Starting a business can be a roller coaster ride: one minute it is exhilarating and exciting; and in the next, frustrating and tiring. The process of turning a start-up into a successful business venture requires truckloads of energy, which you may not always have.
You may be shifting gears from marketing to customer service; fretting over bookkeeping and accounting that you know nothing about; or having sleepless nights thinking if this business will work or simply burn a deep hole in your bank account. The pressure can be daunting! More so if you have invested everything you own in the business, and are afraid that it may not work out as planned.
If you are too stressed out, you may be heading for burnout. “Burnout” is a stress condition brought on by being involved in an intense situation for a long period of time without adequate rest and recreation. Burnout may result when you ignore your physical and emotional needs during a period of constant or severe stress. It can be triggered by your inability to set boundaries, trying to do everything all at once.
Here are four steps to avoid burnout, relieve stress and help you get invigorated.
Take it easy.
The key is to practice good self-care. This includes eating well-balanced meals, getting regular exercise, and adequate and satisfying sleep. . If you are hungry, eat; if you are tired, rest. Yet stopping to eat and sleep may be too difficult if you have a thousand and one things to do. Working as hard as you do, you need regular rest and recreation. Get away from your work from time to time, and try to regain a sense of control and focus. Exercise can do wonders for you: jogging or walking can give you a mental lift and the satisfaction of having accomplished something tangible.
Vacation, vacation, vacation!
Like many entrepreneurs, the idea of getting away from the business may very difficult, if not downright impossible. Phil Willis, President of the accounting firm Willis and Jurasek, P.C., CPAs/Consultants based in Michigan, has made a commitment that is probably radical to many small business owners: He decided to take a week off every month.
“It is extremely important to spend time away from the office,” he said. But the reasons, surprisingly, are not simply confined to spending quality time with his family, although that is a major consideration. “Its a good business practice,” Mr. Willis explained. It forces your employers to function when you’re not there.” Preferring to manage “more from a distance,” he allows his employees freedom and independence to make decisions. “If they can’t survive without you, your business will never grow,” he said. The time off also allows Mr. Willis to replenish his creative reserves and regain his energy. “It’s a hard step for many entrepreneurs to do, but you can’t grow without it. In the long run, it creates opportunities.”
Learn to prioritize.
When you are running a business, your task list can grow unbelievably long. There are just too many things that need to be done yesterday! Burnout occurs if you continue trying to accomplish your to-do list without asking crucial questions: “Is this task really important to my business? Do I need to finish this task NOW? If I don’t, what will its impact be on my business?” The key is to prioritize what you need to do. Start the habit of planning your day either in the morning before your start, or the night before.
Seek new motivation.
Burnout can occur if you have lost the happiness and feelings of fulfillment that you used to enjoy in your business. The motivation that pushed you initially has fizzled and died. To regain your motivation, try adding some new things in your entrepreneurial life. You can learn new skills, diversify existing skills, get new training, attend conferences and trade shows, and participate in networking activities. Change the humdrum of your everyday life, and you can begin to see your business in a whole new light.
Recommended Readings on How to Avoid Burnout:
- 5 Reasons Why You Need a Vacation
- How to Get in Control and Reduce Stress at Work
- What to Do When You are Overwhelmed
- Tips on How to Reduce Stress for Entrepreneurs
- How Entrepreneurs Can Manage Stress
Recommended Books on How to Avoid Burnout:
- Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency
- The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It
- Banishing Burnout: Six Strategies for Improving Your Relationship with Work
- High-Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout
- Overcoming Job Burnout: How to Renew Enthusiasm for Work