Burnout: A House Cleaners Survival Guide

Burnout solutions for house cleaners
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How Do You Deal With House Cleaning Burnout? (Your Answers)


  • House Cleaner facing burnoutMonitor your employees. Look for signs that include doubt, feelings of ineffectiveness, or being tired. Rotating team members usually infuses a new energy and can help reboot the attitudes of your employees.
  • Provide ongoing training for your employees. Training reinforces confidence and boosts morale. Feelings of inadequacy come from lack of knowledge.
  • Job burnout can hit at any age. Make sure that you have a diversity of clients. Usually, it’s just one or two of your clients causing the burnout, let them go and work with alternative clients who keep that spark alive for you.
  • If you hate your job, it might be time to start looking for another job that you are passionate about.
  • If going to work triggers an emotional breakdown – you need to get to the root of it. Find out what is wrong and fix it. If you don’t it will spoil the good clients and employees you have.

 #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:

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Your turn, share your tips in the comment section below. You can also tweet me @SavvyCleaner

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What is the difference between burnout and a bad day? Ask a House Cleaner

Did you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  Is it a bad day…or is it PMS? Not sure?  

You’re gonna have a bad day. It’s a biorhythmic thing and it happens to everybody.

In our company and in our home, we allow everybody 3 bad days a month. (And that is overkill.) If you have a bad day where you feel mean and ugly inside, or you want to bite somebody’s head off we have rules for coping. We’ve followed these rules for 20 years both in my house cleaning company and in my home and they work really well. Here are the rules for coping: (more)

Bad Day - House Cleaners with PMS by Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru

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Social Media Marketing Burnout

Social Media burnoutAre you tired of posting every day online to promote your business? Suddenly you reach burnout mode and you’re sick of the social media struggle? It’s okay if you take a short break but not announce it. When you alert everyone “Hey I’m going dark for a few days, taking some time off Facebook.” It looks like you’re having personal problems. Maybe you are. That’s okay. But don’t advertise it. Client’s may lose confidence in you. They may stop recommending you.

Go Away In Silence

If you need time off from social media – take some time off. Chances are no one will miss you or even notice. When things settle, come back. 

Don’t Announce Your Comeback

Just come back and pick up where you left off. Don’t send red flags that no one is looking for and don’t answer questions no one is asking.

Your social media posts will be much healthier for it.

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Burnout Hack of the Week – Reprogram Your Mind Through Self-Hypnosis

i don't feel like house cleaning today, Ask a House CleanerSymptoms of Burnout

Are you or your employees reaching burnout mode? How can you tell?

Symptoms include:

  • Cynicism
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Low Morale
  • Lack of Self-Confidence
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Sarcasm
  • Psychological Stress

Symptoms of burnout come in various forms. And if not managed early can wreak havoc with your company. As the business owner, your house cleaners take their cues from you. How you feel about your job, your customers and your company peek through every interaction. If you wake up in the morning and think about house cleaning and you’re like “Not Today!” then it may be time for a little self-hypnosis to reprogram your attitude.

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Quick Fixes for House Cleaning Burnout

Serving clients, earning money, managing employees and paying bills is the reason you are in business. It’s difficult juggling so many responsibilities to take time for yourself and your well-being. House cleaning is a demanding job and it takes a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health. So it’s important to schedule regular time off and take time for yourself. In the cleaning industry, we call it Mom Syndrome. This is where you take care of everyone else before taking care of your own needs.

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Schedule and Take Regular Vacations to Prevent Burnout

After cleaning houses for 25 years I found I need three weeks vacation each year.  I take a week in January,  a week in July and a week in September. Scattered through the year gives me something to look forward to (and save money for.) And it allows me to work like a mad woman and then just before exhaustion – taking a week to recoup and recharge my batteries.

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Take Mini Vacations During Your Day/Week

I’ve been a fan of mini vacations my entire life. This is where you are in the middle of a hectic schedule with lots of moving parts and then you take an hour off here or there. I’m really quick to reschedule slots where clients have canceled on me. But on a rare occasion that I don’t, I take that time slot as a mini vacation. The catch with a mini vacation is you have to declare it a mini vacation. You have to consciously spend that time having fun. Shopping, or bowling, or getting a pedicure. If you are not aware you are taking a mini vacation, you’ll fritter away the time doing something stupid. And in the end, you won’t have recharged anything. You will just feel bad for wasting time.

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Exercise Every Day To Release Endorphins

It’s easy to assume because you’re cleaning all day that you’ve got your exercise in. Not necessarily the case. Yes, you are active and cleaning is a physical job. 

But there are parts of your body that still need a jolt of endorphins to reset your enthusiasm. 

I’m a big fan of the mini trampoline. I can put it in front of the TV and when I get home from working all day, I can bounce for 10-15 minutes. It’s just enough that it gets the blood flowing through my entire body. It’s great for your core, your abs, your quads, your glutes. The aerobic exercise is great for your lymphatic system and the bouncing realigns your spine. This helps with people who have chronic back problems. 

You don’t have to do any crazy exercise, but a few minutes here and there will keep your body in house cleaning shape. 

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Eat Healthy Foods

Enough can’t be said about keeping your energy levels up. When you are in burnout mode, look at the food you’ve eaten over the last 72 hours. How much of that food was alive? Fresh fruits, vegetables, superfoods with antioxidants will keep your drive and energy in check. 

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Get Proper Sleep

Everybody needs different amounts of sleep. For some it’s 8 hours a night, others only need six. You’ll have to play around with your sleep until you figure out what your optimal number of hours is.

As a house cleaner, your physical body is your biggest business asset. When you are not at your best, your work suffers.

Think of it like a domino effect. You don’t get the proper sleep you need for your job. That triggers lethargy in your business. Sloppiness causes you to lose customers which affect your stress levels and income. When your income suffers that affects your family and relationships. When your relationships suffer, it affects your mental well-being. Emotions ripple through your life and it upsets your eating. Binge eating brings comfort but messes with your health and sleep. 

All personal success is rooted in your physical balance. Your ability to think, reason, problem solve, function, connects back to you. Sleep is a big part of that. Master it.

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Do Something You Love

Have a hobby. This is something unrelated to house cleaning. This is an alternative thing you do that makes your heart sing. It revives you. Or gives your life meaning because it ignites passion within you. It could be designing websites or shooting photography. It might be knitting or hiking or playing video games. Maybe it’s teaching your kids to dance. Or learning another language. It doesn’t really matter what it is – but it has to be an outlet for your monotonous routine that is often house cleaning.  If you find you have a few minutes that aren’t claimed – this is where you go for your mini vacations.

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Have Renewable Contracts/Agreements

Having a renewable contract is like dating someone you know you will never marry. You agree to work together for a time. In our, company the period is one year. We don’t have contracts clients sign up front it’s just a verbal agreement. And we cover it on our initial walkthrough. And we are both free to go our separate ways at any time for any reason. But at the end of one year no matter what we’re done being their house cleaner. If they want us to stay on as their house cleaner, they have to request it. In other words, they have to fight to keep us, and we have to fight to keep them.

The purpose for this is that long term relationships in my experience tend to mold with age. Something along the way is neglected or not given as much care as in the beginning. House cleaners become complacent and sloppy. Clients expect too much and take advantage. Or they start canceling or forgetting to pay us or whatever. If you know your relationship with each other is coming to an end – you both have to be on your best behavior – all the time.

When you renew your working agreement, this is a good time to do a review or evaluation. Find out how you are doing and what changes you can both make that will enhance the working relationship. It is also a good time to raise your prices if necessary. Or go your ways if you’re sick of each other. Anyway, you look at it, it’s a great way to avoid burnout because you’re not together that long.

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Just Say No To Church Casseroles

Casseroles Lead to BurnoutI’m a people pleaser. If somebody needs help – I go out of my way to help them – even at the expense of my own needs. 

During one of the most stressful times of my life the church called and asked me to bring a casserole to a scout banquet. I agreed. And then I got really stressed out. 

I didn’t have enough money at the time to put food on my own table. Even though I was working 4 separate jobs around the clock. I didn’t have the resources, money or time to make the casserole happen. 

They didn’t even invite me to the scout banquet. I didn’t have a scout going to the banquet. In fact, I had nothing to do with the banquet other than bringing free food. 

I’d never said “NO” before. But I called them back and told them I couldn’t do it. I felt like I was doing the right things for all the wrong reasons and I resented it. 

My Life Was Blessed

I know you’re expecting me to say my life was blessed because I gave free food to the church. But that is not the case. My life was blessed when I learned to say “No to the casserole.” I took back some control over my life. I put me back in charge. It was liberating and removed this big wave of stress.

It was such a relief –  that I started saying “NO” to a lot more volunteer opportunities that had nothing to do with me. I stopped enabling other people to expect something from me for nothing.

It freed me up to help the people I was inspired to help – rather than those who dropped on my doorstep looking for a lazy handout. If you are in a trap of saying yes to everybody who asks favors of you – please stop. You’re not helping anyone including yourself.  People pleasing is a stepping stone to burnout.

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 What’s going on with Angela? – The Invisible Gift

It’s Valentine’s Day 2017 and I can’t say “I forgot.” Internet ads splashed everywhere keep offering me discounts on flowers and jewelry. I go to the store – any store, and pink and red Valentine gremlin’s jump out to say “Buy me!” 

But here’s the catch. I want to celebrate my love with something unique. Not something valued at $14.99, $29.99 or $49.99. Valentine’s gifts seem to fall into one of these price points.

Our Relationship Is Not in Burnout Mode – but My Valentine Gift Giving Is

ValentinePat is on a diet so candy and sweets are out. He doesn’t wear jewelry. And we don’t support the useless teddy bear industry (due to dust and taking up space issues.) So what on earth am I supposed to give a guy who has everything he needs or wants?

This year I chose “The Invisible Gift”. When you’re fifteen years into a marriage, it’s easy to forget why you fell in love in the first place. And no cheap toy is going to reignite the flame.

Sure, I bought him flowers and a card – big whoop. Happy Valentine’s. And then I sent him a text. I thanked him for fielding the calls from an Autotrader ad for a car we have listed. I appreciate him taking over that small task – so I don’t have to deal with it.

The next day the invisible gift continued. I sent him a text saying I appreciate him picking up the groceries so I could work on a deadline. 

The day after that the text said I appreciate him spending his day off working out in the yard, pulling weeds and getting the yard ready for spring. 

Every day the invisible gift continues with a text of me expressing gratitude for some small thing he’s been a part of. And then BAM!

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Something Weird Happened

I started to realize how much Pat does to help me on the sidelines of my life while I’m focusing on getting my new business off the ground. And something else.  Flower to overcome burnoutI made him paranoid. He asked me the other day: “Why are you being so nice to me?” LOL. I should have always been nice – how did I let things slip?

The other day out of the blue he sent me a text thanking me for packing his vitamins in his lunch box every day.  And then he sent me a text the following day for always keeping the cars so clean. 

And then he picked the first flower that bloomed in our yard this spring and brought it to me in my office.

Then he picked up at Lowes a water filter for the refrigerator without being asked. What an amazing surprise. It was like he peeked at my “to do” list and started crossing things off to help me out. 

My invisible gift boomeranged right back to me in the best possible way.

We are only 13 days into invisible gift giving and I can tell you already – this is one of the best Valentine’s gifts ever. WOOHOO!

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