If you are an entrepreneur who works long hours, compromises on sleep and makes tough decisions, it is likely that you are heading towards an entrepreneurial burnout. Avoiding this burnout is crucial. It not only helps you maintain and grow your business but also maintains work-life balance.
What is Entrepreneurial Burnout?
There is no doubt that entrepreneurial burnout is a serious issue. However, it is important not to associate stress with burnout. Stress is the feeling linked to overwhelming pressure, which arises because of taking on multiple challenges and tasks. Once you start sorting out all the tasks that are causing you stress, the burdening feeling tends to disappear.
Entrepreneurial burnout, in contrast, is a prolonged season of stress that gradually starts to become detrimental to you. In other words, it is caused by long-term stress, emotional roller coasters, and setbacks. Its effects are much more damaging and profound.
It has an impact on relationships, mental well-being, spiritual and emotional stability, and health. Hence, burnout is a serious concern that an entrepreneur needs to address instantly. It is far easier to prevent burnout than to pull out from a burnout phase.
Working through burnout can be incredibly tough, and trying to do so will only result in poor performance on your end. This is why it is essential to move away from the burnout phase. If you are burnt out, your business will lose money. Below are things that you can do to avoid burnout.
Set Healthy Time Boundaries
Time boundaries can be a form of routine scheduling that defines the time slots in which you prioritize a given task. Following these time slots allows you to maintain a balance between your work and personal life on a daily basis. Not only that, but it also helps you sleep better.
Many times entrepreneurs will romanticize work too much, and this will cause them to compromise on their sleep. Juggling multiple tasks at once has become a popular endeavor. Note that to do this, many business owners work late at night and wake up early the next morning often without realizing it.
Contrary to popular belief, giving up on a good night’s sleep will not increase your productivity. Instead, it will lead to burnout as time progresses. And this will decrease productivity to quite an extent. Setting boundaries also helps you keep your client’s expectations at bay.
For instance, if you have no time boundaries, you will end up over-delivering to your client. This means that the client will always expect you to provide over and above the expectations every time they do business with you.
Hence, trying to fulfill high expectations can become incredibly stressful, and this prolonged tension and anxiety will lead to burnout, and you don’t want that. Setting healthy time boundaries, in other words, prevents you from working more than what you get paid for.
Slack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of burnout, which is why it is being reinforced as the second step. Sometimes, getting rid of burnout can come from simply starting to sleep better. Even though you may believe that you function well on fewer hours of sleep, it is likely not the case.
Having a good quality of sleep can be crucial as it helps you run your business well over the long haul. The hustle mindset that is getting popular in the entrepreneurial world often gives the wrong message by endorsing a lack of sleep. In fact, not having a quality sleep will be detrimental to your health and your business.
It will make you sick faster, and you will feel burnt out. It is not a sustainable way to build your business. While you may realize that working long into the nights can give your business a quick boost if you cannot sustain that growth due to burnout, all the effort goes to waste.
It is humanly impossible to function effectively with little to no sleep. And as time passes, you are likely to burn out and become even more frustrated.
Therefore, make sure that you are getting enough quality sleep. If you are unable to get long, uninterrupted hours of sleep, you can use these tips. These include taking supplements such as melatonin, realigning your schedule, getting an ambient noisemaker, and buying a sleep mask.
Further reading: Brain boosting nutrition hacks for high-performing entrepreneurs
Nutrition is fuel for your brain. One of the things that entrepreneurs struggle with is maintaining a good diet. Since their lives are so busy and overwhelming, they are likely to resort to fast food.
Fast food is a convenient option that allows you to eat quickly and kill hunger. Other times, business owners will not realize that they have to eat because they are busy. Both of these habits, skipping meals and eating fast food, lead to an unhealthy body and a low-functioning brain.
This is why entrepreneurs must plan their workouts and prioritize their food breaks. This will ensure that you are feeding yourself well and fueling your brain with all essential and adequate nutrients for better decision-making. With good decision-making comes optimized work efficiency and a burnout-free capacity.
Keeping tabs on nutrition also allows you to avoid the entrepreneurial weight gain that comes from stress-eating. Ultimately, there are many different ways eating disorders manifest for entrepreneurs, and the best they can do is focus more on their nutrition.
Have a Support Network
Preventing burnout without support can be incredibly tough. There needs to be someone who acts as a support system as you start to slump. This can be a friend, spouse, partner, coach, mastermind group, or an individual who listens to you vent during seasonal burnout periods.
Hence, you must prioritize time to build relationships with people, so you have someone to bounce your ideas to. If you do not have a strong support system, it means that you do not have someone who can pull you out of tough times.
Recognize Your Triggers
Identify the triggers that can sometimes cause you to burn out. In some instances, it can be making up for ground that you can cover. This means that you try to accomplish a task even though, on paper, it seems unachievable in the particular period that you have. This is also a big part of setting realistic goals.
Other triggers can indicate whether you are indeed burnt out. These can include the sudden urge to procrastinate and loss of focus. If you realize your energy levels and ambition taking a sudden stoop, it could be a clear indication of burnout.
This is something that you should pay close attention to. It is also important to realize that each person is different, and the triggers will also differ. Keep in mind that some entrepreneurs burn out faster than others, and they need to be most careful of their triggers.
Do Not Over-Commit
Overcommitting only makes you feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and unhappy in your entrepreneurial journey. In our society, being busy is seen as one of the best ways to succeed. All of the efforts to fulfill unprecedented commitments do not promise unparalleled growth. It can instead be something that accounts for a setback rather than growth.
When you look at all the opportunities that are available to you, it can be overwhelming. The quest to pounce on each one will lead to failure. Instead, you should devise a strategy, look at opportunities closely, and strategically plan your tasks in ways that give you the best shot at achieving them.
A confused mind will likely perform poorly. Moreover, over-committing to your work also means that you are minimizing the time for your personal life.
Overall, the essence of this article marks the importance of downtime. Entrepreneurs are individuals who need vacations more than other people. Allocate time for yourself so that you can decompress, recharge, and recalibrate. The key to avoiding burnout is, therefore, to effectively make use of downtime and indulge in healthy, proactive, and mindful activities.