As a business owner, it's easy to bury yourself in work and forget to strike some balance. You'll often find yourself working during non-business hours just to keep your business in place. It's important that you know when to shut the work and focus on self-care. It not only motivates you but helps you stay energized throughout your schedule.
We asked entrepreneurs their tips on avoiding burn out and here are the responses;
#1- Shut everything off for some time
Burn out can happen to the best of us. We get engulphed in our work that it's hard to pull us away (especially if we do something we love for a living). The best way to prevent burning out would be to have times where you shut everything off. For most, this would make the most sense at night. Starting at 6pm or whatever time you designate, turn off your phone in order to disconnect from work. Don't pick your phone back up until the next morning. Let's face it, most people are gone for the day at most businesses at 6pm or in the evening that unless the world is on fire, no one should be reaching out to you for business matters that couldn't wait until the following day. If you have clients across several time zones or you have a global business, maybe you turn off your phone later in the evening like 8 or 9pm. Even those few hours before you go to bed will allow you to cut the cord and find some relaxation. Decompressing is something you need to do on a daily basis. If you don't, you will almost certainly find yourself burning both sides of the candle and eventually burning out completely.
Thanks to Matt Weik, Weik Fitness, LLC!
#2- Say no
The biggest cause of burnout is the inability say NO! We take on too much and over-burden ourselves so as not to upset others. But what if we said NO more often? If we said no to one thing, what other things could we say YES to? How about saying YES to yourself for a change? It follows that the best way to avoid burnout is there for to say NO and in particular say NO to NEGATIVITY. Negativity can come from anywhere, anyone or anything. It can be your friends, family, clients, systems, clutter …There are a number of strategies to deal with negativity: acceptance, reduction, deletion. Can you reduce how often you see negative people? Can you cut them out of your life/business altogether? If it’s something you REALLY have to put up with can you just accept it as it is and resolve to not let it drain your energy? And also learn to fill yourself up with positivity to counter-act the negative influences. Remember, it is said that we are the product of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So find your tribe and influence your vibe!
Thanks to Nicola Burt-Skinner, The Wellness Academy!
#3- Take Time to Unwind
Get Away! You need time away whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Find a place where you can get away and relax; a place where you can shed the stress of work life. For some people it could be a bustling city with concerts and live shows. Another person may prefer a cabin in the woods. It doesn't matter where as long as it allows you to relax. And the amount of time doesn't matter either; whether you can get away for 4 days or 4 hours. You need to unwind sometimes, so do it.
Thanks to Dr. Ty Belknap, Leadership for Introverts!
#4- Strike a work-life balance
The trick is balance. You can definitely have it all. Just not all at once. Life is all about choices and prioritization. If you want to have both a thriving family life and careers then you need to consciously decide that other categories, especially sleep, fitness, and friends may suffer. You can probably do three of the five categories well – work, sleep, family, fitness and friends – but you must decide which two to cut out. It sounds harsh but it gives you time to do the other 3 well. If you want to be an efficient and effective parent as well as co-worker/boss, then you’ll have to good at prioritizing and saying no.
Thanks to Alexander Lowry, Gordon College!
#5- Know yourself
It’s a lot of pressure to be a good leader and juggle the demands that come with being a business owner. The only way forward is to be aware of yourself and your mood changes, as well as the reasons behind the changes: whether they are things you can change or things you can’t. I’m always implementing tiny changes to try to make this mountain climb more manageable. Lately that includes getting outside – outdoors does wonders for my soul. I also started being more aware of when I can ask for help and giving myself the permission to ask for help. I had this idea that I didn’t want to put my problems onto other people, and after a long time of not asking for help, I forget how to do it. But the people around you – your staff, your family, your friends – want to be there for you. Don't forget to tap your support system, otherwise burn out is inevitable.
Thanks to Emily Lonigro, LimeRed!
#6- Get joy, focus and purpose
I think a valued and pivotal part of preventing burnout is taking a cold, long look at what you are doing today and who you want to be in your life and legacy. Many times, burnout occurs when those two things are so far apart that your joy goes out of your work. Getting joy, focus and purpose back in your work often times means having that honesty with yourself and adjusting your work or role to match who you want to be in your life.
Thanks to Rachel Sheerin
#7- Shortcircuit the cycle
I'm realistic: I know I can't turn off my phone at 5:30PM and I know I can't stop myself from checking my email (I use the basic mail client on iOS). It was a terrible cycle, and it led to an incredible amount of stress before bed when I saw negative feedback from a client, or an issue I knew I could resolve with an extra fifteen minutes of work. So I short-circuited the cycle: I took my work email off of my iPhone. Now, when I go to check email, it's just my personal affairs that show up. No client status updates, no feedback on designs, I'm isolated myself from that, and protect my off time from being infected by workplace needs and/or problems. It's the best thing I've done for myself and has helped me ensure that the time I need to refresh and prevent burn out can maintain its purpose and integrity
Thanks to Jonathan Jacobs, Digital Natives Group!
#8- Invest in self-care
If you are burning out, or cusping the edge of burnout, it's time to reinvest in self-care. This means hitting pause and unplugging from emails, smartphones, and tablets, especially in the evenings before bed. Try to go to bed earlier to get in more hours for sleep, exercise (schedule in time to do it if you have to!), and eating better by swapping out caffeine-fueled drinks for water, tea, and smoothies.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
#9- Several tips
Write a list of what motivates you at work. Whether it's extrinsic motivators like your salary and benefits, or intrinsic motivators like learning a new skill or helping others achieve a task, when you identify the why behind your motivation, you can help get back on track and draw inspiration. Slow down and step back. In order to thoughtfully problem solve you must first remove any emotional barriers. Stick to your values and consider all sides to exercise your mindfulness while decision-making. Make time for the most important meetings or discussions. With a packed schedule and back-to-back meetings, it can be easy to squeeze in and rush through important conversations between meetings. Instead of squeezing them in, make room for those key discussions by scheduling them without a hard stop or cushion them with an extra 15 minutes.
Thanks to Henry Albrecht, Limeade!
#10- Focus on what you love
I avoid burn out by focusing my work on the stuff I love, and outsourcing the rest. I love accounting, and I love working with my staff, but I hate looking for new talent. So I work with recruiters to find candidates and set up interviews. In the past, when I was handling that, I was finding myself very frazzled and busy doing stuff I hated. So outsourcing certain tasks works for me.
Thanks to Courtney Barbee, The Bookkeeper!
#11- Reach out to your support system
I find great value in my friends and family, they're an incredible support system. So to ensure I don't burn out, once a week I sit down and hand write cards to my friends and family. A birthday card for a friend, congrats to a relatives work achievement or a congrats sent for a baby's birth. Not only is snail mail very therapeutic for myself, but taking the time to reach out to my support system shows them that even through the 100 hour work weeks, that I still think about them and love them very much. It comes full circle because they are now more likely to understand if I need to reschedule, or if I am hard to reach at times. I can't tell you how often I hear from people that they are so thankful that I took time to send them something, it doesn't take time and the love felt on both sides of it keeps me going. It makes it all worth it!
Thanks to Bryn Butolph, Eat Clean Meal Prep!
#12- Have creative sessions
A great and effective way to avoid burnout when you feel it coming on, is to have a creative session with your colleges or yourself where you can brainstorm new, innovative ideas that could be a possibility for the business in the future. Sometimes a burnout is because you are beating the same thing in the head over and over again, there is no use for it anymore or you may be going about something the wrong way and have lost passion or vision for it. Try a different approach, you might be surprised what you come up with.
Thanks to Daniella Flores, iliketodabble.com!
#13- Healthy eating and creating a to-do list
One way to avoid burnout is to work from a daily To Do list. When you set out what you want to accomplish each and every day on an actual document and you track your progress, you'll find yourself more productive and can therefore call it quits when you're supposed to. Next, don't sacrifice your personal life in order to focus on your business. Sure, you can work 90 per week and possibly increase sales or profits, but at some point in time, you're going to break down. Commit to off days and breaks, and take them. And during your off time, eat a healthy diet and get yourself on an exercise regimen. You can have scheduled off time, but if you're eating fast foods all week and there's not physical activity, that will result in burnout as well. And finally, delegate. It can be easy to think that only you can complete projects and responsibilities as you want them done, but with a little training and support, your employees and team members can get some of your responsibilities completed for you so you can rest with peace of mind.
Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!
It was December 2016. I had accepted a ghostwriting contract of a book and was already two months into it. My deadline was three more months and I had made very little progress. On the other hand my semester exams were just round the corner. If you are familiar with the life of a law student, then you would know that we have to do enormous amounts of reading. Now, I had already experienced several burnouts from 2014. But some months back, I had read the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris and in that book I found that several icons, billionaires and famous personalities advocated meditation. And, therefore by that time, meditation had become like a daily ritual of mine. It helped boost my concentration by a huge margin. I could focus for hours at an end and even after working for more than 12 hours daily, I could prevent burning out. I also used to take certain reading breaks (10 mins break after every 1 hr of work) during this time because having work intervals is very important to prevent burning out. Working twelve hours straight can be pretty tiring. But, I successfully prevented a burnout during this period by using these simple but highly effective tactics.
Thanks to Adhip Ray, WinSavvy!
#15- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Working hard is important, if you don’t work hard you’ll never make it in this world. The first months of your business my bare no fruit, and if you push yourself too hard burning out isn’t only a possibility it’s an inevitability. That means when you’ve had a particularly hard week treating yourself to a night off or a good time, and day to day, it means getting at least six hours of sleep. What it mostly means though is treating your body with respect. Don’t eat junk, exercise regularly, and don’t abuse yourself. Junk food is like bad fuel it will make your body run badly. Regular exercise will help clear your mind and release your frustration in a healthy way. If you're too tired go to sleep if you aren't motivated, get in touch with your why, as in why are you working so hard.
Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!
#16- Three tips
Seek challenges. I’ve chosen a career with continual opportunity to mix things up and grow new skills. I worked as a massage therapist, then added yoga teacher to my repertoire. Next I started teaching at a massage school. Then I became a mentor and coach. Each skill built on the last meaning I didn’t have to start over, but also never get bored. Third, remember what’s important. When I work with coaching clients we start by looking at their values. Then you plan your days and ultimately your life around those values. When the most important things make your “to-do list” on a regular basis you feel more aligned and filled up meaning less burnout.
Thanks to Sharon Roemmel, Practically Enlightened You!
Every Friday afternoon, I make a list of all my client's and my business and what needs to be done the following week. It's all in priority order with due dates listed on the master sheet. Once that list is complete, I shut down for the weekend and do not work again until Monday (barring a crisis). I check my list at the end of each workday and mark off what's done and note anything new that needs to be added to the queue. This allows me a work/life balance and a chance to recharge on the weekend. When we work 24/7 we burn out. Allow yourself the chance to turn your brain off for an evening or weekend and you'll be more productive when you return.
Thanks to Rachel Lindteigen, Etched Marketing!
#18- Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast
Slow down to go faster. Burnout is a constant risk in the military particularly during deployment, when accuracy, timeliness, and decisiveness can mean the difference between life and death for your teammates. The number one tip I've learned from top performing teammates is that, Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Often times, when someone is stressed out, they feel immense pressure to take action and lots of action but not all activity is productive, and you can easily make the situation worse through ineffectiveness and lack of vision. By making a deliberate effort to set the pace, a leader drives the situation, does the job correctly the first time, and instills confidence in those around him/her. In the corporate world, this means making strategic decisions about what NOT to do, taking the time to clearly articulate expectations (and making sure they're understood), and delegating or sharing responsibilities.
Thanks to Mandy Snell, Connected Dots LLC!