With all the busyness in our daily grind, we’re all looking for the answers on how to avoid burnout. Why do we experience burnout anyway? One of the most common reasons why people get burnout is because they say yes too much. We say yes to avoid conflict, or we want to be a nice person, or we just want to get through the day. When we say yes too often, we take on too many obligations that are not productive for us, that may not be in alignment with what we’re trying to do and don’t help us get to our goals. That’s when we experience symptoms of burnout and basically we get stressed. International speaker, author, and radio show host Dr. Emily Letran works with business professionals and entrepreneurs streamline their business, increase their profits and win back time from work so they can enjoy more time with their family, their children and pursuing other passions. Learn how you can leverage from her business strategies and tips on how to avoid using yes and focus more on no.
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How To Avoid Burnout
We have a great guest with us, Dr. Emily Letran. Emily is an international speaker. She’s an author of several books and a radio show host as well. She’s a trainer in high performance. She’s dedicated in helping business professionals and entrepreneurs to maximize their potential both personally and professionally. She helps them to streamline their business, increase their profits, and win back time from work so they can enjoy more time with their family, their children and pursuing other passions.
That’s exactly what we’re about here, so it’s perfect to have you here. The business strategies that she shares are the result of being a CEO of several multi-specialty dental group practices for more than twenty years in Southern California. She’s bringing a whole host of experience so that we can leverage and understand the tips and tricks that she has to offer. Welcome, Dr. Emily. It’s great to have you here.
Thank you so much. Thank you for creating the platform to share your expertise and for some of us to share our strategies on how to grow business and still staying pretty sane. I’m honored to be on the show.
That’s what it’s all about. We want to help people to get more without having to work harder in order to get it. It’s being more strategic in the way that we approach things. This show is a great value to people as it’s going to be about how to avoid burnout. This is an important topic because it sneaks up on you. You think you’re doing great and then all of a sudden you’re down and out because you’re ill or something as a result of this burnout whether it’s physically or emotionally and you’re lost. Emily, what do you think causes burnout?
One of the most common reasons why people get burnout is because they say yes too much. They may not even be a people pleaser person because those people always say yes, but sometimes you say yes to avoid conflict. When you say yes just to get through the day, you say yes because you want to be a nice person. When we say yes too often, we take on too many obligations that are not productive for us, that may not be in alignment with what we’re trying to do, that don’t help us get to our goals. That’s when we experience symptoms of burnout and basically we get stressed.
We blame ourselves. How come we couldn’t do all this? We don’t step back a little bit and look at why we are busy? Why we don’t have time for our self? As a mom, I’m sure a lot of your readers out there are business moms; we take care of the whole family first before we take care of us. I can tell you how many times I would have the mom in the dental chair last and that has already had her work done and the kids have their work done and the mom is last. From a female point of view, because we grow up with that culture, we take care of everything else first before we do ours. You experience burnout in that case.
I want to break that into two parts because there’s a lot that we said there. I like what you said about it’s because we say yes to too much. I want to add there that entrepreneurs, and a lot of our readers are entrepreneurs, it’s harder for them. They do say yes not just to avoid conflict or they think that it’s opportunity. They say yes to every opportunity and it’s this pray and pray approach to prospecting.
They don’t go through a proper qualification process. They don’t have any rules and boundaries into what they say yes to. They forget that when they say yes to something, at the end of the day they are either spreading themselves too thin or they’re saying no to something else. For entrepreneurs, they have to do a word cleanse and say, “Try to avoid using yes. Focus more on no.”
Besides the fact that a lot of entrepreneurs have that shiny object syndrome, we want to start something new that looks good, that looks like it’s easier, that’s the faster way. We tend to go along and what helps most especially for me was to have mentors and coaches who hold me back and say, “No, you said you were going to do this first. Don’t jump to project B until you’re done with A,” because I’m thinking I’ll be able to do both at the same time. Get some perspective.
What’s most important? What do I have to do first before I do everything else? That’s one way to hopefully not say yes so many times. When I say avoiding conflict, I experience it myself and I’m sure we all do. You’re in the middle of your day, you’re busy and one of your staff come up to you and say, “Can you do this?” You’re trying to do the other thing, you just say, “I’ll do it,” and so you’re saying yes, that you don’t have to stop and take care of that. You just add it to your bucket. At the end of the day, everybody leaves and you’re still there.
We say yes too often. A client calls up and it’s not part of the scope of what you’re doing for them. They want you to do something extra and of course they needed it by tomorrow. I’ve seen that in a lot of instances where clients that I’m working with have that as an issue. I tell them that, respectfully, it’s okay to ask questions and to say no. We set precedence there if we say yes all the time. People are going to expect us to say yes versus, “I’m sorry, I don’t have enough time in order to prepare that properly. This takes approximately X amount of time and attention. I’d love to take a look deeper into what your needs are so that we can either split it out into pieces or we can schedule an appropriate delivery date for that.” It’s okay to say no in a professional way.
In my practices for the past going on 26 years, I have my staff make an appointment with me if they want to talk to me because it used to be, “Can I ask you one quick question? Can I have a moment with you?” The next thing you know you give them a moment of five minutes but your brain stays on that subject when you go on to see another client, another patient. It’s actually a distraction. Saying yes because they want a moment but it takes more than that moment of time for myself, my concentration, my focus.
One way to not say yes is to tell people to book an appointment, to set up a time. You can still look at it and say, “I will make this appointment. This is something maybe you can see my office manager. This is something that maybe you can talk to the IT person and you don’t really have to see me.” For a lot of us entrepreneurs, we don’t have any buffering. They immediately get us, they send an email and it’s us. Whether you say yes or not, you’re still answering to them. You’re answering to people’s agendas if you check your email.
When your routine is consistently being compromised you may be on a path to burnout Click To Tweet It’s not your agenda, it’s their agenda.
Because they want this and that. I experience it myself. You go through that a lot and then you feel overwhelmed. It may not come out as burnout, but you feel overwhelmed. You hate opening the email. You’re logging in and you see 50 emails waiting for you or whatever it is that’s your regular task. Whereas if you have your own agenda and you set your own priorities, whatever comes in for the day that does not fit into that, you don’t have to address it. You delegate it or you have it on the side. I’m looking at this, there’s an email but this has nothing to do with what I need to do today. I’m not even going to open it.
Hopefully you don’t even get it in your inbox because you’re qualifying, buffering things and creating systems that help to keep it out of your inbox. One thing that you’re saying creates burnout is saying yes and the overwhelm that that creates. What’s another thing that creates burnout?
Prioritizing, sometimes we do have a lot to do. My CPA for example, he always says, “After April 15, I’m taking off weekend. Nobody knows where I am.” You have to go hide because all the things are building up. I would have this conversation with him, I would say, “Why is it that one week before April 15 you won’t sleep? You allow people to send things in last minute, because you’re not prioritizing.
For example, you give the clients a deadline, your staff needs to be here this time or I’m going to charge you extra,” just for example. You file an extension, whatever it is. We serve people and we don’t set priorities for ourselves, then we end up getting burnout. It’s not that we’re trying to please people like the first part or say, “Yes,” but it’s because now we’re dealing with us. We’re the ones that we’re not protecting our time enough. We’re giving it away to work, we’re giving it away to clients and then we’re the ones suffering the consequences.
We need to be able to prioritize otherwise we can become overwhelmed with too many urgent items that need to be done with equal priority. The other thing that I understood it to be around is rules and boundaries. If you have a commitment that somebody has to have it done by a certain date, then there are consequences. The rules and boundaries are setting those rules so that people know what they are, and then having people follow through and receive the consequences if they don’t get it in that time, not making their lack of priority your over priority, your urgency.
That’s usually a conversation that I have first with people that I’m working with, is the clarity piece. Understanding how you operate, understanding your goal, your values, what’s most important to you? You create your work and your life based on that. When something comes in that disrupts that and that is not in alignment, it’s a lot easier to say, “I’m not doing this because this is not me, this doesn’t fit in.” If you want to take on more, then delegate. You bring in a team member, you have an expert help you. That way even though you’re growing, you’re not getting overwhelmed.
If you don't manage your energy due to being burnout, you start forgetting things. Click To Tweet I was in a position where in three years I bought three dental offices. That’s the discussion of another time, but I was able to handle all that. Looking back, “Why the heck did you do that?” It has to do with, “Here’s the opportunity, it comes up. Let’s go ahead and take that opportunity,” and then trying to grow, to match all of those challenges was a big challenge. That’s how I learned in a way to manage my time and manage people because of those challenges that I take on earlier in my life.
We can share that experience. We don’t want other people to have to make the same mistakes we made. What are some of the symptoms? How do I know that I am headed for burnout?
A lot of times when you have burnout, you don’t have enough sleep. You’re tired. You lose your concentration when you’re tired. If you don’t manage your energy due to being burnout, you start forgetting things. I had an office manager who used to work with me and she would book patients for me in two offices at the same time. I’m looking at it and I go, “This is not going to work out,” and later on she left, having burnout and it wasn’t so much work. She got a lot of family things. To me, people who start getting forgetful, not being able to finish what they started and it’s not their pattern. They’re tired, they’re frustrated. Sometimes they get cranky; sometimes they get upset for no reason. They complain. Sometime people just complain that, “I don’t feel well. I feel like I’m getting sick,” and then they start taking medicine, whatever medicine. They don’t realize that the first thing they need to step back and look at is how they run their life.
I also have friends, when we talked to them, “I’m so busy, I work through lunch,” and I would say, “You can’t be doing this. I know as a young doctor, yes, you may be able to do that when you first start out. You need to take care of your body; you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t serve anyone.” One of the signs of getting burnout is you lose your routine. You start doing whatever to take care of whatever’s in front of you.
You compromise your routine and then you affect your health. It may not show up as you’re tired or anything like that. It shows up as you’re not your regular self. Sometimes when I have that conversation with my friends, I can already tell them, “You’ve got to slow down.” They said, “But I feel fine,” and I said, “You still have to slow down because when you start getting lost a little bit in your way, you’re already heading down to that path of being burnout.”
When you start to compromise your routines and your regular practices, that’s a recipe for burnout. That makes total sense because what gets thrown off in the routine, it’s usually our self-care. Sleep suffers. That’s a great perspective. I have to take note of that too because I can say that I have been compromising my routine somewhat in the last couple of months. It’s going to give me a pause to step back and think about that, whether that means that I’m out of control or whether it’s a controlled deviation.
I suggest that everybody reading does the same thing. Are you ingrained in a routine? Have you ever been? When we have our routines, we are setting ourselves up for success because it’s purposeful. The way that I see this, I’m interested in your opinion on this, Emily. A routine is better than a habit, because habit is something that’s typically unconscious. It’s not always purposeful, but a routine is intentional. It’s very purposeful and it gets you to where you want to go. What’s your opinion on that?
Intention is always one of my favorite word because a habit is you’re just going through it unconsciously. “This is the time that I eat. This is the time that I go to bed,” kind of thing. When you are being very intentional about it, then you say, “This is the time that I need to eat lunch so I can function for the last half of the day. This is the time that I need to go sleep, so tomorrow I’m fresh and I’m ready to serve my client, my patient or my kids.” When you’re being intentional and you think about it, when people start distracting you from that routine, you will get bothered. “They know this is the time when I’m doing this,” and that doesn’t mean that you don’t be flexible, there’s always going to be exceptions. Be flexible in that moment and then you go back to your intentional routine, because that’s how you can be most productive.
Sometimes people would tell me, “I don’t get burnout. I’ve been doing this for many years. I’ve been pretty good. I don’t see why I have to get any better.” My question to them there is, “Are you fulfilling your God-given potential?” Even though you think you’re doing pretty well, but could you give yourself a ten out of ten based on your God-given potential. Not comparing yourself to the guy down the street, but do you think that you’re at your best?
A lot of times when people think of it like that, most of us would not give ourselves a ten out of ten on that, and then you have to look at, “Where can I change to get to that ten or nine and a half?” or wherever you want to go. If you think you’re at a six, “What can I do to get to a seven?” If you want a seven, “What can I do to get to an eight?” You’re always in that search, that quest to get better for your own sake. It’s not to impress other people, it’s not to do anything else but to serve yourself in your fulfillment of your goal, to serve your patients, your clients, to take care of your family. When you’re not at your best, you can’t serve other people.
Somebody once told me that a great thing for entrepreneurs to do is to ask them if they’d hire themselves. You want to hire somebody that really has and is going after the potential, that has the mindset, the determination and commitment that’s required to be successful. It’s a good question to ask yourself, it’s not the one that you asked which is, “Are you reaching your highest potential?” At a different level, would you even hire yourself?
When we say it like that, we probably will hire our self.
I know a lot of people that wouldn’t if they took a really good look at what they do and the way they do it. I dare say that more than 50% of the people, if they were honest with themselves, would not hire themselves. It’s just a gauge. What are some quick tips? Recap either what you’ve already said that were tips or tips that you want to leave people with. What are the top three tips to avoid burnout?
When you're not at your best, you can’t serve other people. Click To Tweet It’s to go through a couple of little exercises. The first one is I want them to ask themselves a very simple question and give it a rating from one to ten. When was the last time you put yourself first? You can give yourself a score there, and obviously the higher score the better. If you can’t think of the last time you took care of yourself first, then it should be a zero. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done there.
The second thing is I like for them to write down all the activities that they do in a day, your regular activities. Put a check mark next to the one that is income-producing. Hopefully everything you write down, you can put a check mark next to them. If you don’t have any check marks, if you have very little check marks, you need to look at why is it that you’re doing all the other things that are not producing income? This is where you’re saying yes to everything. You’re helping out with everything. You take over other people’s work. It’s not a direct reflection of producing income for you. It’s not important.
I would say the third thing to avoid burnout is to learn how to manage your energy. A lot of us, we start out fresh, early and we’re all vibrant. We’re go-getters and by about 3:00 PM we’re retired. I’ve see people drinking coke, drinking coffee, falling asleep, getting snacks. To be able to manage your energy, meaning you take frequent breaks in the day, maybe close your eyes because you’ve been staring at the computer for the past three hours. You take a two-minute break and do a little meditation.
Learning those little strategies to maintain your energy and to rejuvenate yourself would help you go through the day and still have the energy. By the time you get home at 7:00 PM, you still want to hang out with your kids; you still want to talk to your husband. Sometimes I go home and I still cook, because you maintain that energy throughout the day. A lot of us take energy for granted until we get sick, then we realize that energy is important and it’s something that you have to, again be very intentional and guard with. It’s like watching the news, because that will take some of your energy and this negative energy.
I totally agree with that. I don’t watch the news because it’s negative energy. Energy is everything in my book, but that’s where you start and that’s where you end.
Most of us don’t think of it, we take it for granted. We stay younger, we’re healthy and we’re going to expend our energy whichever way we want. If you get to going back to having a routine, when you take those breaks where you’re drinking a lot of water. When you know that you’re that tired, you need to go to sleep now and not trying to finish whatever the last thing is on your plate. You’re going to be much better off in the long run because if you’re running on a low battery all the time and you don’t find time to recharge, that battery is going to be dead. You won’t be able to do what you love to do.
Tell us where people can reach you and what you have for the audience.
People can find me on my website, DrEmilyLetran.com. I have a free eBook that shares my story, how I came into this country as a refugee, overcome challenges and go on and have my dental practices. I also share my strategies on how to grow my business. They can either text to 21777 and text the word FAST, or online they can go to ExceptionalLeverage.com/businessreport.
I would love to connect to the audience. People may have questions, they’re wondering if they’re doing too much or too little or they’re having doubt on the road of burning out. We’ve all been through that. The ones that come out successful are the ones that realize that you’re on that path going to burnout. We put in the work to work on our self, to relieve the stress, to be more productive and to always have that goal of living up to your potential without sacrificing your personal life.
It is all possible, just in case people are feeling like it’s not. It is possible. Thank you so much for being here, Dr. Emily. It was awesome to have you here and to share your tips and tricks around burnout.
I am grateful for the opportunity to come on and share that. I recommend everybody to step back and take some time to evaluate what they do on a daily basis, whether it’s in their personal life or in their business life. Make sure that you only do what’s most important to get you to your goal.
Thank you so much for being here.
For all of you, thank you for being here. I’m sure that you took away at least one nugget, I know I did. In looking at when I compromise my routine that I might be on a track away from my best and fastest success. Think about that. Think about when you take a step back where you could be on the road to burnout. Think about the tips that were provided here that might help you to see where you are on burnout and help you to this theme of this podcast is to take back time.
To take a step back and see how your systems, your approach and your practices are focusing on the most important things in your business. To drive your business forward, to create more profits and to create more time for you to have with your family and other pursuits and passions that you have because it’s not all about business. Have that balanced life. We’ll see you in the next episode.
About Dr. Emily Letran
Dr. Emily Letran is a general dentist who owns two multi-specialty group practices in Southern California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from UC Riverside (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in three years. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Dentistry (Dean’s Apollonian Scholarship) and received her Master of Science in Oral Biology from UCLA at the same time in four years. After graduation, she participated in the General Practice Residency at Loma Linda VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA. and a mini-residency at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center in Downey, CA., where she attained additional training in treating geriatric and medically compromised patients.
As a mother of three, Dr. Letran creatively balances work, family life, after-school life and her personal life as a growing entrepreneur. She continuously takes courses in clinical dentistry, practice management and marketing, attending multiple business forums to improve her skills to better serve patients. Her favorite activities include reading, creative writing, and “hanging out” with her three children – whether playing tennis, watching Netflix or enjoying Starbucks together.
Dr Letran is an author of several books. “From Refugee to Renaissance Woman” shares her story coming to the US as a refugee at 13 years old, and her newest book, “Commit to Embracing Your Big Life” offers insights and strategies to building a strong business . Dr. Letran is also a Certified High Performance Coach, helping business professionals achieve highest performance in personal and business life, streamline business and increase profits, winning back time from work so they can enjoy that time with their family, children and pursue their passion.
Dr. Letran is actively involved in community services, sponsoring multiple local school and charity events. She created the Emily Letran Foundation dedicated to providing basic dental care to veterans and families of disadvantaged background, including the monthly Free Dentistry Day, where she and her dental team work to provide free dentistry for the less fortunate in area communities. Her Foundation is raising funds to attain a mobile dental unit where she can carry her services to outreached communities. The Foundation will also provide scholarships for high performance coaching to help business owners from disadvantaged background get a jump start in growing and accelerating their businesses.