Episode 13

Avoiding burnout with Daryl Woodhouse

We talk to Daryl Woodhouse about burnout and how to avoid it. A timely episode for many who have survived lockdown by working (even harder) from home. As we step out into the world again, some will be in balance and looking to keep it that way, while others will have lost sight of the outdoors and be in need of a rethink.

Daryl shares his story from corporate to start-up, the experience of running a coaching and training business during lockdown, and what he has learned along the way.

Plenty of tips are shared in a bite-sized and easy to apply way.

This episode will get you thinking, and will likely cause you to reclaim a bit of your precious daily time for spending what you love most.

About the show:

Problem Busters is a show that explores solutions to the biggest and the smallest of problems. Hosts Jonathan Goodwin and Oliver Happy discuss making the world a better place with guests from far and wide.

About our guest:

Daryl Woodhouse is a speaker, coach and founder who helps leaders and their teams grow performance and maximise life-work balance. He has a long track record of working with businesses ranging from Fortune 500 to plucky startups. His most recent program The Life Work Effect has just hit the market to help people achieve balance.

Show mentions:

Two halves of career to date: Corporate leadership up to a FTSE Top 10 level, and lucky enough to benefit from a leadership development program that got me where I am today. Then in 2012, I started my first business.

Starting a business and there being a lot to learn to do so (and how to beat the odds and not fail).

Advanced Business Partnerships scaled up to 7 figure revenues in the first few years in the areas of leadership, coaching, mentoring and non-executive leadership training.

2016 coming away from that business and getting involved in several technology companies and a few exits, and getting into lecturing in business, then keynote speaking.

05:00 Having a major burnout was the result. Something that was a long time coming as a workaholic who put work before life for too long.

A personal tragedy finally brought everything out and showed that life happens and if burnout is not dealt with, then health problems result and relationships are the result.

Coming back from burnout and moving to a 4 day week, seeing work life improving as a result, means I've realised that less is sometimes more.

Less is sometimes more, I've realised there is a better way than the traditional rat race many corporates and entrepreneurs just accept.

07:20 It should be life work balance, not the other way around. Sustained success comes with planning life first, then fitting work around it.

08:00 Signs of burnout? A number of things came up for me. Things like working long hours, always being too busy, too rushed and regularly late for meetings (even just a few minutes), they love work and see it as a hobby, but it can be a very unhealthy one.

For overachievers, it is a natural habit to try to pack too much into the day. Being aware of being too reactive to time gremlins and to be proactive in how we spend our time (and the boundaries we set) is the key to overcoming them.

10:00 Tips for putting life first? Do exercise at the start of the day, not at the end. Make time for lunch.

Garmin watches as a way to track stress during the day and as a trigger to have down periods during the day.

14:30 Research proves that when overworking, less is actually more. There are a range of benefits that come from more balance, and being happier. A study from Oxford University showed that people who were happier in their work and what they were doing, were 13% more productive.

15:20 Tips as a team to make yourself a little bit happier during the day. Notice your energy levels during the day and when they dip (or are lower). Notice the big hairy potatoes - the work tasks that are more complex, boring, unclear and those that you don't want to touch. It is natural to put them off.

It is natural to put off doing things that we don't like doing. But putting them off, we have them in mind and they drain our energy. Do them earlier in the day and free up time and energy for the rest of the day.

Bucking the trend of putting off difficult tasks and doing them first thing in the day, opens up the rest of the day for a reward and a better experience.

I found that when I started tackling the big hairy potatoes (difficult tasks) first, I was able to finish my working days earlier.

Usually when we enjoy something, we typically complete it 2, 3, even 4 times quicker.

19:30 Top tip: Take 5 minutes out of your day to go and do something fun. Get your energy levels up, lift your mood and refresh yourself.

Getting on the rowing machine as a way to blow off steam and refresh yourself.

Eating, having cuddles with baby children and exercise all as ways to replenish yourself.

23:00 What are some of the benefits you see as a result of better life work balance? People are likely to stay longer, they are happier, customers get a better service, customers stay longer, sales conversion improves.

The quality of work of a burned out sales team is worlds apart from a motivated and energetic team who are enjoying what they do.

25:00 Nurturing a culture of productive wellbeing and the importance of it. Investing in employee wellbeing initiatives is the right thing to do, and indirectly does boost productivity. However there is a multiplier effect alongside that because embracing life work balance in the workforce is where the real change occurs.

With this pandemic, with life-work boundaries being blurred, wellbeing has become critical to teams.

29:00 What I've learned as an employer during lockdown (and what I'm doing differently now). It was a hit to my confidence as a founder to be someone who is known for helping people turn their businesses around, to find that overnight, business dropped so heavily. To see clients going into administration. It was hard. We needed to work very hard to do things differently and as a training and coaching business, to deliver service online. It was a stressful and worrying time.

What we're seeing now is that for many who have worked hard, listened and learned from lockdown, the silver linings have been very much in our grasp.

I've now got a business that is much more robust and stable. We have embraced technology and have developed new products that leverage technology for delivery.

34:00 The Life Work Effect - the concept and how it frames Daryl's view of life-work balance. This transformation program brings together 19 years of business experience into a program. Four main pillars; Improve strategy and planning, productivity mastery, life-work balance skills and routine, and wellbeing. Working across all these at once brings in a multiplier effect to improve balance and life.

Statistically we have been found to forget 75% of what we learn on courses within 24 hours. Why? Life is busy. We have a lot on, there is a lot to do. If we haven't developed the life-work routines (they aren't taught in school), it's hard to balance.

Related episode: Edward Fenech on Carbon Trading.

If we aren't teaching the next generation of leaders about the importance of developing healthy daily routines at school, when do we expect them to develop them?

The power of an app when taking a more agile approach to training and coaching. It allows people to learn in their own time, in their own place. It opens up the chance to gamify the program and the learning experience.

What is a transformation program in this case? Using a range of tools (live coaching sessions, the app, reading and watching recordings), participants are as a result finding 10 hours a week on average to do something else with.

41:00 If you can free up 10 hours a week, you can take 5 hours for yourself for hobbies, family time and happiness, and invest the other 5 hours in high value tasks (like making a better strategy).

Measuring time usage using the app means that people can gather their own data and identify how are are living, so they can change it.

A pre-recorded program as a very scalable way to share knowledge. It can scale to helping a million people easily!

45:00 The motivations to bringing the program out to the world in this way, and now. To help as many people as possible. To help people avoid burnout. We are seeing increases in work-related stress and I'd like to help make a dent in that. To help others learn from my successes and my failures.

I now see my own failures as opportunities to learn.

If we treat failures as opportunities to learn, imagine how much we could all be learning from each other, all the time!

49:00 If you feel you are too busy, then focus on your motivations. What would you do if you had more spare time? If you spared some time?

50:00 An example for leaders - eliminate operational and administrative tasks. It is super-effective to hire someone to help automate or complete these tasks so that you can

Free workshops: Daryl's free monthly workshops

If you just change just one thing a week for 12 weeks, each thing adds up to a lot of improvement over time.

Some things you can do differently today:

53:00 If your typical meeting is an hour long, try out capping them at 45 mins. Keep that 15 mins to do any follow up after the meeting, or better yet, have a break.

Pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and blueberries are top tips for a snack that's good for your brain.

Specifically build into your diet foods that are particularly good for the brain.

Another tip: When you wake up every day, drink 500mls of water straight away. That's the amount of water the body needs to flush out any toxins from the previous day.

Ollie and Jonathan learning a lot from the podcast and the guests. Thank you podcasting for bringing us so much wisdom!

What can leaders do to help support healthy life-work balance? Lead by example, bring in people like Daryl to help give lunch n learn tips to teams and make time to understand your team.

It's important to lead by example and look after yourself better, sharing the benefits of that with your team, and bring in help to run lunch and learn sessions to help share some tips and benefits of wellbeing.

As a leader, it is vital to make time for listening to and coming to understand your team. This leads to insights into how they are and how you can help them.

Related episode: Nik Haidar

Daryl's YouTube channel for more free tips and tricks

Daryl's website: https://darylwoodhouse.com

Who do I most look up to in the world? My wife. She's my best friend, she's strong and she has been patient and supportive with my during good times and tough. I take a lot of inspiration from her and the way she goes about things.

What film inspired me? Pay it forward. A film that demonstrates how much an idea can change things in a positive way.

A nice idea Ollie founded: Ask it forward. If we all asked two people questions, and then they answered to help us, then went on to ask two questions to others themselves as a result, we could all learn so much from each other.

Movement: I am seeing a trend of more individuals and organisations talking about conscious capitalism. In my interpretation, putting people and planet before profit. Not instead of profit, but before profit. To move away from a traditional approach to profit at sacrifice of planet, staff and even customers. It is great to see more people giving more attention and resources to planting more trees, removing plastic from oceans etc.

It's important to me to know that my children will have a healthy planet to live on.

Apple using a lot more recycled materials.

The automotive industry shifting with the introduction of electric vehicles, some moving to materials made with recycled plastics from the ocean.

Bacteria that eat plastic as a great idea for helping clear up the oceans.

What tech is improving my life? YouTube. I subscribe to YouTube Music for £9.99 a month and it gives me an abundance of music. I love music. I also love YouTube for there being so much great content and people we can learn from. Topics we can upskill on.

I am a visual learner and I like to both listen and see people.

YouTube as a great democratisation of information. Anyone can create and share information.

1:14:00 What is one thing you'd like to change in the world? For there to be no poverty, for global warming not to be an issue, for animals not to be endangered. Perfection for the planet.

How can people find out more about you? My website, my YouTube channel, Twitter or Instagram.

Happy to have a private message and to give advice.

A show special: Daryl has set up a special 10% of our listeners, to get 10% off Life Work Effect programs, use promo code: ProblemBusters by clicking here.


Logo and concept by Christy O'Connor

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Problem Busters
Problem Busters
Highlighting people with ideas

About your hosts

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Oliver Happy

Oliver works in tech and builds things that help improve people’s lives. He hosts indie podcasts Old Fox Young Fox, Problem Busters and Gone Workabout. Oliver is a Kiwi, travels a lot, eats a lot and loves sharing good ideas. He is determined to leave the world in a better state than he found it.
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Jon Goodwin

Jon Goodwin works in financial tech implementing clever solutions that help simplify business processes every day. His passions include science, engineering and dreaming up solutions to common problems. In his spare time he is a multimedia producer & friendly co-host of two podcasts the Bouyon Boys and Problem Busters.