In the summer of 2013, I nearly lost one of my best friends to “workahol”, you know, the stuff that workaholics are addicted to.
He was suffering in silence as a “Lost Warrior”, grinding away night and day, never asking his family for help, never willing to have the difficult conversations with his passive-aggressive staff members that made his business harder to run, not easier.
My friend’s name – Bedros Keuilian.
And one morning while he was alone at home, he bent over to tie his shoes and when he stood up a full-blown anxiety attack overcame him.
He gasped for air, clutched at his heart, and doubled over. He felt near death and (unwisely) drove himself to the hospital.
Within a couple of hours he was discharged, told to slow down, and yet he went straight back to workout to continue his burnout and hid this horrible moment from his family for years.
He was lucky. But if you go through this, you might suffer a different fate.
Eventually, Bedros decided to Man Up (his words, and the title of his Wall Street Journal best-selling book that has helped tens of thousands of men and women take back control of their lives).
Bedros and I have spent dozens of hours talking about the changes that both and he and I made after our eerily similar anxiety attacks. And we put together this list so that you never have to suffer the same stressful fate as us.
Put these in place immediately to recover from burnout and you’ll find the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders, and even better, your life and business will soon become better.
1. Fix Your Potato Sack
If you were to ask ten of your closest friends and associates how they’re doing, at least nine out of ten would give you the exact same response.
In 2023, entrepreneurs and high-performers seem to take a perverse satisfaction in overwhelming and overextending themselves.
They proudly flaunt their 70+ hour work weeks and wear their debilitating busyness as a badge of honor.
And it needs to stop.
Workaholism, or as I call it “Trying to fit 10 lbs of potatoes in a 5 lbs. sack,” is a fool’s game. This is a perfect recipe for burnout.
Sure, it might help you make a few big leaps in the short run. But over time, it will result in burnout, depression, and chronic anxiety.
Remember: To do great things, you must start by doing fewer things.
You can’t be an effective CEO, CFO, CMO, HR manager, and janitor all at the same time. Something has to give.
Luckily, I’ve developed a simple tool that will help you quickly identify and eradicate the “fluff” from your schedule so you can focus on your area of genius and make sustainable progress toward your biggest goals.
I call it “The Billionaire Time Matrix” and it goes like this…
First, draw a box with four quadrants. Think about every task you must take care of inside your business and write them down into one of these four boxes:
- What do I hate doing?
- What is NOT my job?
- What should I stop doing?
- What are my distractions?
Now go through each box one-by-one and identify what’s not working for you.
What’s causing you to feel overwhelmed at work? What’s causing the burnout that you’re recovering from? Where are you wasting your time on low-value activities?
In that first box, write out the things you hate doing.
Things that might seem necessary but steal a disproportionate amount of time, energy, and attention each week.
From sales meetings, to phone calls, to writing emails – first you have to identify the things you hate so you can figure out how to eliminate them from your schedule.
Next, identify the things you do that aren’t worth your time.
What is not adding value or bringing in revenue to your business? Are you wasting 2 hours a week doing interviews on small podcasts?
Are you publishing 3 articles a week even though it doesn’t mesh with your business model? Are you wasting time with leads who will never convert?
In the third box, write out the things you do that don’t require your specific skillset and could be done by someone else.
What is NOT your job? For example, my buddy Bedros doesn’t write his own emails, blog content, or sales copy. These are important parts of his business but he doesn’t need to do them.
Finally, in the last box, note your biggest distractions.
Do you get sucked in by newsletters in your inbox? Does your five-minute Instagram scroll turn into an entire hour wasted?
With your boxes filled out, take a few minutes to identify the ways you can eliminate, delegate, or automate the items you listed.
Can you outsource tasks you hate to someone on your team? Can you limit the number of times you respond to email every day? Delete Instagram from your phone? Hire a new writer or assistant?
Whatever it is, take action on it this week.
If you’ll take this exercise seriously, I promise you’ll add at least 10-15 hours of free time back to your week.
You can’t expect to be recovering from burnout while you’re flat-out working on the very things that caused the problem in the first place.
2. Get Your Detox On
The #1 fastest way to recover from burnout is not to try and fix anything you do from 9-5 (or whatever your working hours might be) but to address the way you spend your time outside of work.
Here’s the thing…
Most of the entrepreneurs I know work for 9-12 hours a day. And when they finish their professional obligations for the day, they come home, turn on the TV, pull up their Instagram, and mindlessly zone out until it’s time to go to bed.
The problem is that any activity involving electronics is, by its very nature, highly stimulating.
Instead of giving your brain a break from the demands of modern life and allowing you to recharge your batteries, you bombard your brain with unnecessary information and unending stimulus.
And even though I do encourage you to cut out TV and non-business social media entirely (with a few rare exceptions), I know that some of you aren’t ready to make such a big leap quite yet.
This is why I recommend that you start small with something I call the “Weekly Tech Detox.”
Simply put, this detox is designed to disconnect you from the overstimulation of modern technology and reconnect you with the simple pleasures of everyday life.
When you plan your week, pick a day to turn off all of your devices (yes, even your phone) and completely step away from work.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through some “influencers” IG feed or watching yet another episode of Billions, plan a day full of activities that will help you feel rejuvenated or rested so you can begin recovering from burnout.
Go for a long walk with your spouse and hang out at a local coffee shop. Take your dog to the park for a few hours. Read a great novel. Practice an instrument.
Do whatever you need to do to feel completely recharged and stay away from your devices for at least 16 hours.
3. Catch Up On Your Zzzz’s
For years, entrepreneurs and high-performers have been inundated with this toxic idea that “Sleep is for the weak.”
That it’s somehow honorable to power through on only 4-6 hours of sleep a night. That they are the exception to the rules of biology and can function at peak levels while sleep deprived.
I’m here to tell you it isn’t and they aren’t. The research is in and the debate is over.
Unless you want to hustle your way to an early grave and sabotage your performance at every turn, you must commit to getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. End of discussion.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to several issues, including the following:
- Weight gain
- Risk of cardiovascular disease
- Amplified psychiatric disorders
- Increased risk of cancer and overall mortality
- Memory loss
Oh, and the best part? Researchers have also found that sleep-deprived individuals feel like they are performing at high levels but, in reality, complete every task slower, less efficiently, and with more errors.
And if you want to recover from burnout once and for all while improving your performance and getting more done you must get adequate rest.
If you want to dive deeper into sleep optimization and the importance of sleep, I recommend that you read the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and check out my 10-3-2-1-0 formula for amazing sleep.
I promise you, if you’re burned out right now, prioritizing sleep is the fastest way to beat burnout and get back on top of your game.
4. Buy Back Your Time
One of the most common mistakes I see my clients making, even clients making 7 or 8-figures, is that they waste their time on $10/hour tasks.
They waste their time and energy doing tasks that aren’t their job and waste thousands of dollars in potential profit as a result.
And, even worse, they burn themselves out and dilute their energy and focus because they’re trying to “do it all.”
For example, my friend Bedros once missed out on a $25,000 sale because, wait for it…
He decided to fix a sprinkler in his yard and hand off the sales call to an untrained assistant.
For $200, he could have hired a landscaping company to fix the sprinkler and he would have netted more $24,800.
But he didn’t and he lost out on a huge payday as a result.
What about your life? Where are you wasting your time on $10/hour tasks that don’t serve your big vision or push you closer to your big goals?
Do you spend hours each week cutting your own yard, doing your own dishes, or cooking your own meals when you could outsource those tasks for $10-$50…
And then use the time you would have otherwise wasted to make an extra $500-$1000?
Do you manage your own calendar, respond to every email, and review every new piece of content when you could hire an assistant to handle these tasks for $500/month so you can focus on your area of genius?
Take a few minutes right now to write down all of the $10/hour tasks that are standing in the way of your success and commit to buying your time back this week.
5. Treat Yourself Like an Elite Athlete
To perform at the highest levels (sustainably) and recover from burnout for good, you must treat yourself like the star athlete of your team.
Do you think Lebron James trains for 12 hours a day without taking a break?
Do you think he bats an eyelash about investing in high-quality foods, weekly massages, cryotherapy sessions, or simply taking a day off to spend with his family?
Of course not! And neither should you.
Not only should you treat yourself to the best nutrition, supplementation, and recovery practices (think deep tissue massages, a weekly spa day, or even an afternoon nap) you can afford…
But you must intentionally make time for yourself during your perfect week planning sessions.
Each week I encourage you to carve out at least 4-5 hours of time where you can engage in practices and activities that restore and relax you.
Whether you give yourself permission to take a 30-minute nap after your lunch break each day, schedule a 60-minute walk after your workday ends, or make time to pursue a creative hobby like the guitar, oil painting, or writing you must make time for yourself.
Because the more centered and energized you are, the more effective you’ll be in your career and the more productive you’ll be throughout the week.
Take a step back from the daily hustle and grind and trust that the more you pour into yourself the more you’ll have to pour into your friends, family, and business.
6. Use a Daily Brain Dump to Clear the Clutter from Your Head
To clear the clutter, recover from burnout, beat overwhelm and clearly see the big picture, you need to get all of the “junk” that’s littering your mind out of your head and onto paper.
By writing down all the things that are causing anxiety in your life and looking at them objectively, you can regain control of your thoughts and see your situation for what it is.
When all of the pieces are out of your head, it’s easier to see how they all fit together.
To help you with this, I encourage you to build the habit of a daily “brain dump” immediately after you finish work each day. The practice is simple.
During the final 15 minutes of your day, pull out a piece of paper and write down everything that you need or want to do over the next few days.
From here, you can begin to eliminate tasks and obligations that don’t serve your vision, schedule the things that matter, and get clarity on what you need to do and why.
You can figure out which projects to prioritize, which ones to let go, and what new opportunities you can pursue to achieve your goals faster.
When combined with a regular journaling practice (to help you make sense of your emotions, frustrations, and desires) and a tool like my 90-Day Blueprint you can eliminate the clutter in your head, get crystal clear on the steps you need to take, and end anxiety for good.
7. Keep Perspective and Do NOT Hit the Panic Button
Whenever we’re caught in the grip of burnout and overwhelm, it’s easy to panic.
To see minor setbacks as the end of the world, to “catastrophize” small problems, and turn “mountains into molehills.”
But here’s the thing…
The worst-case scenario you are projecting in your head will rarely if ever happen. But when you hit the panic button and allow the challenges of life to derail you, you make the problem worse and increase the likelihood of failure.
I know what it’s like to struggle with recovering from burnout, overwhelm, and anxiety.
I know what it’s like to feel trapped by your business. To be drowning in debt. To feel like there’s no hope for a better future.
But I also know that hitting the panic button has never helped solve the challenges I was facing.
The simple fact is this…
Your problems, no matter how bad they might seem right now, are not that big of a deal.
You aren’t going to go homeless or starve because of one failed project or one missed deadline.
And the challenges you’re facing in your life and business aren’t a matter of life and death.
Consider my friend and motivational speaker Navy SEAL Lt. Jason Redman.
During a poorly planned special operations mission in Iraq, Jason and the SEAL team he was leading walked into an ambush by Iraqi insurgents and he was shot in the head and arms a total of seven times.
According to the doctors who saved his life, he should have died on the battlefield.
And while he was recovering at a hospital in Maryland, friends, family, and doctors would regularly visit him and express their pity and sympathy for the challenges he would face as a result of his injuries.
Jason is an operator, the kind of guy who refuses to panic no matter what.
And in response to the sympathy and “I’m so sorry for your injuries” he received, he hung a sign on the door stating,
“If you’ve come here with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery.”
No matter how bad it might seem right now, you haven’t been shot in the head. You can recover from burnout and you can overcome whatever challenges face you.
Don’t the panic button. Keep a level head. Search for the solution. And remain calm, cool, and collected no matter what.
Recovering from burnout is simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
And by following the steps laid out in this guide, you’ll be able to do it much faster than you otherwise would.
If you want help…
Beating burnout, building unstoppable structure, overcoming anxiety and creating a business that works around your life and gives you the freedom and fulfillment you’ve been after for so long
…I’m opening up spots in my 2020 coaching program.
To learn more and see if you qualify to work with me or one of my team members, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Coaching.”
Over to you.
What was your #1 takeaway from today’s article? What’s the first step you will take to begin recovering from burnout?
Let me know in the comments below.