Do you dread getting up in the morning to start your day? Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or detached from your professional and personal life are common signs of burnout. But you’re not alone; just about everyone has experienced burnout at one point, and it can be particularly prevalent in entrepreneurs and business owners. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to overcome it, and to avoid it in the future.
Follow these tips and get back that energy you’ve been missing.
Rediscover Your Passion
It’s often easy to lose track of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Maybe you started a business with the intention of helping your community, or with a less lofty goal like retiring early and travelling the world. Or maybe you simply enjoy being your own boss. Whatever the case, you may lose sight of that passion when you’re swamped with tedious or draining tasks. In those situations, it’s important to re-evaluate your choices. Think about the reason you pursued entrepreneurship and use that as motivation. If you’re having trouble rediscovering your purpose, perhaps consider a career change or a slight shift to the focus of your business. Life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy.
Don’t Bring Your Work Home
One of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is the ability to set your own hours, but that can also be a disadvantage. While it might be liberating to work when you want, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between your work and your home life. If you’re not careful, work documents will start piling up at home and you’re responding to emails during dinner. Not having time for yourself is a guaranteed way to burn out fast. Do yourself a favour and leave your work at work. If you work from home, create a dedicated home-office space or a workstation where you can get your business done during a set period of work hours. And remember to leave time for things outside of work: put your phone on silent (or turn it off completely) and take some time to do something you really enjoy. Focusing on things not related to your job for a while, like spending time with family or friends or taking time to enjoy a hobby, will allow you to refresh and recharge, which is better for your overall productivity.
Burnout can take a physical toll on your body, and a good way to combat it is with a healthy lifestyle. Exercise causes your body to naturally release “feel-good” endorphins into your system. Take some time to take a walk around your neighbourhood or use that gym membership you promised yourself you’d take advantage of back when you signed up or join a class if you’re looking for a more social atmosphere. Follow through in the kitchen by preparing healthy meals to keep you energized throughout the day; the last thing you want to do is undo all that hard work by eating junk food. It may be easier and taste good at the time, but it can leave you feeling sluggish when you need to be at your best. Your body and mind will be better able to handle the effects of stress if you increase your physical and mental stamina.
It’s okay to say no. Although it may seem like a sign of defeat to admit you’re unable to add another thing to your plate, refusing to take on more projects is often the more intelligent move. Don’t overburden yourself. Give yourself time to accomplish your current tasks with the care and attention they require. It’s better to do quality work on one or two projects than to do a poor or sloppy job on several because you’re focused on quantity over quality. Delegate tasks where appropriate. Take advantage of your resources and get support where you can find it. Oversee the projects as they’re being done without taking them over completely or micromanaging. You may have a hard time relinquishing control of certain tasks but doing so is what leadership is all about. You’ll often find that you’re not the only person who can get the job done. Learn to let go.
Finishing a big project can feel great. And while seeing the outcome can be great motivation, it’s important to go beyond just letting yourself feel good and genuinely take the time to celebrate. You finished your marathon, now it’s time to take a breather. Take a break between projects to refuel and begin your next task with a clean slate. Whether it’s dinner with your team, a weekend getaway with the family, or a longer vacation abroad, take time to recognize your achievements and give yourself some credit – and some time to recover. Allow yourself to be a little selfish.
Don’t let burnout be the end of all your hard work. Know what signs to look for and practice a little self-care as needed. It’s worth it in the long run, both for yourself and your business.
Tasnia Nasar | Contributing Writer