4 Ways To Avoid Burnout As An Entrepreneur
Creating a business from the ground up and running it yourself can be an amazing and highly rewarding adventure. You can be your own boss, make your own decisions, and carve out your own destiny.
However, the unfortunate flip side is that an entrepreneur must take on a huge amount of work. It’s extremely common for self-motivated business owners to work punishingly long hours, day after day – often with little thought for rest and recuperation.
The danger is that burnout can start to set in, and this can affect not only your own happiness and quality of life, but also negatively impact the business. You don’t want to be so tired and fed up that you’re not even capable of making good strategic decisions.
So what can you do if you are beginning to get burned out? In this post, we’re going to look at four top strategies for staying fresh and ensuring you’re ready for a marathon rather than a sprint.
Identify common stressors
Every business comes with its stresses and pain points – to some degree, those are inevitable.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to just suffer. If the same types of things are stressing you out day after day, it might be time to take a step back and look at whether you might be able to do something to mitigate those stressors.
Whether you are able to eliminate a source of stress by dramatically changing some part of your business strategy, or make a small tweak to make an unavoidable stressor slightly less bothersome, there are always optimisations you can make for the sake of your peace of mind.
Every business person wishes they could do more of “the fun stuff” and less of the tedious stuff they hate, so why not try to see if you can eliminate or mitigate some of the things you dread?
Look after yourself
It’s easy to get tunnel vision and end up thinking that the success of the business is all that matters. But that’s not the only thing you need to optimise for.
Apart from anything else, your body and mind are machines that you need to look after if you want to achieve top performance.
There’s no way around it – if you’re not sleeping well, eating well, drinking enough water, exercising, or meditating, you’re simply not going to be operating at your best. And that means you’re going to be less adept at fending off fatigue.
Many entrepreneurs seem to think it is a badge of masochistic honour to work every hour God sends and burn the candle at both ends, but you can’t work 16 hours a day for months and years on end. The body needs sleep, natural light, exercise, and rest. Running yourself basically into the ground does nobody any favours.
Instead, make a commitment to improving your health. Try to get to bed a little bit earlier, or to drink more water throughout the day. Go for a run at lunchtime, or take 10 minutes in the evening to meditate and clear your mind. These may seem like tiny things in the moment, but over the long term they will do wonders for your staying power.
By ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself in all the above ways, you can be a far more effective business person, and you’re much less likely to burn out.
Many entrepreneurs take great pride in doing everything themselves and putting a million things on their plate, but you don’t have to do that.
It’s okay to recognise where you could use an extra pair of hands and looking for ways to bring people on to take things off your to-do list, or to outsource them to freelancers.
As a successful small business grows, it will eventually hit a point where there’s simply too much for one person to do – and being slow to recognise that can put an enormous amount of strain on the one person who’s trying to keep all the plates spinning by themselves.
By teaming up, you can free up your schedule – and your mind – to have more room to breathe and to think properly about what to do next, rather than being blinded to the forest by the trees.
Not only that, but having the support of an extra pair of hands will also help you to get more done, and work smarter rather than harder.
A new employee or assistant may bring new skills, ideas, and energy to the table – freeing you up to move in new directions you may not have considered by yourself.
Everything in life is harder if you have a negative disposition, and the world of business is no exception.
Remember, there was a reason you started your company! There was something you wanted to do – something you were passionate about, or a change you wanted to see, or something you wanted to spend your life doing.
Allowing yourself to get burned out is often a consequence of losing sight of what you actually enjoy about being an entrepreneur, and coming to see only the downsides.
Positivity can be as much a matter of habit as of temperament, and by reminding yourself every day to think thoughts of happiness and gratitude and excitement, you can keep your energy levels up and give yourself a hunger, rather than a dread, for more.
So the next time you find yourself dreading the day ahead, consider taking a step back and asking yourself: what’s it all about? What do I really love about running my own business?
What am I proud of? What are my successes? Where did my idea come from? What are my goals and dreams?
By thinking about what you enjoy, and how you’re feeling, you’re likely to find that your mood lifts – and you’ll find yourself looking forward to another day of work rather than dreading it.
That’s a powerful thing, especially if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and drained.
You can have the world’s most amazing idea and the world’s most unique product or service – but if you’re exhausted and miserable all the time, what’s the point?
Burnout is a danger for almost all entrepreneurs, but fortunately there are numerous real actions you can take to mitigate it.
And by working around your known stress triggers, prioritising your health, finding people to help you and maintaining a positive frame of mind, you can put yourself in a position where your work becomes a source of joy rather of fatigue.