The first quarter of the year has ended, and I can honestly say I’m glad because winter starts to suck after a while and the goals I set in January will become more attainable as the year goes on.
I’m a bit overdue for a recap, so I thought I’d give an update on how everything has been going thus far:
Goals for 2016
Pay off as much debt as I can – On track
This goal has been going very well. I’ve been consistently putting extra money toward my student loans each month and I hope to put even more money toward them this summer. Right now those suckers are sitting at about $17k but I’m hoping to get them down to $10k by the end of the year so I can knock out the remaining balance next year.
Get my emergency fund to $5,000 by December 31, 2016 – On track
Being so gung-ho about getting rid of my debt last year made saving fall low on my priority list but this year, I decided to change that around. Not having enough savings can leave you feeling trapped in a situation you don’t want to be in, or worse, unprepared for a major emergency expense.
I’m happy to say I should reach this goal quite early by July. I over saved a bit for taxes last year so I had some money leftover that I added to my emergency fund so I could reach my goal faster. Plus, I’ll need all the savings I can get it I plan to leave my job to freelance this year.
Start earning $5,000 per month in side income by the end of the year – On track
Freelancing has been going great! I met and passed my quarterly goal of bringing in at least $2,500 in side hustle income per month, so I’m more than halfway there.
After February’s income report, I recently decided to trade in my FT job to freelance full-time instead. As scary as it sounds, I’m not that afraid at all. I’m excited to see what I can do with 40 hours per week to freelance instead of my usual 20. It would be great if I can reach my goal of $5k per month by the time I decide to leave my job by the end of the summer, but I just need to keep scaling up and improving my skills and processes.
Improve my work-life balance – Fail
This has been a major fail. Between working full-time, freelancing on the side, and planning a wedding, along with all my other responsibilities, I feel like I’ve been working 3 jobs and I know I can’t go on like that for much longer.
Luckily, the wedding will occur in May so I can stop planning for it and paying for it. While I’m still able to create downtime to spend with my friends and family and I don’t feel like I’m working every second of every day, things could still be a bit more balanced. I know some people don’t believe in work-life balance, but I think it’s important to feel confident about your schedule and in control of how you manage your time. I don’t think we were meant to just work our lives away each day and night and have crazy schedules and never feel at peace with our life.
While there may always seem like there’s something else that needs to get done, it’s possible to get to that point in your life where you know your limits and end your work day at a certain point and you just slow down to enjoy life to the fullest. I know it’s possible and that’s what makes me a believer of work-life balance.
One of the reasons why I feel like I haven’t been able to achieve any balance this year so far is because I’ve been burning out regularly which is why I wanted to discuss some signs of burnout and how I’ve been overcoming it.
Common Signs of Goal Burnout
If you set some pretty lofty goals each year like I do, the odds of you getting burnt out during the year are pretty high. You’ll know that you are nearing or experiencing burnout when you:
- Get tired easily and all the time
- Lack the motivation or drive to work or pursue the goals you set
- Feel anxiety or feel stressed out all the time
- Have feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment
- And in some cases, anger without a real motive
Beating Burnout and Staying Accountable with Your Goals
When I get burnt out, I experience almost all of these common signs. On the bright side, I always bounce back shortly and I’m working to avoid repetitive burnout in the future by doing a few things to recharge:
Getting Lots of Sleep: This is my go-to activity whenever I’m feeling burnt out. I already know I don’t get a lot of sleep so I make sure I go to bed whenever I’m feeling tired during the week and I take naps during the weekend so I can feel well rested for any activities that are on my agenda. When I wake up I always feel refreshed and regenerated. I get pretty cranky and exhausted when I haven’t slept well so staying up late to get ‘one more thing done’ is usually not an option for me.
Simplify your tasks: Planning an unrealistic schedule is never a good idea. If you’ve been burnt out before, you should have a good idea of what level of responsibilities puts you over the edge and avoid it. Listen to you energy levels and only give yourself a limited amount of tasks to complete each day. For me, I used to try to knock out at least 2 articles per week day for other clients and my blog, but now that I’ve been extra busy these past few weeks, I Lowered my expectations to 1.5 articles per day or even 1 if I have other work-related tasks to do. I’m usually able to knock that out in the morning before I even get to my full-time job.
Let others know you need a break It’s also important to tell people that you are experiencing some burnout and need to take a break. Take an afternoon off from work to rest and let others in your life know what’s going on. Skipping a few hours of work won’t kill you.
Continue to outsource: It’s no secret that I love outsourcing. When you’re a busy person, it’s a must. You need people on your team to help you in times like this when your productivity slows down. Don’t be afraid to seek out help when you really need it.
Talk to somebody: Burnout is not a foreign issue and many people experience it. Vent with someone you feel comfortable talking to about what you’re experiencing and see if they have any helpful suggestions to provide. Just stepping away from the things that are stressing you out and having a nice conversation with someone can help. Last week, the girls and I discussed dealing with business burnout on our podcast and while the episode hasn’t been posted yet, the topic really hit home for me and it was a great conversation. Just talking to other people who were going through the same thing that I was helped me relax more and escape from some of the negative feelings I had.
Just doing something as simple as making a change to your daily environment or having a conversation with someone can really help motivate and inspire you to get back into gear and brush the burnout off.
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