The people who love me warned me….
Wendy, you can’t keep up this pace.
No. I can’t.
Not for lack of trying.
The issue is permission.
Giving myself permission to work at a more reasonable pace.
There is a ridiculous amount of research outlining the psychological, physical and emotional cost of burnout. However, many of us find ourselves continuing to burn the candle at both ends.
That research doesn’t seem to be enough to override the fears that drive over-work.
The most persuasive argument I’ve found has been financial.
Seeing how burning myself out hits me (hard) in my pocketbook.
Leonie Dawson is an artist and businesswoman in Australia.
She’s targeted her business at female artist entrepreneurs. The materials, however, speak to all business leaders.
In one of her courses, she outlines the economic cost of burnout.
- How much are you losing because you can’t work? There are a few levels of this.
- The amount of money lost because you are too sick / tired to work (short term)
- The amount of money lost because you are too mentally fried and exhausted to even think about talking to people or put more work in the pipeline (longer term)
- The amount of money you gain when engaging in an activity vs the amount of lost income when recovering from that activity.
- For example – facilitating workshops. A workshop may bring in $5000, but she may lose another $5000 in lost income after the workshop as she recovers + the lack of energy needed to put more work in the pipeline.
- How much do you have to spend preventing or recovering from burnout? (doctor’s appointments outside of annual wellness visits, massages, the shrink….)
Then there are the qualitative costs.
- Less time spent with family and friends because you are too tired and overwhelmed to get off the couch
- Lack of exercise – so you then have to spend money on clothes that fit because everything else is too tight
- The drive to eat junk because the intellectual bandwidth to decide on what to eat and actually cook it feels like its too much. And the resulting costs, because eating out tends to be more expensive than cooking.
- And, for those of us with mental health issues, the risk of triggering those issues – making it even that much harder to function.
It was interesting to me that I finally wised up to the stupidity of driving myself to burnout when I finally saw (and felt) the economic effect of working the way I have.
The qualitative costs weren’t nearly as persuasive to me.
Maybe it’s a permission thing. Maybe it’s an ego thing. Maybe it’s a self-esteem thing. I’m sure it’s a combination.
Run your own numbers and determine your personal economic cost of burnout.
- For each day spent recovering – how much money do you lose in income?
- Calculate that even if you are in a job with sick days. That’s what your employer is partially spending when you are out sick. It provides a more persuasive argument to them if they are driving you too hard.
- I calculated mine by the hour. You can do your calculations by the day, week or month.
- For those who own their own businesses – how much do you lose in the longer term by not maintaining your pipeline?
- What is the least amount of money you will make if you let your pipeline dry up?
- How much money are you spending each month for your business, whether or not you have any work?
- If there are loans involved, how much are you spending in interest for each month you are not covering expenses?
- How long will it take to recover that pipeline back to break-even capacity?
- How long will it take to recover that pipeline back to full-capacity?
- Will this round of burnout result in permanent capacity shrinkage? A major risk for solo-preneurs.
- What other expenses will you have if you burn yourself out and need to recover? Therapy? Doctor’s bills? Skydiving? Spa day?
Then add the qualitative costs. What do you miss that has value to you by driving yourself to work so hard? What are you risking in regards to your health (mental and physical)? Base this on your own experience.
I’m not going to share the calculator spreadsheet she created. I want to respect her intellectual property.
You can find it in her Shining Biz and Life Academy in the course The Economic Cost of Burnout. I am not an affiliate and don’t make money if you click the link. I just found this really useful. Hope it helps.