Whether going by the handle: “Mom who runs her own business”, “mommy entrepreneur”, “work from home mom”, or “MOMpreneur“, the news is hitting that the largest number of growing entrepreneurs are women with children. These moms know first hand about all of the delicacies of juggling the needs of their busy, growing families! But despite being the largest growing group of entrepreneurs in the world, in their busyness, are they recognizing they might be burning out!
If you are managing the needs of your business and your growing family, it is imperative that you take a moment to figure out what your typical average workweek consists of! While a typical workday for any entrepreneur may include: client communications, business development, marketing, client work, sales, networking, and writing (to name a few…), most moms who run their own businesses also manage to make time for the lionesses share of the home duties as well.
On the home front, most working moms are up before dawn, manage the early morning routines for their families, pack lunches, engage with all the school communication, engage and interact with childcare providers, manage emergencies, juggle after school routines, make healthy meals for their families, and if they are uber-organized and manage their time well, they might manage to squeeze in a little time for themselves (and even their spouses!)
WHEW! Now that’s a lot to do in a given day! But we are doing it. Day in and day out. If you count all the home and business responsibilities most MOMpreneurs are working well over 100 hour weeks! Because this is status quo to make a new business go, most moms are not necessarily recognizing the signs that they may be burning out. Most small business entrepreneurs are so engaged in what they do, they seldom notice the early warning signs of burnout such as fatigue, late nights, and overwork at the expense of self-care.
Add to it that many moms have a keen desire for success, and may even feel a little embarrassed if they do not reach their financial goals or business ‘results’ right away. This embarrassment may cause them to deny or repress what they feel regularly, thinking that somehow not dealing with their feelings might make them go away.
Review this list of questions for signs that you just might be a MOMpreneur bordering on burnout:
- Are you are distracted easily?
Distractability is one of the key signs that you’re losing your focus and overly fatigued. If you find yourself daydreaming or trying to manage multiple things at the same time, often, this might be the hint that you’re becoming very easily distracted. If you are struggling with distractions you must spend time away from work quietly rejuvenating. This is also a good time to stop, drop, and plan. Working from your goals and priorities will help you manage distractions.
- Are you forgetting common things you ‘should’ remember?
If you are missing bus pickup times, appointments, regularly or the dreaded anniversary card… you may be battling burnout. Dropping out details once in a while is totally different than becoming very forgetful. To battle forgetfulness you must create sound scheduling and reminder systems.
- Are you irritable and losing your patience?
Irritability is one of the signs of burnout. If you’re finding yourself overreacting to clients, coworkers, or kids you may be struggling with overwhelm. No display or test of patience will fix the need for a good vacation.
- Hocus-pocus where is your focus?
A clear sign of burnout is trying to manage way too many projects at the same time. If you find yourself with multiple layers, conflicting deadlines, and difficulty figuring out which is most important to complete, you may be on the border of burnout. Inability to focus requires exactly that to remedy. I suggest you get away from your desk and office, go somewhere that is restorative and energizing, make a long list of everything you need to complete, and prioritize it while you’re in that other location. Then look at a calendar for the next week and map out what day you work on which priority. You may find a change of scenery really helps you focus.
- Is clutter consuming your work space?
Do you find yourself in a sea of piles? Are your files working? Are you able to retrieve what you need when you need it? If you can’t answer yes to these questions you may be bordering on burnout due to clutter overload. The very best thing you can do is get yourself organized. (You may want to seek the advice of a professional.) It has been clinically proven that clutter causes more stress. Even though you may have deadlines looming, it may be best to spend the first hour of each day this week organizing your office.
- Are you avoiding and procrastinating often?
Two behaviors that indicate you may be burning out are avoidance and procrastination. If you find yourself putting things off till the very last minute, or not returning phone calls, even when you know they may be revenue-generating opportunities, you may be hung in the endless loop of avoidance and procrastination. If so, it’s time to take some time away from work.
- Have you become a java and junk food junkie? Now I love a great cup of coffee, but if you’re finding yourself not eating well or worse, eating a lot of unhealthy foods and snacking on junk food throughout the day, you may be struggling with signs of burnout. Caffeine works to fill in the receptors and new road transmitters dedicated to receive melatonin. If you are constantly filling your body’s plea for sleep with caffeine, you may be creating a very unhealthy hormonal cycle. Caffeine can help in the short term, especially if you have a crunch or deadline. But if you are using caffeine to maintain a lifestyle where you can stay awake at work, you are on the path to burnout already. Take a week to rejuvenate your food intake. Rid your cupboards of junk food, and cut your caffeine consumption in half, starting today. Fill your need with healthy food and drink eight glasses of water daily. Your body is an electrical system that runs on hydration. If you are depleting yourself by drinking soft drinks and caffeinated drinks high in sugar, you are depleting yourself of hydration. Sometimes the best way to elevate your mood is to drink a tall glass of water.
- Are you fatigued and flaked out? If you find yourself completely exhausted and tired most the time, and avoiding things because you are just not motivated to do anything, that is burn out. Fatigue has become a chronic condition for many moms. Most often this is rooted in a huge lack of self-care. If you are fatigued and flaked out most the time you must focus on self-care. Begin by doing something today just for you. Create a routine that is easy and rejuvenating. Commit yourself to something you love daily.
- Have you lost your vim, vigor and get up and go? If you are struggling to stay motivated, and this is a foreign feeling you may be battling signs of burnout. If you’re normally a very motivated person, with a lot of excitement in your day and find yourself just plain fizzled out and demotivated, it’s time for a break.
How many questions above sound familiar?
If you answered “yes” to even two, I suggest you take time today to figure out a very clear self-care strategy. Don’t worry, the best thing you can do is focus on renewing yourself so that your family and business can thrive.
Remember business burnout doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re feeling even one of the symptoms above it is time for you to do something now before it begins to affect your revenue or your health. Don’t let burnout consume you and win. Strengthen yourself, get support and spend some time rejuvenating. If you are bordering on burnout it is the best investment you can make for yourself, your family, and your business.
How do you battle burnout?
What suggestions do you have for other MOMpreneurs who might be reading this now?
Cena Block is a successful MOMpreneur on a mission. She is a coach, speaker, author, and founder of Sane Spaces, (http://www.sanespaces.com) and the upcoming MagnificentMompreneurs.Com – from Mom to Wow®. Her private coaching, group programs, and teleseminars kick-start MOMpreneurs and help them thrive. She hosts ‘Managing MOMpreneur Mayhem’ a bi-weekly show on Word of Mom Radio. To access her free training for MOMpreneurs go to http://www.sanespaces.com. You can find her @sanespaces on any of the social media sites, or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.