How to Prevent Burnout as an Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, you are at risk of burnout. This particular condition is the result of not managing chronic stress in the workplace, and is characterized by exhaustion, negativism, and reduced productivity. And it is more common than you think, with 30% of business founders reporting high levels of stress and half of them admitting to feeling burnt out.
That number is probably even higher given the stress associated with entrepreneurship: long working hours, lots of screen time, reduced personal interactions, a general loss of meaning in one’s professional life, and the highs and lows of running a business. While that’s bad news, burnout is preventable. Even better, preventing burnout isn’t all that complicated. In fact, following the simple tips below will significantly help to lower your risk of burnout, if not eliminate it completely.
Steer clear of cynicism… and onto positivism
It is only natural that things go wrong from time to time, and it could be easy to head down a negative spiral—to the point where you become pessimistic. Amy Quarton, who is an associate instructor on the online organizational leadership program at Maryville University, is well equipped to deal with these problems, as she is working with the next generation of leaders.
She points out that cynicism can ultimately lead to burnout. Quarton explains in an NBC News article on preventing burnout that “Pessimistic thinking can become a bad habit and contribute to job burnout.” It is for this reason that you must steer clear of negative thoughts and towards more positive ones. To do so, Quarton suggests recording—either through writing or voice recording—your frustrations and stress.
“You don’t have to keep your entries,” explains Quarton. “The goal is to express your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment instead of dwelling on them.” It is, in other words, a form of release that will help refresh your mind.
Stop feeling guilty… about taking breaks
Many entrepreneurs work nonstop because they suffer from entrepreneur’s guilt, or the feeling that taking a break is against the ethos of being an entrepreneur and that stopping can compromise the business.
However, this is not the case, and this misplaced guilt will only cause you undue stress, and put you on a fast-track to burning out. Business magnate Richard Branson offers this solution: “Ditch any guilt you might feel about stopping work.” In the same vein, find time to take breaks and relax.
For what’s it worth, many successful entrepreneurs spend time doing activities away from work, and so should you. So, go ahead and enjoy eating out at restaurants. Have fun. Make time for your loved ones. Go for a spa and a relaxing massage. Book that vacation you’ve been putting off. These are all important human needs, and making time for each of them will rejuvenate you and prevent burnout.
Exercise... and do it regularly
Billionaires like Branson, Mark Cuban, and Mark Zuckerberg find time to exercise routinely, and so should you. The reason being is that staying active is one of the best ways to keep burnout at bay, as it has been shown to decrease stress (by stimulating an increase in endorphins), boost mood, improve sleep, and enhance self-esteem.
The best part is that 30 minutes of physical activity every day is all you need, and you have a variety of choices, from strength training to yoga or even doing sports. The key thing is incorporating exercise into your routine and committing to it.
Trust your team… and delegate
Finally, it’s good to be hands-on, but doing everything all the time isn’t viable. All that does is force you to work longer and harder, in turn causing you more stress. This is where your team comes in, as they can help you in running the business.
So, it goes without saying that you ought to trust them more and start giving them more tasks and responsibilities. In the same manner, you can lean on technology, too, to help in the different aspects of the business.
You can, for instance, use social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to maximize your social media presence, or project management software like Asana and Scoro for resource management and planning. This way, you won't have to do everything by yourself, and will, therefore, have more time to take those much-deserved breaks.
Author Isabelle Russ