Ep. #55 – When Productivity Leads Straight to Burnout

May 3, 2022

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Hello, friend, and welcome to this episode of the She Calls Her Shots Podcast. Today, I’m actually recording this and sharing from Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is really fun. I had a wedding shoot that I helped with this weekend in North Carolina for a good friend of mine and fellow photographer. And so I was able to travel from North Carolina now here in Santa Fe. And then will soon be going on another fun trip for a branding shoot, which I’m so excited about. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see all my behind the scenes of that. 

Welcome and thank you so much for listening to this episode today. I am really excited about this episode because we are going to be talking about burnout. And truthfully, whenever I am a guest on other podcasts, whenever someone asks me to teach or talk about something, I feel like burnout is the number one thing that’s always requested. And I really think that’s because one, we don’t really see that side of other business owners on Instagram. We’re not really seeing the burnout, because usually what happens is someone feels burned out, and then they’re not showing up on Instagram, they’re taking some time for themselves. So when someone is feeling burnout, it’s really hard to feel like you’re not in it alone. But, friend, I am here to tell you today that you are not in this alone, because since this is my most requested topic, I can tell you that there are so many other entrepreneurs that are right now going through the same things. 

So before we dive into this episode, today, I just wanted to send a big thank you. And a big hug to the username that I have here from this review is Sweetly Broken. And she said, Krista provides so much encouragement for female entrepreneurs, she sheds light on so many aspects of being an entrepreneur in such an encouraging way, it really helps remove the overwhelm. And you’re reminded you got this and that you can do this. And thank you so much for this review. This means so much to me. I honestly love getting to read your notes and your messages when you leave reviews for the podcast. So thank you so much for that review, I appreciate it more than you even know. And with all of that said, I am here to remind you that you got this and you can do this. So let’s go ahead and dive into the topic and the meat of this episode today. 

Origin of the Episode Idea 

So where this episode idea kind of came from, obviously, like I mentioned, this is a topic that I get requested to talk about often. This is my number one thing that I feel like I’m talking about on other podcasts, with other business owners, this is the number one thing that I feel like people request. But on top of that, when I was planning this trip, I wanted to download and listen to an audiobook. I don’t know about you, but I love books. But I have a really hard time finishing paper books, like actual physical books. I am much better at audiobooks and things that I can read and listen to at the same time. So when I was prepping for this trip, I knew that I wanted to listen to an audiobook that was going to be somewhat encouraging and insightful and really help me in my business and in my personal life in some way. But I didn’t want to get so focused on finding a book that was marketing or selling or how to be better at social media or sometimes those really tactical strategic things. I didn’t want that kind of a book. I wanted something that would be encouraging, but in a little bit of different light. So I actually started listening to this audiobook, and it’s called Do Nothing, and it’s by Celeste Headley. And that’s where this specific episode idea came from. Because as I was listening to the audio book, honestly, in the first couple chapters, I already knew I was going to love it. And the premise of the book and the thing that we’re going to be diving into today on this episode is this idea that sometimes our constant desire to be able to hack or increase our productivity and get super productive and get rid of all of our distractions and really be able to be hyper focused, sometimes we get so caught up in those motions, that we don’t realize that that perspective and those habits that we’re building are actually the things that are causing us to feel more burnt out. And so that’s what we’re going to be diving into in this episode today. 

So if you’ve been feeling burnout, if you’ve been feeling like, you’re so focused on your strategy, and really getting in the weeds of trying to do things perfectly, so that you can grow your business the most efficiently, then this episode is for you. Please listen in. And I’m going to be talking today because this is something that I very recently went through. So I’m going to be talking about the stories and everything that I’ve been through recently. And I know that it will connect. If you’ve been feeling this way, just trust me, you and I have both been in this together. 

How to Be Intentional With Your Days

So diving in, just to start off a quote that was in the beginning of this book that really stuck out to me, and again, this is Do Nothing by Celeste Headley, if you’re interested in the book, but one of the first quotes that she mentioned in the book said, “we judge our days based on how efficient they are, and not how fulfilling they are.” And as I was listening to it, this line really stuck out to me. Because honestly, whenever I’m talking to women, business owners who work full time and on the side are growing their own business, one of the conversations that we have often is, I hear this sentiment around, when I’m full time in my business, I’ll finally have time to do X. Or when I’m no longer working full time, I’ll finally have time to be able to do Y in my business. And it’s this concept and this perspective and belief that we have, that once we are able to go full time in our business that somehow we’ll have more time. And it makes sense, right? Because if you’re spending eight hours a day working at a job, it doesn’t even matter how many hours a day it is. It could be four hours, six hours, if you have a certain amount of hours where you’re consumed with something else. And you are no longer having to do that, in your head, you think, “Oh, I’m gaining all of this time, right.” But the idea behind this is that somehow, that time is going to be efficiently spent in doing the right things in your business. And what I mean by that is that, I think underlying this belief is this thought that we’ll somehow have the clarity of I know exactly how I’m going to fill up those four hours. Somehow, when I’m no longer working for six, eight hours a day, once I’m going full time in my business, I’m going to be so efficient, because I’m gonna know exactly what to work on, I’ll have all this time to be able to grow my business in the right way, and do all the things that I want to do that’s gonna get me to where I want to go. But I tell you this out of love and out of experience that when I made that transition myself, and I went full time in my business, I also had that belief that. “Oh my gosh, can you imagine all of these hours each day are all of a sudden going to open up to me?” What ended up happening is that, yes, I filled those hours with my business 100%. But I wasn’t adding in and focusing on the core things that I needed to focus on to grow my business. Do you know what those extra hours were filled with? Well, now I have so much time to show up more on social media, or now I can really grow my marketing strategy, or now I can really focus on this new platform that I want to be on. It got filled with all of these nice-to-have things in my business. And the reason I want to bring that up first is because I want to debunk that belief that more time equals more success. Or more time in your day, equals your ability to grow your business faster. Because there are so many factors that go into deciding how we’re going to spend our time. So whether you have four hours to work on your business every day, or you have four hours to work on your business every week, you can still grow a thriving business. It’s really just figuring out and coming back to the basics of what are the core things that I need to be doing, and how can I make it sustainable? And so all of that said, I just wanted to preface that a little bit before we dive into the rest of the episode. So I want you to keep that in mind as we go through these four main topics. 

So the first thing that I want to remind you of is, it’s so easy to forget that honestly the rest and giving yourself time away from building your business and away from the work, that rest time is just as important as the work itself. And believe me, I know you’re hearing this and you’re like, Yeah, I know that. Krista, I already know that. Of course, I give myself rest. But I want to encourage you to ask yourself, are you really giving yourself time off? Like, really giving yourself time off? And I’m not just saying, Oh, one night a week, I don’t work on my business. And I watch a Netflix show. That’s great. Believe me, that is absolutely great. But are you spending time each week to do the things that really fill you up? Are you spending time, a couple hours, whether it’s per day, or per week, doing the things that really bring you joy? Things like going for walks or going outside or going for a hike, taking your dogs to the park, whatever that might look like for you. I don’t mean just sitting on the couch and just giving yourself an hour off and calling that time for yourself. But are you really investing that time, that’s gonna fill you back up. So for me, this used to be bath nights, one night a week, I would treat myself to having one night per week where I would get in the bath, I would light some candles, I’d play some meditative music, I would either read a book or I would just let myself sit and think. And it was truly time for me to just unplug from everything. And I think that this time away is so much more important than just letting yourself watch your favorite show or watch your favorite movie. Yes, that time is important. But you’re really not allowing yourself that space that you need to really, truly fill yourself back up.

The Benefits of Making Time For Rest and Recuperation 

So are you spending time each week doing the things that bring you joy? And if not, why? And listen, I know you are listening to this podcast, because you are excited about building a business. And I know the goals you have feel so big and so exciting. And I know that you are so ready to be at that place and at that goal that you want to be at. But I really just hope that you remember that the only way that you’re going to get there is by building a sustainable business. And the only way that you’re going to build a sustainable business is by allowing yourself these moments frequently, time and time again. The moments that don’t have you feeling guilty, you shouldn’t be begrudgingly giving yourself a bath night and feeling guilty about the fact that you’re not working on your business. It’s really getting comfortable with this idea that I need this rest time, I need this time to reflect and look inward and just give myself time to be. I need this just as much as I need the work. And I hope that you can just take a moment today to reflect on that and just ask yourself, have I been doing that? And if not, what’s one small thing that I can add in this week, that will give me that extra refilling in my cup, give me that extra little bit of creativity and energy and just fulfillment and joy that I know that I want to have in my life. So that’s the first thing that I want to talk about is just the rest being just as important as the work. 

Because you know that when you give yourself this rest time, not only will you come back to the work feeling more creative, but you’re also going to feel like you’re doing something that’s sustainable. You’ll have more creativity, you’ll know that this is something that you can continue to do because you’re not working yourself to the bone every single day. So that’s the first thing. 

You Really Don’t Need to Work Yourself to an Early Grave

And the second thing that I want to talk about is this concept that we don’t actually need to be working on our business eight hours a day to grow a successful and thriving business. And I know you might be thinking, wait Krista that literally sounds opposite of everything that the world tells me. Because in social media, in other businesses, we’re constantly bombarded with this idea that we have to be going all in. Go big or go home. Go all in or you’re not going to grow something big. But truthfully, I built a very thriving business, a photography business while working full time for eight years. And I can tell you right now, I did not have eight hours a day to work on my business right? Now, I can also tell you that I didn’t have the best work life balance during those eight years. Because truthfully, since I was working eight hours at my job during the day, that meant that most nights I was coming home and working. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, Krista, I have a full time job, I work eight hours a day, sometimes more, and I’m growing a business, I just want you to know that I hear you, I see you, I feel you, I know exactly what that feels like. But I want to encourage you to know that when you do go full time, when you are really invested in your business full time, you do not have to commit to working eight hours a day, eight plus hours a day in order to grow a business that is successful. And I think sometimes we need to be reminded of that, because that’s the culture that we see. We see this hustle culture, we see people working day in and day out to grow their business. And I’m going to talk about this in the fourth point that we’re going to get into today a little bit more in detail. But I just want to encourage you to remember that if you had four super productive hours each day, where you got other things done that you really needed to get done, right. Like those core activities that you know are going to build your business, I would so much rather have you do that and give yourself four hours off every day, then spend eight hours working, where four of them are on the really important things, and four of them on more of the busy work things that could grow your business but aren’t actually essential to you building, to you making money and booking more clients. So I want to open you up to the idea that you don’t have to work harder and longer hours in order to build a business that thrives. And of course, sure, if you work eight hours for months on end, your business might grow faster than it would if you give yourself more time. But we’re all in this for the long haul, right? When we start a business, we’re not just looking to be an overnight success, burn ourselves out in the process, and then eight years down the road still are unhappy in what we’re doing. Because we’ve built a business on practices that are unsustainable and unfulfilling. Nobody wants that as a business owner. So I would so much rather have for you, starting off those practices early, starting off those sustainable practices, giving yourself time away from work and loving and enjoying what you’re doing. Because I promise you, that energy that you’re getting off to clients, when you actually truthfully love what you do, is going to build your business. It may not be as fast as if you worked yourself day in and day out. But I can promise you, you will be so much happier. So that’s the second thing I wanted to talk about was this idea that you don’t need to be working 8 plus hours a day in order to build a business that is sustainable.

Do You Know What You Are Working Towards?

And the third thing that I want to chat about quickly is just asking you this question of what are you working towards? Because so often, I think that we forget our end goal. And sometimes we don’t even know what that end goal is. There are so many times that I talk with other women business owners, whether it’s in coaching or just in conversations, but they’ll often tell me when I ask them, you know, where do you want to see your business in five years? What is it that you really want to see for yourself and your journey? What does that look like? And so often that answer is, I don’t know, I just want to be full time and making money. And that’s a great goal. But if your only goal is to have a business and make money. I can promise you, you’re not going to be very happy. What are the things that fill you up? What do you want to be spending your time doing? How many hours a day do you want to work? Do you want to work five days a week? Do you want to work four days a week? Do you want to have a day off every week so you can go explore a new city or a new town near you? What is it that truly brings you joy? And if you don’t know what that answer is, that’s okay. But I want to encourage you to dig a little deeper and ask yourself, what is it that I really enjoy doing? What fills me up? And for me, for example, the thing that I’m trying to be better at is that one day a week I want to have an afternoon, from 12 until five for example, where I just go out and do something that brings me joy. Because I want to build a business where I don’t have to be working eight plus hours a day. I don’t necessarily need to have every single Friday off, ideally that would be great. But I want to make sure that I have one afternoon each week where I can go off and whether that’s go for a swim in the pool, if it’s good weather, and it’s summertime. Or I want to take my dogs for a really long walk, and then maybe go out for a drive, or I want to go on a hike, or I want to go and walk around Target for a couple hours. I just want to make sure that I’m giving myself time every single week, where I get to do things that fill me with joy. And that’s because my long term goal, where I want to see my business in five years, is I don’t want to have a business that feels like I have to be in it 24/7. But you know what, right now I’m in a growth stage. And I could easily be in it 24/7. It is very easy for me to sit down, work on my computer, and the whole day is gone. And then all of a sudden, I’ve not done anything for myself and it’s Friday. And so figuring out what are the things that are important to you and how can you start implementing those values now, so that you can make sure that you’re building in those habits for the long run. So that’s the third thing. It’s just asking yourself, what am I working towards? What kind of a business in life do I want to have? 

Are You Being Too Strategic With Your Goals? 

And the last thing I want to talk about really quickly is asking, are you being too strategic with your goals. And I’m going to tell you the story really quickly, honestly, so a couple of weeks ago, I had a call with my life coach. And I kid you not, I got on the phone with her and all of a sudden, 10 minutes into the call, I just started crying. And I didn’t even know why I was crying. I didn’t think that I was going to cry on this call, I just all of a sudden got hit with this overwhelming emotion because I realized I had been so involved in trying to create strategies and trying to be so strategic in how I showed up on Instagram in how I showed up in my blog posts and how I showed up on Pinterest. And the strategy was all consuming. I felt like my business no longer felt like a part of me. It felt like I was trying to create and build this well oiled machine that was just so strategic and would work great for Instagram, what works best for the algorithm, when

can I best show up, what’s going to get the most views? I was finding myself so consumed in this strategy that I forgot that my business and every business. I want this to be so much more focused on the relationships, the connections, how am I engaging with my audience. I don’t care about the algorithm and the numbers. Yes, that is important. But am I showing up and like DMing, the people that are following me and encouraging them and, you know, letting them know that I’m here and just celebrating them and being here for them and not with some weird ulterior motive. But just being here and being present, and really just being in my business, and I realized really quickly that I wasn’t doing that. And I was so focused on the strategy that it was actually hurting my goals and my performance. Ironically enough, I was so focused on the strategy, and it wasn’t getting the results that I wanted. And so I had this call with my coach, I just started crying. And the question that she asked me was, what can we focus on right now that will help you make money, but we’ll also feel fun? I literally want you to forget the strategy and focus on fun. What can you do in your business right now that will feel fun, that will still help you get towards your goal. And it was so hard because I had to take my list of things that I wanted to do and cross off all of the things that weren’t fun, they were just business building strategy stuff. And it’s the craziest thing because as soon as I did that, as soon as I let go of that strategy, and I just let myself be in my business and show up in that way, I’ve literally had the most booked out six weeks than I’ve had in these first three months of the year combined in my business. And it absolutely blew my mind. Because yes, strategy is important. And yes, of course it’s so important to have a vision of where you’re going and to know your goals and what you’re focusing on. 

But sometimes we hold our goals and our dreams so tight that we end up sucking all of the life out of them. Because we forget that our business is us showing up. It doesn’t matter if the way that you’re showing up today isn’t best for the Instagram algorithm. Or you forgot to post stuff on Pinterest today. Or you forgot to write a blog post this month. It’s okay. Allow yourself to get over that and to just simply show up in a way that connects and engages with your audience. Because truthfully, people want to be seen and felt and heard. So how can you do that today? How can you not only show up for yourself, but also show up for other people? So that’s the last question that I have is just asking and really getting honest with yourself, are you being too strategic with your goals?

Mindset Tips To Help You Build a Thriving Business

And a few quick little things, as we wrap up, a couple of mindset tips, I know that was a lot already for you. So I’m gonna keep this short. But I want you to remember that you are building this business, you are in this for the long haul. And so I want you to take that pressure off yourself. Any timelines that you have for yourself this month, any goals that you’ve created, any to-dos or tasks or projects that you have for this week, or this month, I want to encourage you to look at them, and really ask yourself, does this have to get done in this timeframe? Is there actually a reason why I need to get this done right now? Or was I just putting pressure on myself because I felt like I needed to have results. Like I felt like I needed to show something for myself. And so just get really honest with yourself and see if you can expand and open up some of these timelines that you’ve created, because I promise you, you will feel so much less burnt out and so much less overwhelmed when you remember that these goals aren’t going anywhere. You can continue working on this and it might take a little bit more time, but you’ll feel so much happier at the end when you’ve done it in a sustainable way that has brought you joy, as opposed to trying to crunch and get everything done at the same time.

And another thing is, I just want you to remember that social media and looking at other accounts and other business owners, those things are not the quote unquote, the average business journey. Like, I want you to remember that just because someone looks like they’re having all of the success and all of this really great stuff that’s happening in their business, I want you to remember that you know nothing about what’s happening behind the scenes, right. And so just that little reminder that if you need a little bit of space from social media, if you need to give yourself some time, or a little bit of a break away from looking at other people and their business, please give yourself that. Because there is nothing good that comes out of comparing where you are right now to what you’re seeing on someone’s highlight reel. 

And lastly, just remembering and just finding so much joy in the fact that your journey is your journey. And you get to choose what that looks like. How beautiful is that? As business owners, we get to decide what our business looks like, we get to decide our values, we get to decide what’s important to us, and how we treat our clients and our customers and what our client journey looks like. And we get to make all of these decisions. And I just want you to find so much joy in that. And it doesn’t matter what someone else’s business looks like or what someone else’s journey looks like. I want you to just remember, your journey is your journey. And it is such a beautiful journey and you will be so happy that you gave yourself that space and that time to be able to grow it in a way that’s authentic to you. 

So thank you so much for listening. And I hope that this was helpful. And if you love this episode, I would just absolutely love it if you left a review on Apple podcasts. I honestly love getting to read each and every one of your comments, it fills me with so much joy. And it’s also so fun getting to shout you out on the podcast. So please leave a review. If you’re a frequent listener, if you’re just now listening in for the first time, thank you so much for being here. Each episode, each week is kind of just like this, we’re just gonna get into the real talk of everything that it’s like to grow a business and so if you’ve loved it, I would love to have you subscribe and to leave a review. And until next time, I just hope that you keep calling your shots. Keep standing up for yourself. Keep believing in your journey. And I will see you over in the next episode. 

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I'm Krista! Wedding and Personal Brand Photographer & business coach based in Northern California. I’ve been photographing weddings & women business owners since 2010, and I fall more in love with my job everyday. 

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