You can be chief organiser and chief entertainer, planning exciting activities and outings.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun during the summer. It certainly doesn’t have to impact on your business. You can make time for everyone and everything you want.

If you’re struggling to control your time this summer, let’s have a chat.

I can show you how positive time management can help you take control and make the best use of your time. The clock is always ticking, but time doesn’t have to run away with you. Please phone me on 07756 772950 and let’s get started on your summer time strategy.

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

(Jerry Moran, American politician, 1954 – )

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”
“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Is your process delivering excellence?

Does your end product deliver perfection?

I specialise in processes and procedures. I learn about your business then research the most appropriate systems and help you implement them so you achieve excellence in what you deliver.

Book your call with me today.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

(Jim Rohn, American business philosopher 1930 – 2009)

Do you run your day, or does it run you?
What can you do to take back control of your day?

Do you run your day, or does it run away with you?

Do you understand where your time is going?

Do you know which tasks are draining you?

Do you know which clients are taking up too much of your time?

Do you have too many hours work for the hours you want to spend working?

I specialise in processes and procedures. I learn about your business then research the most appropriate systems and help you implement them so you run your day, it doesn’t run you.

Book your call with me today.