Let’s face it. Delivery work can be tough. It can be frustrating. You can work long hours driving, traffic can drive you crazy, customers drive you crazier, and don’t even get us started on the restaurants and the companies we are delivering for.
How do you keep from burning out? When you do it well, the money can be good, but sometimes that’s just not enough, so how do you keep going?
Why Are You Doing This?
I can’t say this works for everyone, but I think it’s as good as anything. I’ve been able to do this, full time now, for more than a year, and I don’t feel anywhere near ready to throw in the towell.
What I’ve found makes a difference is that I pay a lot of attention to my why. It’s the why that keeps me going when it gets tough.
So, let’s start with the question: Why are you doing this? What is it that brought you around to this? What is so important that you risk your safety getting out there in traffic, and maybe risk your sanity dealing with these deliveries?
For most of us, that’s easy, right? It’s the money.
The money, the money, oh we love the money… Any VeggieTale fans out there? Okay, so the song was the Bunny song, not the Money song, and if you’ve never heard of it I apoologize for confusing you.
So, silly song interruption aside… we know we’re here to make money. But why?
Digging deeper into why
There’s a lot of talk out there about goals, and goals are important. But the thing is, the importance of goals goes deeper than just meting a number. For goal setting to have a real impact, you have to dig deeper into the why of the goals.
Why do you want to make money?
What will you do with that money?
Why is that important?
Let’s be honest here: I would be very surprised to find anyone who drives food around to people because that’s been a life goal of theirs. You don’t find many people who, when their friends as kids were wanting to be astronauts and fire fighters and pro football players, had aspirations of being an independent contractor courier.
If you’re doing this as a side hustle, chances are good you can say the same thing about your main job as well. We can all find ourselves at times looking at what we do and asking, am I really accomplishing anything?
And that’s why we have to get to the why.
Your why goes beyond the money. Your why goes into what you use that money for. It gets into what you want to do with your life. For some of us, we choose to do this full time. So why do we choose this over other options? And when it’s your primary source of income, then it’s about digging deeper into what your life is about. Is this a side hustle? What’s your plan with the extra money? Pay debts? Save up for something?
And why is THAT important to you?
So start with your first why: Why are you doing this? Whatever your answer, ask yourself, why is that answer important to you? Repeat that question with each answer, drilling down deeper, and you find that it’s not just a way to make money, but you’re accomplishing something now. Maybe it’s family. Maybe some kind of deep meaning.
As you think about your why, let that guide you. Let it motivate you. But most important, let the why become more important than the what.
The example of my why
For me, it’s about a couple of things. I do this full time. I do it because the bills need to be paid. That’s important for two reasons: One, to make sure my family has what it needs. The other is so that I have the freedom to do some things that I’m passionate about.
My faith is important to me. It’s a big part of who I am. Within that context, I’ve had a growing passion about the need for churches and congregations to do a better job of involving and serving their older members, and I have some things I want to do to help in that area. I had been working as business manager for a nonprofit, and decided to leave that to pursue ways to meet those goals. The bills still needed to be paid, and the delivery work was a perfect answer to that because I could earn what I needed but have a lot more flexibility with my time and schedule. So for me, it boils down to two very things: faith and family. My work helps me take care of my family and it allows me the time to do things I’m passionate about.
Your why keeps you going.
There are those days that it just gets hard to get out the door. There are those days when the way that the delivery platforms treat you can rub you the wrong way, or those days where the restaurants can’t seem to get it together and you’re stuck waiting. Maybe the people we deliver to are rude or thoughtless or unappreciative.
Those are the times we can remind ourselves, we’re not out here for all that. We’re out there hustling and busting our butts for our why.
Reminding yourself of your why, and focusing on that why, is the motivation that we need at times to keep going.
Your why keeps you centered
Another way of saying that is, when you focus on your why, it keeps you from overdoing it on the what.
And maybe it keeps you from burnout.
There are times where I have to remind myself what I’m doing this for. That’s because it can be very easy to spend way too many hours out there, especially when the money is good. I can get so caught up in the what that I lose track of the why.
I have set up certain times that are strictly for family. I have set up times that are strictly for the projects I’m working on. I’ve had to remember to keep those times sacred. Some holidays can be tempting because all of the platforms seem to be screaming out, come drive. We’ll pay you good money, pleeeeeeeease come drive. It’s tempting, but I’ve already determined that one of my why’s is family. If I start taking away from the things that are my Why’s as part of this driving, then I’m getting in the way of what I am out there to drive for in the first place.
Reminding myself of that keeps me centered. It keeps me from going overboard on the driving. And ultimately, it keeps me from burnout.
Because of this, I find that keeping my Why’s in mind also makes me a better and more efficient driver. Because my time with my family is so important, and because my time on my projects is so important to me, I’m not willing to spend every waking hour doing this work. It causes me to set limits. But when I set limits, that means I have to be sure to be efficient and productive with the times I do drive. I have a certain amount I need to make, and because of all the things that are important to me I put a limit on the time that I give myself to make that money. That means I look for the times that are most productive to drive. And that means I pay careful attention to how I’m doing. By doing so, I’m able to earn in 40 hours what I once spent 60 hours working on. And that brings be back to what I said about burnout. I don’t go out the door feeling like I’m tired of all this.
Compare what you are doing to your why
Take time, regularly, and evaluate what you are doing. Take the time to determine what your why really is. Deep down, what is important to you.
How is your delivery work helping you accomplish it?
Is your delivery work actually getting in the way of what’s important?
Sometimes the question can become, does doing deliveries take so much out of you that not only do you dread it, but it affects you when you’re not doing delivery? Does it create a mood where you have trouble enjoying what you do.
Ask yourself, are there ways I can do this better, to do it in a way that better helps me accomplish my why?
Sometimes that may bring you to the conclusion that this isn’t the best way to accomplish your why. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s okay to go out and find things that are better suited for you and your why. Life is too short to be miserable with what you are doing, especially if that misery is getting in the way of what you’re ultimately doing this for anyway.
Think about your why. Dig deep. And then use that to evaluate what you are doing. Let it motivate you, let it get you out there when it gets tough. And let it regulate you, let it keep you from overdoing it and burning out. When you are able to do that, that can allow for a much longer time of success.