A Harvard Business Review survey of 326 entrepreneurs revealed that 25% reported feeling moderately burned out. Worse, 3% stated that they were “strongly burned out.”
Given the time and energy required to make it as a successful entrepreneur, these findings are not surprising. However, just because burnout is common among this group doesn’t mean it has to be inevitable. With the right approach, entrepreneurship can be an exciting, inspirational journey for you and those around you.
Here are a few ways to avoid burnout:
1. Think carefully before committing to a deal or business opportunity: You may be tempted to follow up on any and all leads, but you need to be selective. Knowing when to say “No thanks” is a crucial skill for an entrepreneur. You only have a limited number of hours in a week. Consider the long-term costs and benefits of each opportunity.
2. Find a time management system that works for you, and stick to it: Thousands of articles and books have been written on time management. There is no perfect system that works for everyone; it’s a case of trying them for yourself. When you’ve found something that works for you, stick to it. Don’t waste time implementing a new approach for the sake of it.
3. Get some support: Humans are social creatures, and we benefit from connecting with others in similar situations. Joining an entrepreneur network will lower your risk of burnout by introducing you to people who lend psychological support.
These groups also enable you to swap practical tips and strategies that enhance both your business practices and well being. You may also be able to share your experiences with others and inspire those just starting out.
4. Schedule time off and honor it just as you would all your other commitments: Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you’ll find time for relaxation “later.” Before you know it, the days and weeks will have passed. Rest and time away from work is essential in preventing burnout.
Treat personal time as sacred. It’s just as important as any business activity. Get into healthy habits that nurture your body and mind. For instance, you could get a regular head massage or other complementary treatment. Take regular exercise, and get involved in a hobby that has nothing to do with your business.
5. Document your journey: Do you enjoy reading success stories? If so, why not share your own via a blog, articles, or on social media? You don’t have to share too much personal information, but relaying the ups and downs of entrepreneurship can inspire others.
6. Stay grateful: During times of stress, take a moment to think about how far you’ve come and everything that makes you feel grateful.For instance, the very fact that you have the opportunity to follow your dreams is amazing in itself.
Gratitude also helps you avoid burnout because it lets you keep problems in perspective. Research shows that it improves self-esteem and physical health. This down-to-earth approach will earn you a reputation as a role model.
7. Volunteer and give back to the community: As you become more successful, make sure you lend a hand to others in need. You could spend a few hours working for a local charity every month, or offer free mentorship to others. Not only will giving back boost your self-esteem, but it will encourage others to do the same.
In summary, life as a successful entrepreneur requires balance. It’s OK to work unreasonable hours from time to time, but it shouldn’t become the norm. Taking a few steps back to care for yourself isn’t self-indulgent; it’s actually pivotal to growing your business. If you feel stressed all the time, what changes could you make today?
Clara Masters is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. At Massageaholic.com she’s on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.