Entrepreneurial life is exhausting. There isn’t much time to step back and catch your breath. But working around the clock and failing to take care of yourself is not good for your mind or body. In fact, this is exactly how entrepreneurs start to burnout.
Burnout occurs as a result of prolonged stress, and it often causes fatigue, detachment, frustration and feelings of hopelessness. The symptoms often creep up slowly on entrepreneurs, so they may not even realize they are suffering from burnout until it has become more serious and harder to manage. Fortunately, there are steps that entrepreneurs can take to avoid burnout altogether.
1. Pretend you are an employee instead of an entrepreneur.
It’s hard for entrepreneurs to step away from their work, so they end up burning the midnight oil night after night. Snap out of this harmful habit by pretending to be an employee instead of an entrepreneur. Get dressed for work every morning — even if you are working from home — and work the same set hours everyday. This exercise can help entrepreneurs pull themselves away from their work so they can find a work-life balance and avoid burning out.
2. Identify the underlying cause.
Burnout always happens for a reason. Sometimes, it’s simply a result of working long hours. However, entrepreneurs can also start to burn out when they feel like they are losing control over their business. For example, an entrepreneur can experience symptoms of burnout if a new product launch does not go as planned. Burnout can also occur when an entrepreneur is forced to perform repetitive, tedious tasks everyday.
Because there are so many causes, it’s important for entrepreneurs to identify the underlying cause if they start to exhibit symptoms of burnout. Figuring out what is causing the symptoms of burnout can help entrepreneurs make changes to their business or routine in order to avoid completely burning out.
For example, entrepreneurs who are burned out from doing repetitive work should incorporate more challenging tasks into their daily routine. Breaking up the boring tasks with something that is out of their comfort zone can remind them why they love their work. Sometimes, this reminder is enough to avert burnout.
3. Look to other entrepreneurs for support.
Lack of emotional support can accelerate the onset of burnout. Friends and family may not understand exactly what entrepreneurs are going through, which is why it’s best to turn to other entrepreneurs in the community for support. Research networking groups that are designed to bring local entrepreneurs together. Then, open up to these entrepreneurs about challenges or concerns related to your business. No one understands the emotional rollercoaster of starting and growing a business better than other entrepreneurs, so this network can offer the emotional support entrepreneurs need to avoid burnout.
4. Stay away from negative people.
Studies have shown that pessimistic people are more likely to experience burnout because they are never satisfied with their work or performance. For this reason, it is best for entrepreneurs to steer clear of people who are constantly negative. Why? Negativity is often contagious, which means entrepreneurs who spend time around negative people will start to become more negative themselves. Entrepreneurs should surround themselves with positive people so they can reduce their risk of burning out.
5. Pat yourself on the back.
Many entrepreneurs start to burn out because they feel they are not recognized for their hard work. Feeling unappreciated can be disheartening and cause many entrepreneurs to consider throwing in the towel. No entrepreneur should let themselves get to this point. Entrepreneurs should make an effort to pat themselves on the back when they meet their goals. There’s no harm in celebrating your own accomplishments — especially if doing so can prevent burnout.
6. Hire, hire, hire!
One of the most common causes of burnout is taking on more than you can chew or repeatedly piling on repetitive tasks. Hiring an assistant, an extra employee, an accountant or whomever is needed to help offload some tasks will make an immense difference in stopping burnout in its tracks.
Burning out should not be a part of the entrepreneurial life. By following these tips, entrepreneurs can protect their minds and bodies from the harmful effects of burnout.
If you’ve already started to experience intense burnout symptoms, it’s not too late to take action. No matter what is on your schedule, it’s important to take time off and give your body plenty of time to overcome burnout. Remember, continuing to push through the physical and mental discomfort will only make it worse.
You know the co-worker who is always complaining? Don’t go to lunch with her.