Listless. Uninterested. Sluggish.
These are just a few ways to describe the state of burnout. In a pressure-driven society, the risk of burnout is an all-too-real phenomenon, spurred on by the constant impulse to be productive. Even for seasoned veterans who turn up their noses and think that burnout will never strike them, I can guarantee you that at least once, they’ve experienced the mounting sense of dread that comes with an impending crash.
Just how do you get to a stage where you’ve lost the will to be productive?
It’s easier to reach this point than you might think.
Because this article is focused on side hustles, it’s pertinent to note that we’re talking about people who have full-time paying jobs and choose to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations on the side. There’s nothing more thrilling than notching up wins as a part-time entrepreneur, building up your mini-empire from scratch. There might come a time, however, when you inevitably find yourself burning the candle at both ends. The result is that the time you spend on your side hustle begins to encroach into other important spheres of your life. Neglecting your family, your health, or your freedom can leave you feeling just as we described at the beginning of this article.
What should you do after you’ve had a brush with the dreaded burnout?
- Learn to manage your capacity.
Most often, burnout is brought on by being too busy. In the early stages of starting out, it’s tempting to surge ahead and double-down on time investments into your side hustle. While these intentions are often admirable, you’ll soon learn that your finite capacity can only stretch so far. Learn to forgo side hustle commitments if you know that you’ve got too much on your plate. As thrilling as it might be to immerse yourself in the early stages of your extra-curricular pursuits, a more measured approach will save you from burnout. Try working in sprint blocks instead, breaking down a series of large objectives into smaller, and more manageable tasks that you complete over a set period. This management technique – which comes from the agile methodology – can be just as useful for you as it is for larger teams.
Learn to schedule your downtime so that you have something to look forward to. And most importantly, learn to say no. This will keep your side hustle from becoming a chore, which could lead to you abandoning it completely.
- Recognize that routine can be fatal and that recharging is necessary.
I’m a huge advocate for routines. Routines make our lives more efficient, which means we can be more productive. They can also be our undoing, however, turning what was once exciting into a banal, mundane procedure. Side hustles aren’t spared from this phenomenon, and if you’ve made it a routine to slave away at your side hustle, then perhaps it’s time to step back and realize that you need to recharge your batteries doing something completely different and spontaneous. As hackneyed as the saying may be, variety is indeed the spice of life and it will work wonders for your personal wellbeing to drop everything and do something exhilarating and unexpected. Something as simple as a last-minute getaway is sometimes all you need to rekindle the passion for your side gig and keep the creative fire burning.
- Find a passion that feeds into your side hustle but isn’t necessarily related to it.
It might seem a bit counter-intuitive to suggest taking up an activity if your side hustle already occupies such a large part of your life, but hear us out on this one.
When you’re fully immersed in your side gig, there’s a very good chance that you’re engaged in deep creative work. This is known as a flow state, a mental state where you’re fully absorbed in your work. This flow state is considered the pinnacle of productivity; an elusive nirvana where pleasure-inducing chemicals surge through the brain and bring on a feeling of invincibility.
It’s not always possible to tap into this flow state every time you sit down at your desk, but there are some strategies that can help you to achieve it. Physical activity has been shown to produce very similar chemicals to those that occur during a flow state, spurring feelings of intense focus that could assist in combating burnout. Gaming, although slightly more left-field, is also an activity that could help in warding off burnout as it engages different parts of your brain. Either way, find a passion that feeds into your side hustle and helps you to stay motivated.
In a society that tends to romanticize the struggle, it’s easy to want to keep plugging away. Take heed of the warning signs and learn to side-step the dreaded burnout with these three briefs, but hopefully helpful tips.
Do you have any strategies that help you to reset and flip the switch on your side hustle? Let us know!