Burnout is not a medal of honor.
Let me guess – it’s the weekend (or a holiday) and while the rest of society is sleeping in or planning something fun for the day, you are looking over your “to-do” list…again.
The worst part is once upon a time this was sheer bliss for you. The idea of another launch, a new product, a brand new funnel – what a rush!
Now, the passion has all but vanished and that to-do list feels more like a nagging list of chores.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Your personal and business life start to take on new forms.
Obligation, requirement, necessity – words that feel more like shackles than inspiration.
Your creativity begins to falter.
Your patience beings to dwindle.
You feel lost.
You are not alone.
We all face this scenario at one point or another. It’s inevitable. You can’t burn a candle at both ends and not expect to eventually reach the middle.
Say it with me “Being an entrepreneur is not easy”.
You have to handle storms on all fronts – business, home, relationships, friendships, parenting, work (if you are trying to run a business while working full time).
Mental breakdowns, stress, mood swings, fatigue – these are not a matter of “if”, they are a matter of “when”.
But here’s the deal, burnout is no laughing matter and can not be shrugged off or swept under the rug. It is like a fault line under your business, and once triggered, will open wide and swallow your business whole.
So what can you do?
Be proactive and learn how to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur.
Divide Up Responsibilities
So control freak – yeah I said it, you don’t have to do it all yourself.
I know…I know – “No one can do this the way I can.”
Trust me, I get it. I will fully admit I am a hypocrite here; however, I have learned over time what brings me joy and what makes me want to pull my hair out.
Listen, we all have our reasons for wanting to do all the work ourselves – budget, turn-around time, overall preference, or just the sheer fear of trusting someone else to do it.
The problem is by doing it all, you are not better off. You are simply piling up tasks that can easily be delegated to others.
I challenge you to make two lists – what you LOVE to do and what you are WILLING to do.
Now take that second list and split it into two lists. What you are willing to do and if you found the right person, what you would allow someone else to do (conditionally of course).
Even if there is only ONE thing on that last list, it is a start.
Do it once and let me now how relaxing it felt to free your focus for more essential matters.
Set realistic targets
If you don’t know any other acronym is business, learn S.M.A.R.T.
A SMART analysis helps keep things in perspective for entrepreneurs.
We are all guilty of setting our sights on reaching the highest peaks but only having enough time, money, and resources to get us 10 feet off the ground.
We try as hard as we can to stretch what we have, to make it work, to find a way but we are only burning ourselves out trying to attain the unattainable.
Set S.M.A.R.T goals and celebrate as you go along. It will make the journey up the mountain side that much sweeter.
Example of a SMART Analysis for a product launch that I gave to a client: In order to determine if 10 to 25 is reasonable, I would have to know what the settings were for last year – how long did the launch run, how may opt-ins did you have to your list, how much engagement did you have, what marketing techniques did you use, and finally, how many sales did you make. If you made 5-10 sales last year with the same approach, then yes I do believe 10 is attainable – same for 25 if you had between 20-25 signs up last year using the same approach. It is always best to average out your sales if you have done this for several years to see how much you normally grow with each launch. If last year was your first attempt, I would take what you had an multiply it by 5% without marketing ad help and 10% with marketing ad help. So if you had 20 sales last year, you could potentially have 20-22 sales this year but again – that is using the same launch method.
Livin’ Up Your Environment
Depending on where you work, you stare at the same surroundings every day and sit at the same desk/table plugging away.
Isn’t it dull?
A bit redundant?
Why not rearrange the workspace for a change. Bring in some plants. Add some photos. I even grabbed a Day to Day Dilbert calendar for my desk just for a quick laugh each day.
Try adding some motivational quotes or clip out some of your favorite comics.
Alternate where you work each day, switching from indoors to outdoors (weather permitting).
Introduce your work space to varieties and colors that illuminate fun and energy.
You don’t need to work for corporate to have theme days! Have a favorite color day, a silly hat day, a casual clothes day (if you prefer to dress up every day), or a themed food day (paging GrubHub…paging UberEat).
Bring in anything that will take away the monotony of your usual workplace.
More is not better, more is not best, more is not the only key to success!
Many entrepreneurs think that they have to work more in order to thrive. If they stop, the business will fail.
As a recovering workaholic, you can keep telling yourself that lie but your body will take a break with or without your permission.
I advise you to be onboard.
Take an occasional short breaks.
Work like a human, not like a machine.
Refresh yourself and recharge your batteries.
Give yourself some time to breathe.
Take a lunch break and watch your favorite show. Take a walk around the block. Send a quick text to a friend. Anything that is not work related (no returning emails, returning phone calls, or taking a quick peek at your social media!)
This will not only help you avoid burnout, but will also help boost your creativity (which enhances productivity).
Take Time For Yourself
It is ok to walk away for a day or two.
Sure, you love your business. If not, you wouldn’t be working this hard; but, think about the long term. You need to retain the same energy, passion, drive, and motivation for years to come.
“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.” Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching
Allocate some quality time for yourself.
Find your balance.
Do some exercises.
Meditate and pump yourself with positivity.
Plan time away from your desk, outside of your office. Create some distance and free your mind for awhile.
Your mind, body, soul, and overall health will thank you.
Embrace Your Reality
Sometimes reality is the hardest thing to accept: As Entrepreneurs, we can go too far.
We become consumed with survival. Nothing else matters, no one else matters.
If we can just do this…it will all be worth it.
We cross a dangerous line.
We begin to sacrifice our health, our mental state, our financial stability, our relationships for our goals.
It isn’t worth it.
There is a way to find balanced, to take care of yourself and still have a successful, thriving business.
“Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends” says Elon Musk.
Listen, the effort you are putting in to create a successful business is admirable; however, the price of your health isn’t worth paying.
Give these simply tools a try and see if it helps you side step the slippery slope to burnout.
Embrace your unstoppable inner energy; but, remember to take breaks, keep your balance, and accept the reality.