I’m sure anyone who has undertaken any sort of substantial renovation project whilst working a full time job and / or bringing up a family can relate to the feeling of burnout
I used to go through a variety of different emotions with each different stage of a development. Initially its excitement, often this would be swiftly followed up with panic (what they hell have I done), then the frustration would set it. This can come from a whole host of different causes, the top ones of these are often;
- People – I probably don’t need to say anymore. When you speak to the average person about the prospect of managing builders, they will often shudder and recoil to the nearest corner and start rocking back and forth (it doesn’t need to be this way though, more of that in another post). It can also be neighbours. I have experienced it with certain members of the council before. Learning to accept that which is not in our control (other people often come into this category) is certainly an art form. I would love to say I have mastered it, but right now I just aim to be a little better each day
- Money – in my experience of doing property renovations and developments (which has been pretty consistent since 2012) money, in particular financing the work, has been a HUGE stress factor in every single project except my last (I managed to get to the stage where I had all the money in the bank before starting). That said, there was still constant questions sat in the back of my mind, am I doing this in the most efficient way possible? could I make more of a saving on materials? Is the price of materials going to keep going up or will it start to subside? And so, the list goes on
- Economy – in particular house prices, this does overlap money slightly but it’s taking more of a macro view. This is something that is not in our control, it can therefore be extremely frustrating when the rest of the world decides to do things that negatively affect our plans
Once the frustration has subsided a bit (it never totally goes haha), there will often be a spell where things go well, you get into a flow, yeah there are still challenges but you start seeing dreams turn into physical reality. I personally believe the positive effects of this counteract all the bad times (or as I like to call them the resilience building, character defining times)
Before I know it, the finish line is in sight, just that last 5% and it’s there, it’s done, the dream is complete . . . and that’s when it used to hit, with its FULL FORCE!
It feels like you have been punched in the face by a JCB digger, the overwhelm that would hit me would be like nothing I have experienced before. Some days I would make so many decisions that by the time the evening came, just trying to decide what to eat felt like an impossible task. Often from the outside these would seem like inconsequential decisions. However, when you have spent the previous 3 months trying to work out where everything goes and how each different aspect works, before it’s even been created, you can start to lose the plot
Initially, I would have to rely on those around me to point out what was going on. I had a mentor many years ago who always used to say, “when ten people say you are dead, you lie down”. Obviously, this is not a literal saying, what he meant by it was, if lots of people start saying the same thing, maybe you need to start listening?
After the third person would say something along the lines of “maybe you just need to take a day off mate”, I would eventually start to take it on board. When you are in that place though, taking time out appears to be the least productive thing you can do
In the early years I would fight against this kind of “logic”, insisting that the only way to progress was to “keep pushing”. There are only so many times you can hit burnout and push yourself to the brink mentally before you must concede a bit and start listening
This however is not the number one culprit in my opinion. I’m fortunate that I have always managed to surround myself with the most amazing mentors that I could ever wish for. There has been a consistent theme with what different people have said to me over the years. When I’m in a place of complete emotional, physical and mental breakdown (this happens a lot more often than I would like to admit), the first questions will always be the same, are you currently;
- Eating ok?
- Sleeping ok?
- Going to the gym? (il do another post on this as it seems ironic when doing physical work but there’s a lot of logic behind it)
- Drinking enough water?
Generally, the answer will be no to each, as I was in the midst of an extremely demanding project, so “thought” I did not have time. What I’m about to say is going to seem so ridiculously simple, the majority of people reading this will probably ignore it
The big one out of all the above is actually the easiest to rectify, not drinking enough water will cause you to absolutely lose the plot when you are trying to deal with highly stressful, overwhelming situations. It sounds ridiculous to just say drink plenty of water and all will be fine – admittedly it won’t make the problems go away, but you will be in a much better position to deal with them. When the body is dehydrated, what effect does this have on the brain do you think? The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, therefore it’s a vital ingredient
When this was first brought to my attention I replied with a long list of the problems that I was facing that day, instead of actually listening. At some stage I decided to make a conscious decision to always have a 2 litre bottle of water next to me throughout the day. To then drink as much and as often as I could. The problems didn’t go away, but I was able to think of solutions
I have tested this theory when working with others. I’ve seen people getting really stressed out over something reasonably minor, suggested “drink lots of water”. When I checked in a few hours later, the absolute disaster that was taking place earlier was now more of a minor incident!
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After many years of doing it the hard way, I have now got to the stage where I can keep myself in optimum performance (well most of the time). My only regret is that I didn’t learn to start prioritising myself sooner
Managing yourself is an extremely important part of any business, therefore it should be THE TOP PRIORITY
Thanks for reading, as always let me know your thoughts?