Ask a House Cleaner, Burnout, Savvy Cleaner

Burnout – Best Tips For House Cleaners to Recover and Reboot

Burnout will hit all House Cleaners and maids at some point during their cleaning career. Recovery from burnout is about recognizing it, respecting it, and rebooting yourself in order to recharge your business. Today on Ask a House Cleaner we look at occupational burnout. What happens when you are depressed, exhausted, fatigued, tired and frustrated. And what you can do to pace yourself for a healthy, long-lasting house cleaning career.

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Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: Any Recommendations For Burnout? Woman asleep at table with coffee, reached burnout


Today’s question comes from a house cleaner who is burned out. She’s been doing this for years and she’s burned out.

She says “I dread going to customer’s houses and I don’t know how to get my mojo back. What do you recommend?”

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Yes, Proven Strategies To Revive from House Cleaner Burnout

Alright, so, having done this for twenty-five years, there is a secret to it.

marathon vs. sprint pace yourself to avoid burnout

You have to look at your business like a marathon, not a sprint. Because if you’re going at a sprint pace, you will burn out. You have to pace yourself.

The very first thing I recommend if you’re a house cleaner in burnout mode, is to recognize that you are the engine that drives your business. (And if you’re not in burnout mode, please listen to this. Bookmark this, and refer back to it on days when you are burned out.) Because if you’re in the business long enough, you will get burned out. I promise you that.

Burnout mode is right around the next corner for many of you, so check out these proven tips.

You Are The Guts and The Glory Of Your Business

woman multi tasking engine that runs business, close to burnoutWhen you start your business, you need to realize that everything runs off of you.

You are the guts and the glory of your business.

And so, it comes down to your health and your physical well-being.

If you’re not in shape, and you’re eating crappy food, and if you’re not sleeping at night, those are all going to affect your work performance.

So, the very first thing that you need to do if you are going to have any longevity in this business is you need to train.

“What? I got to train to clean houses?”

Yes. You do. This is like running a marathon. This is like running a race.

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You Don’t Start Training For a Marathon On Race Day

You don’t show up on race day and just like start running 26.2 miles. Right? Who does that?

No, you start running two miles, and then you run three miles. And then you run four miles, then you start eating bananas and pasta and all kinds of stuff so that you can build up the carbs and you can build up the strength.

The day will come when you will run ten miles. And you’re like “Ah, it’s a piece of cake.”

But you don’t start out running ten miles.

And so, the joy of the house cleaning business is when you start out, you don’t start out with thirty customers.

You start out with one or two, or five. And as you build your business you figure out systems and you become faster. And as you become faster, you start working more customers into your routine and systems.

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Better Systems + Practice & Pacing = Success & Skill

Attention and Prevention = Speedy Recovery to burnoutSo, as you build up and you have more muscle and more mental acuity that you can spend on your job, then what you have to figure out is; “How do I as the instrument, keep myself in shape so that I can manage more houses and more employees?”

So, the next thing is to pay attention to the onset of burnout. It’s like when you’re running the race and you’ve twisted your ankle.

And you’re like “Wow. I twisted my ankle. I need to pay attention to that.” So, what do you do?

You wrap your ankle and stay off of it for a couple of days.

You hit the bicycle for a couple of days and you do some cross training in order to help your ankle get better so you can hit the road again.

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Respect the Burnout

So, if burnout is creeping up on you, respect the burnout. 

Respect the fact that maybe you’ve picked up a few too many houses, and you’re burning your candle at both ends.

So, what you want to make sure that you do, is make sure you get enough sleep at night. Lack of sleep contributes to burnout, woman awake at 3-00am

 Because it’s so easy when you get home at night, and your family is there. You might stay up late watching TV. And that’s understandable, you want to be a person, not just a house cleaner.

It is easy to stay up way too late, eating all kinds of crappy food into the wee hours of the morning.

And then six o’clock comes early and it’s time to put on your uniform, a big happy face and go out and clean houses while you feel like crap.

So, you have to put yourself on a schedule where you do go to bed every night at a regular time.

And as you go to bed at a regular time, you train your body to reset itself a particular time.

And so, like when you set your alarm at six o’clock every morning, after a while you don’t even need your alarm anymore.  Your body wakes up and you’re like “Oh yes, it’s morning. I must go to work.”

Because you’ve trained yourself, you’ve got yourself in a routine. Now, just like you can train yourself to wake up in the morning, you can train yourself to wake up from zero gravity naps.

Do You Know About Zero Gravity Naps?

They’re so cool.

Okay, so if you are studying productivity and you want to become more efficient at what you do, there will come a time when you’re just exhausted. And you’re burned out, and beat and just pooped.

So, what you need is a reset, and reboot of your system.

Zero Gravity Naps - Instant reboot

I learned about zero gravity naps about five years ago.

Basically, what you do is you take a nap, and you set your alarm for ten minutes.

And the next time you take a nap (hopefully it’s the next day,) you set your alarm for nine minutes. Then you set it for eight minutes, then you set it for seven minutes, then you set it for six minutes, then you set it for five minutes and you get all the way down to the point where when you fall into unconsciousness, you bounce right out again.

And your system is completely rebooted.

And you learn how to take what I call zero gravity naps that literally are about less than a minute.

Here’s How To Take a Zero Gravity Nap

  • Get comfortable
  • Take off your shoes
  • Lie down on a bed, or recline in a chair
  • Close your eyes 
  • Fall asleep

And the moment you hit unconsciousness, you bounce right back out again and you’re like bread out of a toaster.

Just like “boom, here I am again. I’m ready to rock and roll.”

And it takes a little bit of adjustment to get your body to the timing of it. But you’ll get to a point where you’re between houses, and you’ve got like seven extra minutes.

And you get to the next customer’s house early.

Don’t Sleep In Front of A Customer’s House – That Reeks of Burnout

And I never did it right in front of their house, because that would look weird if they saw me out me sleeping out in front of their house.

But I’ve done this for years.

I pull around the corner from their house so they can’t see me. And it might be on like a public part of the road so I’m not in front of somebody’s house directly. Because if you take a nap in front of anybody’s house that’s just weird.

But if there’s like a little side road or something where it’s not very apparent, I just recline the seat in my car for a minute.

And I fall asleep and boom I’m right back up again. “Alright, now I’m ready to go clean another house.”

So, respect the burnout.

And learn to take zero gravity naps.

Schedule Regular Vacations

The next thing I have to mention is that you need to take regular vacations. They force you to get away and clear your head.

Now, for me, I can go at full speed, except I need like a week off, three times a year.

plan annual vacations to avoid burnout

So, three times a year, one in January. One in July and one in September.

And I work really hard between those times. And I just get to a point where I’m burned out, I completely need to reset my system.

And so, they are three very different vacations, but for those three vacations, I take an entire week off.

And I let my customers know at the beginning of the year, which three weeks I’ve taken off.

And if their cleaning falls during that week, I can either find them a replacement or they just skip that cleaning and I come back two weeks or three weeks later and I pick up where I left off.

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Take Mini Vacations As Often As You Can – They Prevent Burnout

If you do not have the luxury of taking a week vacation, you can take mini vacations. And the mini vacation is beautiful.

Let’s say that you have a cancellation. And was a three-hour cleaning. That is a mini vacation you can take if you don’t book that time with another client.

Mini Vacations If you don't use them you lose them

And instead of screwing around and wasting it and just going and hanging out at Target or whatever it is that you do. Take an on-purpose mini-vacation.

It is three hours long.

Is there a movie that you’ve been wanting and dying to see? Go to the movie theater. Grab some popcorn, grab a soda and sit there and enjoy a guilt free afternoon.

Do Something That You Would Only Do When You Are On Vacation

That might be that you kick up your feet and that you read a book, and you have a cup of tea.

And you just thrive on that free time that you have. But you have to use it as a vacation.

Because if you squander that time away, you’re going to be just as frustrated as if you didn’t take a vacation at all. You’re not going to be any more rested or relaxed, and you’re going to feel like you got screwed out of the money that the person was supposed to give you because they canceled the house cleaning.

So, you have to take mini vacations. And sometimes I’ve taken vacations that are a half hour long.

It’s my time. I own that time. And if I don’t use it living, and reinvesting it in myself and my well-being, I’m never getting that time back. 

And it recharges my batteries. It gets my mind flowing again. It gets my excitement up. And it reboots my system.

Take Preventative Measures to Prevent Burnout

burnout is like running on a broken ankleBecause if you keep plowing through burnout, it’s like running on a twisted ankle.

It’s only going to get worse.

It’s going to get swollen. It might be broken, who knows what’s wrong with it.

But if you don’t respect the burnout, you don’t better. 

Your relationships with your clients don’t get better and your work doesn’t improve. You’re won’t like them any better, and they won’t ike you any better.

So, this is about your attitude. It’s about your body, it’s about your brain. It’s about your love and your enthusiasm for the job.

You are the engine that drives your business. And so, you have to take care of yourself. It’s not an option.

And as you expand your business and get employees, they’ll count on you to be your best. If you’re the team leader you can’t be running with a busted-up ankle.

Same rules apply as parents, we all know that you can’t take care of your family, you can’t take care of those you love, until you take care of yourself first.

Questions BelowAlright, so that’s my take and I’ll get off my soap box now. If you found this tip helpful, please leave us a rating either on YouTube or iTunes, wherever you’re listening to this, we would love to hear your feedback.

And until I see you gain, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.


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