By Dr Izdihar Jamil, Ph.D.
“Babe, look after the kids. I’ve got client calls to make!”, I told my husband as soon as he walked in the door from work. Then I quickly rushed into my home office and had calls with my clients. I didn’t eat dinner with my family and barely had something to eat myself.
There were days when I worked from 3.30 a.m. to midnight and only slept for a few hours. I was exhausted, frustrated and stressed out. But the longer I worked the bigger my to-do lists became. I was barely functioning and was always grumpy around my kids. Yet that’s what I was supposed to do right because I was told that “successful people work harder and longer” by success experts who happened to be men.
The reason I became an entrepreneur was because I wanted to create freedom around my career and family. I wanted to enjoy my children and create my own working hours and environment. But the reality was that I was exhausted, burned out, frustrated and was getting sick. I have no time to hang out with my family because I was too consumed with work. Ironically, I became a slave to the monster that I created.
Victoria Bloom highlighted that in her research women experienced more work stress and burnout than men. This isn’t a surprising factor because women have been known to juggle career, childcare, cooking, clearing and kids activities whilst our male counterparts may have less of the added responsibilities.
When asked about what it’s like to create a work and family life balance, Victoria Beckham, a mom of four children and a renowned fashion designer said “It’s not easy being a working mom. It’s like you’re constantly juggling glass balls all the time!”. Here are the common pitfalls that female entrepreneurs experience that have become the trigger to their burn out episodes.
3 Common Pitfalls That Can Trigger Burned Out
Elizabeth Grace Saunders wrote in the Harvard Business Review in 2019 that a mismatch between your workload and capacity can create burnout in your career.
Whether it’s having the courage to say “no” to extra workload, asking a team member for help, prioritising your work or even letting go of perfectionism can become contributing factors to having excessive workloads.
They Need Me
“I’m just going to do it myself because I don’t trust people can do it to my standards!” are a common perspective that I hear when talking to other female entrepreneurs.
When you have your own business, it’s like having another baby. You want to protect it and don’t want it to get hurt. You would do everything for it and not let others in because they may not do it as well as you do or you have been let down by others in the past.
When I was having an extreme burn out in 2018, Vanessa Odgen Moss an amazing 7 Figure Entrepreneur who is also a mom of 6 asked me “Did you create it so that they need you?”. Her question took me by surprise. In my reflection I felt that my clients “needed” me to have their success. Because of that I felt that every piece of me is being pulled apart till there’s nothing left.
Can I trust them?
One of the ways to scale your business is to build a team to support you. However this is easier said than done. How do you know that they can do a good job? How do you know that you can trust them with your business and clients? How do you know if they’re not going to take advantage of you and screw up your business? Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle and you would rather do it yourself, right?
Letting go of control is one of the hardest things any entrepreneurs can do to allow yourself to be supported and grow. Money can also be an issue where you’re in the mindset of “I can save some money by doing it myself”. For example doing mundane admin work versus hiring a virtual assistant to help you.
4 Real Life Ideas to Create A Work-Life Balance With Ease
I talked to several successful female entrepreneurs about how they manage their work-life balance and here are their top tips.
Systemise and automise
Nor Suhir, a Business Strategies from Singapore and a multiple stroke survivor shared that when she was hit with multiple strokes it totally crippled her health and income. Half of her body was paralysed and she couldn’t do any work and had to concentrate on her health. In her comeback she not only has systemised her business but also automise it so that the business can run with or without her. She now teaches other entrepreneurs to do the same so that regardless of what happened in their lives their life and business are being taken care of.
Vanessa Odgen Moss taught me that by transforming my business model I could breakthrough from being consumed by clients and can leverage my time better. So I shifted from 1on1 coaching to online course and group coaching. This way whether I have 10 clients or 10,000 clients, they would have access to a proven system (instead of giving them me!) anywhere, anytime. All I need to do is just show up an hour a week to help them and I can do other things that I love.
In implementing the same method in my own personal life, I would create a system that would map out my meals for two weeks. So I know exactly what I’m cooking and when and have the necessary ingredients to cook them versus figuring out what to eat everyday. So meal time flows smoothly and my kids have got happy tummies!
A Support System
Vendee Flake who is an Entrepreneur said in her TED Ed interview that when transitioning from the Corporate world to Entrepreneurship she felt overwhelmed. Her number one advice would be to “Ask for help!” and that it’s “OK to ask for help because you can’t do everything!”. Vandee gave an example of hiring an accountant to do your tax return and hiring a cleaner to help with her house chores.
Luana Ribeira, a successful Book and Media Coach said that “without my team I couldn’t do it!’ especially since her recent health challenges. As for creating a support system in her personal life Luana said “my partner being at home helping out and not going to work every day. This has been a game changer!”.
By letting go of control you can work more effectively and have the breathing space that you desire. A success expert once told me that even if you can find someone who can do 70% of the job, that’s already good enough. Perfection is an illusion, it’s a trap. So go with a 70% success and tweak it from there to make it better.
Multi-tasking can be one of the biggest misconceptions in work productivity. In a study, Brain College highlighted that doing more than one task at a time actually reduces employee performance with a global cost of $450 million a year.
In answer to this, Carly Hope, a High Ticket Sales Expert said that by “Batching” your schedule you are not only more focused but also productive. She suggested dedicating the same task to a particular time frame. For example, scheduling your calls one every Tuesday and Wednesday so that when you wake up every morning you know exactly what to do and can dedicate that energy to maximise your results.
In my business I would set aside Monday – Wednesday for my lead generation and client attractions strategies. Thursdays are for my sales calls. Friday morning are for my videos and interviews and Friday afternoons are for my admin work.
In my personal life, I would batch up my cooking days together. For example, I would cook on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays- on the days that I don’t have calls. When I cook I would double up- meaning I would cook enough for two days so we would have left overs.
Jessica Fox, who is a Master Transformation Coach said that she suffered severe burn out during her work in the non-profit section and had to take a medical leave to gain back her health. She incorporated a morning routine as part of her healing journey.
When asked how and why your morning routine helped you to shift your health and burn out she said ““My morning routine is the place to connect with God through prayer and meditation, practice gratitude and align myself with the vision of the future I am holding for myself, my business and my family. When I am consistent in practicing this, I am more grounded, emotionally stable and I see amazing manifestation of my desired outcomes.”
One of the biggest takeaways that you can take from this article is that you have the power and the methods to break free from burnout. You can create a healthier and happier work-life balance by letting go, allowing others to support you and implement simple ideas in making a better quality of life.
The women featured in this article have all experienced burnout and not only survive but thrive in both their career and family life. Here is one success action that you can do today: What’s one thing that you can let go from your life/business and get a team member to support you? For example, hiring a VA to do the admin work.
Dr Izdihar Jamil, #1 International Bestselling Author of “Yes I Can!” and TED Ed presenter uses the batching methods in her business and family life to reduce burn out. You can find out more about Izdihar, her book, and her work over on https://www.izdiharjamil.com/