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Ep #1: Understanding Billable-Hour Burnout and Overcoming Professional Fatigue

Updated: Jul 10

Overcoming Professional Fatigue

In this week's episode of "Billable Hour Burnout", we are diving into the concept of "billable hour burnout". Billable hour burnout is the physical and mental exhaustion resulting from the high demands of working in a billable-hour profession. Whether you are an accountant, lawyer, or consultant, the pressure to log extensive hours can lead to significant stress and burnout. For more detailed insights, check out our post on navigating through billable hours exhaustion.


Recognizing Billable-Hour Burnout

Burnout is a gradual process that can sneak up on you. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can take a toll on your overall well-being if not addressed early. Recognizing the signs of burnout is crucial in preventing it from worsening and negatively impacting your personal and professional life.


Overcoming Professional Fatigue

Symptoms of burnout include:


  1. Exhaustion: Feeling physically and mentally drained.

  2. Cynicism and Detachment: Developing a negative attitude towards work and becoming detached from job responsibilities.

  3. Ineffectiveness: Decreased productivity and efficiency at work.


Causes of Billable-Hour Burnout

A Billable-Hour Burnout is often a result of:


  • High expectations and workload

  • Lack of boundaries

  • Poor time management

  • Perfectionism and people-pleasing tendencies


My Approach to Overcoming Billable-Hour Burnout

For the past six years, I have been coaching clients to overcome burnout using the following strategies:


  • Time Management: Implementing effective techniques to manage time better.

  • Setting Boundaries: Learning to say no and establishing clear boundaries.

  • Strong Mindset: Developing the capacity to handle emotions and stress effectively.


Overcoming Professional Fatigue

Practical Tips for Burnout Recovery

Recovering from burnout requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of your well-being. It's important to take proactive steps to manage stress, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care. If you're wondering how do I overcome burnout, here are some practical tips to help you start the journey towards recovery:


  • Identify Burnout Triggers: Recognize what specific aspects of your job are causing stress.

  • Set Realistic Goals: Break down tasks into manageable steps and set achievable goals.

  • Seek Support: Don't hesitate to ask for help from colleagues, supervisors, or a coach.

  • Practice Self-Care: Ensure you are taking time for yourself outside of work to recharge. For additional insights on achieving work-life balance, read our article on overcoming burnout and embracing the benefits of work-life balance.


For more strategies on staying productive without burning out, listen to Adam Grant's Re: Thinking podcast episode on how to be productive without burnout.


Taking the First Step Toward Recovery

I understand burnout firsthand. My own experience with billable hour burnout led me to this path of helping others. One client shared, "I could never put a price on this coaching. Lauren's guidance has been invaluable in finding peace and balance."


If you're feeling the effects of burnout, it's time to take action. Follow me on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and visit my website at Acheloa Wellness for more resources and support. Together, we can overcome the challenges and create a fulfilling professional life.



Click here to join my email newsletter, also called Billable Hour Burnout". :) It's the perfect source of calm motivation for women in accounting, law, and consulting who crave a fulfilling life without compromises. If you aim for more balance, ease, and confidence, this is your go-to resource. Each week, I share practical tactics and mindset strategies to help you truly enjoy the life you've worked so hard to build.


 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The definition and impact of billable hour burnout

  • How to recognize the symptoms of burnout in yourself

  • Common causes of burnout among professionals

  • Effective strategies for overcoming burnout

  • Practical tips to burnout recovery and maintaining a balanced professional life


Watch the Full Episode:



Full Episode Transcript:


Hello world, it is Thursday and we are live with What I'm calling billable hour burnout. My name is Lauren Baptiste, and I am going deep into the topic of what is billable hour burnout. Before I go any further, I want to tell you a little bit about me. If we've never met before, what am I doing?

I'm here to share helpful tactical advice that helps you in your career to have the career of your dreams without the stress or the overwhelm. So if you finally want to enjoy the life that you've spent decades building, you've come to the right place. If you're finding yourself here today, it's likely that you are an accountant, an attorney, or a consultant that wants more, more balance, more fulfillment, more ease.

More confidence without having to quit your job or burn down your life. My name is Lauren Baptiste. I am a Big Four dropout turned life coach. And this is what I'm calling these mini videos, billable hour burnout. Now, some of you are like, wait, I follow your newsletter. That's billable hour burnout.

Yes, it is all billable hour burnout, but it's coming to you from different angles. Now on this video show of video shorts, I'm sharing simple, tactical things to help you, specifically catered to the modern accountant, consultant, and attorney. So are you ready? Let's get into this.

First, I hope everyone's doing great. It's February 22nd. It's a good day, but it's winter. I know this time of year can be tough in the accounting world. It's busy season in the law world, or even the consulting world. It's just another day where you go into the office and it's dark and you leave the office and it's still probably dark and that's okay.

Because each day is getting lighter and brighter and better, and each week I'm going to be sharing these fun tools and techniques to help things feel easier in your life. Speaking of ease, ease is one of my words for 2024. I don't know about you, but I'm the type who likes to have words or intentions for my year.

I've let go of the resolutions of working out more, going to the gym three times a week, or even smart goals. I use them, but what I really like to focus on is the overarching theme of the year. Because for me, fun in the winter looks different than fun in the spring or the summer. And I like to make sure that it feels low and fit to my life and to what works for me versus feeling stuck to something I committed to in January that no longer lands.

So, if you have resolutions this year, I hope they're going well. I cannot believe we are almost two months in. Time flies. So coming back, my words, my themes for 2024, more fun and more ease. And so I'm here because this is more fun. I love sharing. I love giving. And in terms of ease, it's been really interesting because ease has been maybe different than what I initially thought at the beginning of the year.

To me, ease is now looking like saying no to the things that aren't in alignment with me, being bolder in my boundaries, and by doing that, I'm finding more ease. I'm finding more free time. I'm finding more peace. So I'm curious what your themes are. Let me know in the comments if you're here. I see you on LinkedIn, I'm seeing you on Instagram.

There's a lot of screens going on but I'm here and I see you and if you happen to comment and watch on the replay just do hashtag replay and I'll say hello then, but I want to jump in. We're going into billable hour burnout. I want to talk about that a little bit more because you see it's all over my marketing and I want you to feel good about what that means too, but I'm going to start with a quick testimonial that I received from a client who recently graduated from my six-month coaching program.

She says, I could never put a price on this coaching. I needed advice from someone who had truly been there and who had been heavy in the matrix and came out on the other side alive and well. Seeing is believing. Lauren is so highly intelligent, especially when it comes to emotional intelligence.

I just think she's someone who creates safety for another person, and I felt really safe working with her. Buying yourself that new bag or those designer shoes isn't ever going to deliver on an investment in yourself that can bring you peace, contentment, love, and balance. I can never put a price on this.

Thank you to my client for sharing that beautiful testimonial. I always love hearing what my clients, their results are and what they've experienced. She gave a much bigger testimonial, but I don't want to drone on too long, but such beautiful words and such even more powerful results just by working together.

Okay, so we're here for the important stuff today. One of my friends said, she was vegan and she'd say, like, instead of the meat and potatoes, the tofu and potatoes. So I always love that. But let's go into the nitty-gritty of our content, which is billable hour burnout.

This is something I've been focused on for a long time. Billable hours. How many of us here bill their clients? How many of us are submitting timesheets? How many of us are focused on our time? Even a business owner might not be tracking their time, but they're selling services for their time, and their times make up for those services, I should say.

So even if we're not actually billing hourly, there are so many of us who are focused on, well, what am I giving in this hour? And what am I exchanging for that hour? In the professions of accounting, specifically law and consulting, we know the billable hour is even more real, that every hour counts.

I was talking to an attorney this morning on a consultation, and the expectation was that she booked 1,900 hours a year, and would get a bonus if it was over 2,000. I spoke with an attorney last week, who was hitting 2,600 hours a year. That's a lot of hours. If we do the math, right? Think about vacation, think about time off, think about holidays, and then what's left is a lot of hours worked in a short period of time.

Billable hour burnout is the effect of a billable hour professional who is working to the extent where things burn them out, right? Too much work, too much expectation, too much overwhelm. I will be very honest with everybody here, right? We know that burnout isn't just a factor of the time hit, though that is a factor.

They might work 2,600 hours in a year and that can contribute to burnout. But what I notice is a lot of clients, a lot of individuals, they come to me because there are tendencies or qualities that a lot of these professionals carry. Many type A, myself included, I'll raise both hands that make us more prone to billable hour burnout or to burnout.

So there's the structure of intense days, client serving, always giving work product to a partner, a managing partner, someone above us, right? There's all that expectation there, but then it's paralleled to the tendencies or the qualities that are type A, that make up why we might burn out a little bit more.

That being, maybe a perfectionist, maybe a people pleaser, maybe a little bit of a procrastinator. You may notice you don't have boundaries. You may notice that your time management isn't the best. These are qualities that I find when a lot of clients come to me that they're experiencing when they're coming with billable hour burnout, their time management is no longer what it used to be.

They used to be really good at clocking their hours, tracking their time, hitting all their goals. Now they're not because they've made their way up the ladder and they don't have the space anymore for, they don't have the space to say no because they have employees on the other side of the globe reaching out in the morning, and then they're working all day with those in their time zone, and then they're trying to leave, and then the other side of the world wakes up and starts messaging them.

It can feel unrelenting, overwhelming, and as we grow in the profession, more of us want our attention and our energy. And if we don't have good boundaries in place or time management protocols in place, we can be more susceptible to burnout. This is very common that women come to me experiencing burnout because this is what it will look like in a profession on top of the world of life that they have to experience at home.

It's hard to juggle all of the things, all of the kids, all of the responsibilities, all of the expectations of running a home. Even if we have a really helpful partner, there still statistically bears a greater burden on the woman than the male professional. So my sweet spot is working with billable hour professional women who are in accounting, in law, in consulting, and looking for something better for themselves.

So, how does a billable hour professional identify burnout in themselves? Number one, they're likely exhausted, physically and or mentally, usually physically because of the hours they're plugging in, but eventually mentally because it will have a wear on them. Their energy starts to drain, they start to not feel as good, they're less motivated, they start to get a little resentful when they start losing their weekends or their nights to working.

It can be really hard. The second thing is cynicism or detachment, starting to notice that you're a little bit more resentful at work, a little bit more negative about a client that you used to be so excited about, starting to notice yourself a little detached from the outcome of your day to day, so that you have exhaustion, you have cynicism and detachment, and then the last one is ineffective at work.

This is where you notice your emotions and the weight of all of the low energy is slowing down your work product. Maybe something that used to take you three hours now takes you a whole day. And it's not that you're distracted, it's just that it's taking longer to process. Ineffective at work. The third symptom of burnout.

So we can start to notice if I'm not as effective as I used to be at work, if I'm a little detached from my work, if I'm just overall exhausted, there's a good chance that you could be experiencing burnout. Now, if you listened to last week's episode, I tell you about my personal burnout story.

So you can listen. I definitely was burnt out and there are so many of us that are burned out currently or have been over the past few years. The studies show it, it's out there, it's pretty rampant and it's not going away. Now, how have I solved for burnout? I've been working with clients for over six years, helping overcome the effects of burnout.

Clients come to me to help coach them to and through their burnout so that they can have a successful career, not at the cost of their health, not at the cost of their marriage, not at the cost of sometimes even losing their job, right? They put everything into their job, but then they start to plateau and even reverse backward because they're no longer as effective as they were at work.

I see this more often than I'd like to admit that when we burn out. Sometimes we're more susceptible to getting fired. Unfortunately, it happens, but we can get in front of it. And that's the work I'm doing. I'm standing here very loud and proud going live, standing strong for all of us who are experiencing burnout in the profession and want better for ourselves.

When I work with my clients, it's helping them use the tools of coaching to understand how to overcome people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. It's having tools to manage time management. It's understanding how to start to have boundaries of what works for you and then communicating them and then working through the negative emotions of guilt or disappointment or any other emotion that comes through when we're trying to instill our boundaries. Coaching is a powerful way to overcome our burnout because it's a way that we're working with someone who's been there and who has the steps to get us out of it.

Even when I was speaking to someone this morning, she mentioned, it was just not the thing. Like, it's not learned in law school. It wasn't learned when I got my CPA. It's not learned in the profession. There's no training on how to avoid burnout when you work in a billable hour profession. And that is why I'm here doing this work because it's not obvious.

Going to a yoga class once in a while isn't going to do it. Listening to a podcast, maybe the theory is all there, but it's about taking that theory and bringing practical solutions and mindset to it so that you can overcome it. So what is billable hour burnout? It's changed my life, right?

It was the thing that was the beginning of a whole new chapter of my life. When I experienced billable hour burnout, I decided that I didn't want anyone else to experience billable hour burnout again. What that looked like is now going into organizations and I do speaking events and I do group programs and I help individuals and employees in companies overcome burnout.

But most of my work is working one on one with professional women who are experiencing the effects of burnout in their health, in their life, personal relationships, in their job, and want something better for themselves. So I'm going to keep these short. So I'm going to wrap this up here, but if you have questions about how does billable hour burnout apply to me or what else might come up for you as you're hearing this, I invite you to share in the comments.

I'm always looking in the comments. I want to know what's on your mind. And it's always so important as I develop this content that it resonates for you. So to wrap up for today, billable hour burnout. If you're noticing burnout because of the hours, because of the tendencies of how you're working and you're feeling the effects of it, it's time to do something different about it.

I invite you to follow me in all the places. I'm on YouTube, I'm on LinkedIn, I'm on Instagram. I have my website. If you want to find me, you can find me. You can type in Lauren Baptist. You can Google Acheloa Wellness. And you can find me at acheloawellness.com.

Thank you so much for listening to today's mini video episode on billable hour burnout. If you have this burning question that you're like, man, I would really love Lauren to answer this, reach out. I want to know. Send me a DM wherever you're hearing this and let me know what you would love me to answer.

All right, now that's it. See you next time.

Billable-Hour Burnout Newsletter


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