We are taking an opportunity here to provide you with a special article for this series to offer up some tips that you can use to avoid and combat burnout as a business owner because burnout can be more harmful to you than you might realize, and detrimental to your work.
Most business owners and inexperienced professionals in general have a habit of discounting or underestimating burnout as a real threat, which makes them even more likely to become victim to it. Don’t become a victim. Keep these tips in mind as you grow your business, to keep your stress level low and your productivity high.
Do Your Best to Stick to a Set Schedule
The very first thing you can do to avoid becoming burned out is to decide what is a reasonable set of working hours that you can adhere to every day. Obviously, there will be issues that come up from time to time that you will have to deal with after normal hours, but barring those kinds of urgent issues, it’s a really healthy practice to give yourself a solid time when you will quit every day to keep your business from bleeding too much into your personal life .
As a business owner, you will always be willing to spend inordinate amounts of extra hours for work, well beyond what you normally would, which is why you have to be careful about this. If you’re opening a new business, then there is of course not a whole lot that you can do in the beginning because it’s such a heavy work period when you’ll need to get a lot done in a variety of departments.
As soon as you are able to, set a schedule that you will work every day, and then cut yourself off at that time. Since you don’t have a boss there to tell you when to stop, you have to stop yourself.
Get Some Time Outside
It’s highly important to make sure you get out periodically during the day, not only to get moving around, but to get some exercise and release endorphins. Endorphins can alleviate depression, reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and even reduce weight, among other things.
Those aren’t just benefits that improve your personal sense of well-being—they are crazy useful for running a business, due to the extreme demands that you face as an owner. The bottom line is that you have to find ways to improve your mood and reduce stress. There are a few things that contribute to burnout, but one of the chief causes that can be easily overlooked is simply being in a consistent negative mood.
That’s why we’re mentioning endorphins here, as they can be effective to improve mood and significantly decrease the chances that you’ll be affected by burnout. Another aspect to pay attention to is getting plenty of sunlight (just vitamin D if you live in an area that doesn’t get too much sunlight) because if you’re not getting enough sunlight and vitamin D, it can greatly affect your mood, curbing your ability to be productive.
Get the Difficult Tasks Out of the Way First
It’s one of the best things you can do to get the hard stuff out of the way as early in the day as possible. Of course, most of us are taught to do that from the time we’re young, but when you run a business, it’s even more important because the stakes are obviously higher for you.
Basically, the stress you feel from your work is compounded the more you know you have to get done, and we all naturally dread the challenging work we know is ahead and has to be done. Look at everything on the schedule for your day, take the stuff you absolutely do not want to do right away, and then do that right away. You’ll probably be surprised by how much it will calm you down to get those things completed (if that’s not already your habit).
Don’t Put Things Off
In addition to getting the hardest work out of the way first, you will help your state of mind more than you think by attacking every task. Avoiding tasks gives you a sense that you’re failing in some way, even though you actually just haven’t gotten to it yet.
The more tasks you can cross off of your list for the day—or even for the week or month (larger projects)—the more you will lower your stress level, which in turn lowers the risk of burnout. Some people are definitely better at this than others, different personalities being more naturally predisposed to feeling a need to get challenging work out of the way first.
Some of us unfortunately just tend to put off the work that we dread as long as possible; so, for those of us who have that tendency, it’s important to fight it and put the hard work first.
Set Aside Time for what You’re Passionate About
If you’re lucky enough to be very passionate about the business you’re running, then you’re fortunate, but still, anything turns into work eventually, no matter how much you love it. It’s something you never dream of before what you love to do turns into your job, but when that does happen, it’s usually a rude awakening because some of the shine wears off when you are forced to do what you love as a job every day.
That being said, it’s definitely a huge advantage to have a business doing something you enjoy. On the other hand, when your business is work to you and nothing more, that’s not the worst thing in the world because the lines are never blurred, and you can easily keep your work life separate from your home life. That, however, is when you really need to practice some self-care .
It’s important to remember who you are, personally, and one way you can do this is to take time to pursue your passion projects when you have free time. Don’t spend all your free time building your business. That’s probably your top priority as a business owner, of course. Just try and always keep it in mind that you and your family should have a place in your life, as much as your business does.
The idea behind all of this is to find a balance. If all you do is work, without making room for a life outside of work that fuels your passions and gives you the acceptance and satisfaction that you can only get from spending time with your family and friends, then you’re on a fast-track to burnout.
Also, take into account the other critical factors that we’ve gone over in this article. Set a definite time when you will stop work during the day, face the tasks you dread first, head-on, and consider your health to regulate your mood. These are just a few key points that can help you to stop burnout before it happens.
Stay tuned through this series to learn more about how you can help yourself to stay healthy and productive, without adding unnecessary stress or sacrificing your personal life.
Check out all of the articles in the series, Understanding & Dealing with Burnout:
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.