March 8, 2022

How You Can Break the Cycle of Busyness & Burnout TODAY with Garland Vance

How You Can Break the Cycle of Busyness & Burnout TODAY with Garland Vance

Today’s guest explains why your hustling and overcommitted schedule are what’s keeping you from learning how to earn more and work less as you grow a business. Plus, he’s sharing the steps you can take to decrease your workload and achieve a better work-life balance WITHOUT sacrificing momentum!

When was the last time you thought to yourself, “I desperately want to grow a business, but this workload is KILLING me?”

Surprisingly, it may actually be your hustling and overcommitted schedules that are keeping you from cracking the code on how to earn more and work less!

Today’s guest expert, Garland Vance, is here to help you how to overcome the overcommitment epidemic and finally find the growth AND the work-life balance you crave.


  • An understanding of why overcommitment is silently killing your ability to grow a business and the real reason it’s so hard to say “no”
  • The 3 beliefs that trap you in the cycle of busy-ness (and how to shift them, so you can finally learn how to earn more and work less)
  • The steps you can take today to decrease your workload and achieve a better work-life balance WITHOUT sacrificing momentum

Plus, there’s an exclusive listener BONUS! Get a copy of Garland’s book for FREE (just pay shipping & handling) at

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @theCourtney Elmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:00  

Welcome back to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast and this is episode 112.


Courtney Elmer 1:36  

I've got a very special guest here with me today, Garland Vance. He's here today to help you acheive work-life balance and overcome the overcommitment epidemic that silently killing you while growing a business. With a doctorate in leadership development, and the author of a book called Getting Unbusy, which Forbes recently named as one of the seven books, everyone on your team should read.

He's helped 1000s of people like you discover how to live out their life purpose, to enhance their clarity, productivity and work-life balance while growing a business, and to impact the world around them without sacrificing their life and well being in the process.

We also talk about the three fascinating beliefs that trap you in the cycle of busyness and how to shift them so that you can break free of this cycle for good, as well as the steps you can take today when you leave this episode to decrease your workload without sacrificing your momentum and get work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 5:25  

Garland, I am so excited that you are here today!

Garland Vance 5:31  

Thank you so much, Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer 5:37  

I'm delighted that we were able to have this conversation about work-life balance, because it is such an important one. And it is one that I think many of us always have going in the back of our minds, but that we often do not bring to the forefront to really sit down and work through what are these things in our life that are keeping us from a work-life balance.

That's really where I'd like to start with you today is our culture has bought into this mindset that we need to work hard to be successful. No work-life balance. That's what our country has been founded on here in the US hard work and growing a business. And I feel like in the entrepreneur space, especially we have morphed this into some kind of hustle brainwashing, that keeps us on a hamster wheel of busyness doing more, doing more thinking it's going to bring us success, it's going to bring us the freedom that we got into business for in the first place. But that's not the case. Is it?

Garland Vance 6:42  

Not at all Courtney Elmer. All of that busyness and chaos and hustle and grind actually has quite the opposite effect. It ends up hurting our productivity hurting our ability to create work-life balance. You start growing a business because you want some freedom and you want to like your boss, which happens to be you. So what happens with this busyness in this whole hustle culture is we end up undermining the very reason that we started growing a business in the first place- work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 7:24  

Tell us how is this hustle mentality is hurting us? How specifically does that play out in our lives, our growing a business and work-life balance?

Garland Vance 7:33  

Courtney Elmer, it affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally. Busyness is an over commitment to too many good commitments. You're you're not busy doing bad things, you're busy, doing great things like growing a business, like helping your kids grow up, being involved in the community, it's all of these great things that we're doing. But when you put them all together, they become bad. It's kind of like when I was in middle school, and I would go to a buffet. There was all this great food from fried chicken to salads, all kinds of great food, but I would eat so much of it that I would make myself sick. And that's what busyness and lack of work-life balance is actually doing to us. So how's it making us sick?

Well Courtney Elmer, physically, it there's actually 26 or more different diseases that have been connected with lack of a work-life balance and this busyness mentality, because what happens is our bodies get flooded with adrenaline and cortisol to the point that those chemicals become toxic. They're good in small amounts, but in in continual amounts, they have this toxic effect on us. It's this this busyness and lack of work-life balance, that is killing our relationships there. There's a condition known as depersonalization. That happens as a result of having so much to do that we end up resenting the people that we care about the most. And that could be our family. That could be our friends that could be our customers who we're dealing with, but we resent them for any need that they have.

And that's a result of over commitment, busyness, and bad work-life balance. There's the the emotional toll that it takes on us. We have this burnout and in 2019, the World Health Organization said burnout was a chronic condition that people were experiencing. Well, way back in the 1990s Dr. Christina Maslach, discovered that burnout is directly connected to busyness, over commitment- a lack of work-life balance. The busier you are, Courtney Elmer, the more likely you are to to burn out.

And finally, this busyness and lack of work-life balance is hurting our productivity and this is what's huge in the hustle mentality. This busyness culture that we glorify, we glorify activity, rather than accomplishment. And so we look at the hours that a person has worked, rather than the outcomes that a person has achieved. We'll say, oh, man, I put in 80 hours this week, who cares? Like that doesn't matter if the end result of that 80 hours is that you didn't actually get anything done. You didn't accomplish your biggest priorities there. Again, no work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 10:41  

Gosh, this is so relevant. in 2019, we were saying burnout as an our chronic condition. Now here at the time of this recording, and 2022, after all that has happened in the world these past couple of years with a pandemic and everything else. I can only imagine that has been multiplied exponentially.

Garland Vance 11:01  

This COVID world where we thought we would actually have a little bit more work-life balance has actually had the opposite effect on us where we can't escape our work. And so we're constantly doing more doing more doing more.

Courtney Elmer 11:45  

There's no work-life balance there, This was something that I felt to a degree prior to COVID, working from home. Because it can be very difficult when you're running and growing a business, especially if your Office environment is within your home to find work-life balance. And now of course, for everyone who is working remotely or has had to work from home, on some level, no matter if you're growing a business, or if you're working for someone else, how there becomes this lack of separation, and we feel like we're always on and cant find work-life balance.

I want to go back to something that you said, I really, really loved, is that busyness is an over commitment to good things. And I think this is important, because so many people feel that it's difficult to let go of things because we feel that they are good while growing a business.

Garland Vance 12:39  

Sure Courtney Elmer. We have a hard time saying no to things and work-life balance. Because we're saying no to good things. In fact, we may be saying no to great things. Think about it on both the growing a business side and the personal side. Look at the growing a business side for a second. There is no part of you growing a business, if you look at marketing, sales, operations, leadership, development... there's no part of growing a business that is bad, every part of growing a business is good. But if you're going to grow a business you have to begin giving up your your duty doing of some of the things. You've got to build a team, you've got to grow it, you've got to outsource that or hire other people to help you do the parts that you're not exceptional at.

That's you learning to say no to great things. And then you can see it on the personal side, as well that you will always have more opportunities than you have capacity to do those. When I was growing up, I played the piano, I was on the soccer team, I was on the basketball team. So I went to a really small school and had to be a part of everything. I had a part time job. I remember saying to my parents, hey, I want to take karate lessons as well. And I remember them looking at me and going when can you possibly do that? And that tends to be what we do even in our personal lives is we take on so many good things, maybe even great things that our capacity is is stretched then. It's the way my grandmother used to say, boy you are trying to fit 15 pounds of potatoes in a 10 pound sack and and that is exactly what happens with our lives when we're too busy and dont have work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 15:00  

Eventually one of two things is going to happen, this sack is going to get so heavy, you can't continue to carry it or it's going to bust the potatoes are going to go all over the place. I would love to talk a bit about this idea of capacity too, because I think this is where we can really fall into a trap with work-life balance. And I see this happening so often is that for some reason, we tend to think that everyone's capacity is the same. We don't really sit and examine capacity, right?

Maybe logically, we know everyone's got a little bit of a different capacity here. But what happens is, we tend to compare ourselves to someone else who might have more capacity than us for whatever reason, they might have more hours in the day because they don't have young kids at home. Or they might have more mental space, right? Because they have less demands on their plate while growing a business for whatever reason. 

So we start to guilt trip ourselves and feel like well, wait, I should be doing that I should be at this level. But wait, my capacity is not there. And so we ten to stuff the potato sack is I love that that's a great way to put it. And we really wind up hurting ourselves and our work-life balance in that instance. What are some indicators that we need to be on the lookout for to help alert us to when we are at capacity?

Garland Vance 16:11  

Courtney Elmer, let's start with what are the indicators that your your capacity and work-life balance is being exceeded? If you go to bed exhausted and wake up exhausted, every day while growing a business, your capacity and work-life balance is exceeded. If you're constantly looking and saying how in the world am I going to get all of this stuff done while growing a business, your capacity and work-life balance is exceeded. If you create a to do list every day, knowing full well that there's no way you're going to possibly get to half of those things while growing a business, your capacity and work-life balance is exceeded. If you're experiencing chronic physical problems, like headaches or muscle tension, diarrhea like stomach cramping, anything along those lines, then there's a probability that what you're experiencing is, is this capacity and work-life balance issue where you don't have enough time to do everything. Especially while growing a business.

We all have different capacities. We all have the same amount of time. But we have different work-life balance commitments within those time, like like you mentioned Courtney Elmer. Some of us have young kids or some people are going to school while they're growing a business. So you've got to look at how much time you have. You also have to look at your energy, how much energy do you have, you can't expand the number of hours that you have in a day, but you can increase the energy that you have, and you can increase your ability to pay attention to your work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer, I normally encourage people when they're saying, Oh man, I've got to increase my work-life balance capacity while growing a business. That doesn't mean you need to sleep less. That's a terrible strategy for increasing your work-life balance capacity. A good strategy for increasing work-life balance capacity is looking at the areas where you can grow your energy and where you can grow your attention. And then and here's the kicker, Courtney Elmer, limiting your time you actually want to shrink the amount of time that you give yourself because as Parkinson's Law says work expands to fill the time allotted. So give yourself less time to do things while finding how do I increase my energy? How do I increase my attention and work-life balance?

Courtney Elmer 19:26  

That's gonna sound very counterintuitive to people listening right now. I would love for you to share the story of when you were founding your company, really growing a business, and how you put this work-life balance philosophy to the test.

Garland Vance 19:43  

So Courtney Elmer, I'm a chronic workaholic. When my wife and I were starting our leadership development company, we were really questioning ourselves like, how do we do this in a way that that's not flooded with busyness and, and so we made a commitment. And at the time, everybody we talked to was like, You're crazy. And here's the commitment we made, we made a work-life balance commitment that I would not work more than 40 hours a week on while growing a business. And for startups, you listen to that, and you're like, That's ridiculous. Nobody can be growing a business like that. And there are exceptions. Of course, but we made the choice that we wanted to see if growing a business in 40 hours or less, per week was possible. And so we're five years in, and, and we're growing a business successfully. But the reason is, is we we shrunk the time part to say, Okay, if I've only got 40 hours a week, what are the most important things that I need to work on during that time while growing a business? What are the things that we can give away to somebody else for work-life balance while still growing a business?

Courtney Elmer 21:13  

This is so critical. Right before we hit record, we were talking about how this is kind of like the whole diet mentality, like, use a smaller plate, because you're naturally going to put less servings less calories on that plate, because there's simply not enough room for it. And the same goes in growing a business and work-life balance when we are looking at the revenue coming in. 

When we allocate that to Profit First, to paying our taxes, first, to all of these different accounts where that money has to go first, and then we use the rest for the expenses, it helps us keep things in check while growing a businesses so it can be profitable. So why wouldn't it be the same here in managing our time and managing our work-life balance? And in managing these things when we allow ourselves a little bit less? And I think there's so much truth to that. And yet, it's counterintuitive? That might seem scary, because you might feel like you don't have enough time as it is. And also, what's the alternative? You keep going like you're going to eventually burn out at some point?

Garland Vance 22:18  

I heard it early on Courtney Elmer. It was such a game changer for me while growing a business. Somebody said, your business exists to serve you so that you can serve the people you want to impact. And, so many times we end up serving our businesses rather than having our businesses serve us.

Courtney Elmer 22:58  

What would you say then, are the root causes of this busyness? We all know that we have a busy problem. I am busy and but how do I undo that for work-life balance?

Garland Vance 23:23  

I was working on my doctorate, I ended up focusing the rest of my research on busyness, what it's doing to us how it's affecting our work-life balance and how to beat it. So when I tell you Courtney Elmer that the research shows, the research shows, that's what I'm talking about. What the research shows is that there are three, what I call inhibiting beliefs that keep us trapped in busyness. So what's an inhibiting belief, it's something that we either consciously or subconsciously believe. But the belief holds us back. 

Here's the three inhibiting beliefs, I need to be more, I need to do more, and I need to get more. It's about identity. I need to be more activity, I need to do more. And then economy I need to get more. Some of us are inhibited by this belief of I need to be more you look at yourself in the mirror, and you're always looking and saying I'm not enough what's wrong with me, if only I can get to this level, then I will be a successful person. If only I can earn this as much money while growing a business then I'll be a successful person. And so we're always looking at what we're lacking, and telling us that something is wrong with us.

Anytime you look at yourself, and you say, something's wrong with me, I should be more than that. The natural question that comes next is, okay, what do I need to do about that, and if you're an entrepreneur growing a business, you have this Doer gene in you. I need to sleep less, I need to work harder, I need to manage my time better. So we tell ourselves, we need to do more. And then finally, it's, I need to get more. Sometimes it comes in a way where we say I need to get more stuff, right? But a lot of times it comes in the form of experiences that we want to have. I want to travel more. And so we can't say no to any new experience. Those three beliefs, keep us trapped in overwork over commitment, burnout, busyness, and that whole hustle mentality without work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 26:45  

Is there an underlying fear in your work with leaders and with entrepreneurs growing a business, and all this work that you have done with Fortune 500 companies? Is there any thread that runs through that, that you have noticed? Any underlying fears beneath that?

Garland Vance 27:12  

Courtney Elmer, I think we've seen I think there have been a lot of fears now haven't done the hard research on this one. But I think from what I've seen with with a lot of leaders growing a business is there's the this fear of people are going to realize that I'm not as good as they think I am, right kind of the imposter syndrome, that doesn't go away, when you hit a certain amount in your bank account that doesn't go away when you hit a level of success while growing a business, that goes away when you deal directly with that fear. You begin to go, Okay, I am I real and true and authentic no matter what or do I view myself as, as an imposter. So I think there's an imposter syndrome fear that, that a lot of times comes out. There's also this, this fear of missing out right FOMO that's become a really popular term. But FOMO is actually one of the things that keeps us trapped in busyness without work-life balance especially while growing a business.

Courtney Elmer 29:05  

I feel that when we recognize those fears, you can face that fear head on today. It's not going to go away or vanish when you reach six figures, multiple six figures, seven figures, when you have this accolade or those credentials behind your name. It's something that you can face today. And I think there's something so freeing in that. To recognize that power within ourselves to create work-life balance.

Garland Vance 29:33  

What we found Courtney Elmer, is that you've got to take the time to take those inhibiting beliefs, right, whether it's fear of, oh, I'm afraid I'm going to miss out or, or it's I need to be more, do more, get more we've got to take those inhibiting beliefs, and name them there's power in naming them you you can, when more afraid of something if we can't name what it is it has control over us. So when we can begin to name it, we can begin taking ownership of it. And then after we name it We got to get really clear on. Okay, what are the empowering truths that are actually that I'm actually going to choose to believe? So , if you have, if I say no to anything, I'm I'm going to miss out on something that's an inhibiting belief. You want to replace that with an empowering truth? Which is, the more that I say no to, the more I will enjoy and experience the things that I say yes to and have work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 30:29  

Let's drop the mic right there. I like how you frame that is, well, it's not to replace our old belief that's not serving us with a new belief that does is to replace it with an empowering truth, something that we know, to be true. And something that whatever you believe in, already knows to be true about you. 

Powerful stuff. Garlin, you have written a book called Getting unbusy, which is great. Can you walk us through a little bit? What's in your book? Why should people go read it? 

Garland Vance

As I was researching busyness, I got so frustrated, because most of the resources that I read on it would go busyness is bad, you should stop period. And so I made a commitment in the midst of the research that I was gonna find the most ridiculously practical way that I could. And so it it's literally a 30 day guide, five to 10 minutes a day, a 30 day guide to go from stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted to living out your biggest dreams and your highest priorities in an unbusy work-life balance type of way. So I'll introduce you to the five steps that you go in, you go in order, through those five steps it's decide, deconstruct design, develop and draw others in. And as you go through those five steps, you're gonna kill busyness, and live with much greater purpose, productivity and have peace and work-life balance.

Courtney Elmer 33:23  

Having a wake up call like that can be life altering. And 25 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer, that was my wake up call. And that hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel that for so many people, and even maybe for you listening right now, maybe you haven't had that wake up call yet. And if you don't slow down, and take the time right now to look deeper into this. 

That wake up call is coming. It's inevitable if you continue down this path. So you have a choice. You can either continue down the path and wait for that wake up call. And let me tell you, it'll be serious when it comes. It's going to be something life threatening. Or you can walk away from this episode today and take one action.

Go get the copy of Carlin's book, order it, get it in, start reading it, something so simple. Where can we go to get a copy of that book and be where can others go to connect with you? 

Garland Vance 35:17  

It's been my pleasure Courtney Elmer. So if you want to get a copy of the book, it's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Or if you go to, then you can get an autographed copy for free if you'll pay for the shipping and handling. You can find me on on LinkedIn. And you can find me at my website, which is advance, no D on the end. 

Courtney Elmer 36:11  

If you're listening, scroll down in your podcast app right now you'll be able to tap and click through to all those links. Thank you again for being here today.

Garland Vance 36:22  

My pleasure. Thanks Courtney Elmer for having me.

Courtney Elmer 36:26  

I can't wait to see you back here for another episode of the System's Made Simple™ Podcast to help you get the right structure and the right systems and the right support in place in your business to scale to seven figures and beyond. I'll see you back here next Tuesday. And until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.

Garland Vance Profile Photo

Garland Vance

Author, Speaker, Consultant

Short Biography: Garland Vance is an author, speaker, and consultant. He cofounded AdVance Leadership to help overwhelmed influencers and organizations live with purpose, productivity, and peace. He is the author of Gettin' (un)Busy, which Forbes named as "one of the seven books everyone on your team should read."

He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife of twenty years, Dorothy, their three kids and turtle. Learn more at and

Long Biography: Dr. Garland Vance has been helping people and teams get clarity about their life and leadership for over twenty years. He is an author, speaker, and consultant. Along with his wife, Dorothy, he cofounded AdVance Leadership to help high capacity leaders and organizations live and lead with Purpose, Productivity, and Peace. He has helped his clients (which span from Fortune 500 Companies to nonprofits) stress less, accomplish more, and fulfill their highest priorities.

He is the author of Gettin' (un)Busy, which Forbes named as "one of the seven books everyone on your team should read."

As a former Leadership Development Pastor and Director of one of Chick-fil-A's nonprofits, Garland has poured into influencers at all levels. He’s helped thousands of people discover and live out their life purpose, enhance their clarity and productivity, and impact the world around them.

Garland earned a Doctorate in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Denver Seminary. There, he researched the effects of busyness on leaders and how to overcome both individual and organizational overcommitment.
s much as he loves to work, it's not his highest priority. Garland enjoys reading, watching movies, drinking coffee, trying new food, engaging in deep conversations, running, and East Tennessee hiking. But most of all, he loves spending time with his wife, Dorothy, and their three children.