A 40-hour work week is a foreign concept to many entrepreneurs, with many of them clocking over 50 hours a week. According to a Capital One Survey, 42% of entrepreneurs experience burnout after the first year, a state of emotional or physical exhaustion.
However, there are ways you can avoid burnout as an entrepreneur to create a better balance between your personal and work life.
Let’s explore the causes and signs of burnout, nine ways to help you prevent burnout, and any extra tips that might help.
What Causes Burnout?
Burnout usually occurs due to mental and physical stress stemming from work-related activities.
Burnout can be caused by a few things:
Taking on too many projects: It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to say ‘no’ to extra projects, especially when they spark their interest. However, taking on too many projects can throw a wrench in an entrepreneur’s plan when they realize they don’t have enough time. Eventually, the projects will start to pile up, which can increase their stress and lead to burnout.
Not taking enough breaks: Many entrepreneurs get into a workflow and may forget to take much-needed breaks. However, scheduling breaks into your routine can help you relax and recharge before you start working again.
Not seeing results: Entrepreneurs love to see the fruits of their labor, and when they don’t, it may motivate them to work even harder. However, seeing results takes time and doesn’t always show up right away. Working harder isn’t always the answer.
Using work as an escape: Entrepreneurs typically create their businesses based on their passions. As a result, they may find that working is more rewarding than not, which may lead to overworking and burnout.
Common Signs of Burnout
Lack of Focus/Productivity: You might lose focus in your day-to-day tasks, leading to decreased productivity.
Irritability: You may feel irritated or annoyed at things that you wouldn’t have been irritated with before.
Depression: You may feel like all the hard work you’re putting in isn’t feeling worth it or producing results you envisioned.
Exhaustion: You may find yourself mentally and physically exhausted. For example, you might feel more emotional than normal or struggle to get out of bed.
9 Ways to Try Avoiding Burning Out As An Entrepreneur
#1 Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can help you to appreciate your progress and produce positive energy, which may lead to lower stress levels.
#2 Rediscover Your Why
When you’re burnt out, finding purpose in your work can be challenging. To combat this, you may need to rediscover your why. Typically, entrepreneurs have a mission and purpose for creating their businesses, also known as their ‘why.’ To rediscover your ‘why,’ you can reflect on why you started your business.
#3 Delegate Tasks
Burnout is the result of overworking yourself. As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to relinquish our responsibilities to others because you’re afraid they won’t do it like you. However, you don’t have to give up your creative responsibilities. You can try delegating more mundane responsibilities that take up time but don’t require your expertise.
#4 Develop and Stick to a Schedule
Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in their work that they don’t realize they haven’t taken a break. So, try to develop a schedule you can stick to. Creating a schedule can help you prioritize and organize your tasks so that you only do what absolutely has to be done.
#5 Create Intentional Breaks
Similar to creating a schedule, creating intentional breaks can help ease burnout symptoms. After creating your work schedule, add in intentional, unplugged breaks where you simply relax and recharge before picking up where you left off.
#6 Switch Up Your Routine
Performing the same tasks over and over without variation can lead to burnout. So, switching up your routine can help you to get out of a rut. For example, if you workout at the beginning of the day, you could try working during that time instead and working out after.
You don’t have to make drastic changes, though. You can switch up little things throughout your day to add variety and prevent yourself from continuously working all day long.
#7 Prioritize Self-Care
Many entrepreneurs are so engrossed in their work that they forget to take care of themselves physically and mentally. So, prioritizing self-care, such as eating healthier, taking walks, reading, finding a hobby, etc., can help them take better care of themselves.
#8 Find a Hobby You Love
Instead of looking to work to provide all your fulfillment, you could try to find a hobby outside of work that you love.
#9 Build a Supportive Community
If you’re experiencing burnout, you may feel lonely and need someone to talk to. So, building a supportive community that provides counsel and advice may help you learn to combat burnout.
Tip: Find a Balance That Works for You
At the end of the day, you have to create a balance that works for you as a business owner. You can read all the books and watch all the videos about avoiding burnout, but in reality, everyone is different. You may be able to work long hours, whereas someone else might need to work only a few hours a day. The most important thing is to try different methods and see what works for you.
You have to create a balance that works for you as a business owner.