Starting and maintaining a new business is hard work. It’s not uncommon to feel the pains of job burnout. Those who know and understand this struggle best are seasoned entrepreneurs, who have weathered the storm of burnout and lived to tell about it.
Like clockwork, burnout sneaks up on you. Everything seems to be going well, you’re making plenty of progress, and then—all of a sudden—exhaustion reins its pesky little head, perched on your shoulder trying to get you to give up. Chances are, burnout has been building up for weeks, but your excitement and adrenaline pushed it aside. Now it’s leaving you feeling unmotivated, tired, lost, and maybe even a little bit lazy.
But as many seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you, now is not the time to give up. This isn’t the end! Don’t let the bully of burnout get to you. Instead, many strategies can help you power through and emerge on the other side stronger than ever. In some ways, you may even find that burnout can be a helpful tool in bettering your business.
The Take-A-Break Strategy
The most common cause of burnout is that, as an entrepreneur, you’re doing too much, too fast. Again, adrenaline and excitement help push you through the beginning stages of opening your business, but they don’t last forever. Sometimes, seasoned entrepreneurs get so far into their companies that they never take a break. The moment they’re able to reflect, they discover that they’ve been working seven days a week, 10+ hours a day. It’s no wonder you feel burnt out.
For some seasoned entrepreneurs, taking a break is as simple as it sounds. Take an entire afternoon off and sit outside for lunch, read a book, drink some tea, and, above all else, don’t work. Maybe you need to take it a step further with a weekend escape to a rural cabin in the woods. Physically leaving your space makes it easier for your mind and emotions to follow. When you return, you’re left feeling refreshed, and burnout is long gone.
Scheduled Self Care
But for many business owners, it’s not that simple. One afternoon or weekend isn’t enough to stave off burnout. Instead, you must build regular breaks into your days or weeks to maintain that feeling of freshness. That tea break might become an everyday break, or maybe on Wednesdays, you take an extra-long lunch to help clear your mind. Whatever it is that enables you, remember that a healthy work-life balance is vital to successful entrepreneurs.
The Assess-Your-Business Strategy
If breaks aren’t working—perhaps because your business is booming and you can’t afford a break—then try to dig deep and find out what’s going on. You need to take a step back and assess your business. For a lot of seasoned entrepreneurs, this strategy is helpful and forces them to uncover areas of waste and areas of improvement.
Use this time to assess your business strategies. Look at your analytics and ask yourself what is working and what isn’t working. Do your research and find strategies that can help you improve. Burnout creeps up when we don’t have time for ourselves. But when you’re working hard and aren’t seeing the results you want, it’s probably less about needing a break and more about needing to restrategize.
Taking your mind off the day-to-day helps to clear it so you can take a refreshed look at your business, and be truthful about the steps you need to take. It also gives you time to reassess your goals, look at your tools, and start to focus on what’s important.
The Hire-Some-Help Strategy
Wait, is burnout trying to tell you something? Is it time to celebrate? Exhaustion can be a sign of business growth when there’s too much to do on your own. It may very well be time to hire some support. Your first employee—congratulations!
Hiring a staff member alleviates your burden, which is like burnout kryptonite. Not only does your day-to-day feel better, but you also have more time to focus on the aspects of your business that you love. Many seasoned entrepreneurs make the mistake of waiting too long to hire support. When you do this, you miss the opportunity for real growth in your business. It may seem counterintuitive to spend money in hopes of making money, but that’s what we call an investment. If you’re strategically investing in your business, then you’re doing something right.