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Burnout.

How to "close" for a few days

     
3:23 pm on Jul 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm self employed and run a busy company. The downsides of being on my own is obviously the lack of rest. However, I'm at the point of burnout and need a few days' complete rest. I just don't know how to manage this with my customers?!? Do I simply say, I'm closed on xx days? Do I just leave my emails and put an automated responder on? Anyone here got any tips?
3:35 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Lots of thoughts on this, but, let me start by suggesting that if you don't do something you could lose the lot.

Yes, you need to take rest, and there are different ways to do it. Taking a day off is a start, but you must resist looking at the e-mail and answering the phone. How much of it really cannot wait a long weekend!

Don't suddenly close for the day as that can cause frustration for happy clients.

One other way to look at it is to raise your prices so that you can invest in help, allowing you to take time off. Your assistant could simply be a call handler so that your clients always get a human, and not an answerphone.
If they are getting great service from you they shouldn't deny you an increase in fees. Look at the clients that are the most effort. Some of those always require more hand-holding. Bump up the price, but give them plenty of notice.

Think about it as growing the business.
3:35 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Normally i inform my most important customers i go on holiday and put an automated response on my email.

If you are close to a burnout you need a more long term solution than just a few days rest!
9:26 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Based on your brief description, it sounds more like you're tired, worn out, rather than burned out, and taking days off (completely) or delegating some of your tasks to others may be helpful in the short term. You can't always be going full-speed, and a few days' rest won't allow you to recover from a year of hard work, unfortunately. If your work doesn't allow for delegation or for days off, you probably need to rethink a few things, because for most people that is just not sustainable in the long term. I've seen businesses go down that way, and the people, too.

(If you do feel like you're heading towards a true burnout, however, as in the psychological condition that has much overlap with depression, you'll need to seek professional counseling as soon as possible.)
10:01 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If webmastering is approaching burnout for you, then you're in the wrong business.... meaning it has become WORK and not something you look forward to do day after day. When it reaches that point you need HELP. One of the best places is to grow your own by using young students who want to learn "business" and the "web". Don't give them the keys to the server, but give them enough access they can operate the day to day while you take off on the SLOW day of the week. They get part time work and OJT, you get a day off (after they are ready) and the site stays open to handle customers.

Warning! Adding employees after being solo for so long is also stressing, in addition to other requirements your local area/labor laws might introduce.

Or, if you simply must get away for 48 hours (or less) and you don't want to alienate any one, put a "Gone Fishin'! Back on xdate at xtime. See ya, then!" on the home page and then actually go fishing (or whatever) for that time period.
10:07 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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then you're in the wrong business.... meaning it has become WORK and not something you look forward to do day after day.

I don't think it necessarily means you're in the wrong business. Not looking forward to "webmastering" (and often other things, too) could be a symptom of burnout, and the cause doesn't even have to be the work itself. Once recovered, you may find that's you've also regained your passion for the Web. It's a tricky thing.
11:28 pm on July 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before." - John Coltrane

Getting away completely can be refreshing enough that when you return you may have a new perspective. I often do this.
6:51 am on July 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Cheers everyone; some great advice here.
6:00 pm on July 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Getting away completely can be refreshing enough that when you return you may have a new perspective.
Words to live by!

Having just been away for almost a week, I can certainly understand the situation! We have mostly migrated away from revenue models that require immediate (or within a few hours) response/actions. We have some part-time people who can step up and handle most of the "emergencies" that come up. So I have gotten to the point where I can get away without worrying too much.

Didn't go completely off the grid- I still spent close to an hour total each day (small chunks of time here and there) doing some small tasks. Admittedly, some of those tasks could have been postponed as well if I needed to.