As some of you may already know, starting up and building on your own business takes time, resources and energy. While putting in the effort you need to, it is also important that you hold it together. Burnout is the term used to describe a point that people reach, usually in professional capacities. Research published by the National Institute of Health has likened the symptoms of this to those experienced by people suffering from depression.
Another report stated that a survey conducted found that 23% of those interviewed mentioned working at places that had burnout prevention measures in place for employees. This still leaves a staggering 77% of workplaces unaccounted for. Further, this still leaves the question of those starting their own businesses.
So how does one avoid burning out while building a business?
Avoiding Burnout: What, Why and How?
If you’re wondering why it is important to avoid burnout or try to, allow us to elaborate. The first point to take note of is that starting and building a business is a taxing process. Even if you love what you are doing, you will need to put in a fair bit of hard work. Where working hard is great and necessary, it is important not to work yourself to the point of exhaustion or breakdown.
What’s the Big Deal if I Burnout?
Burning out does not mean you get tired for a day or two and then hop back on your horse. It can be seriously detrimental, not just to your business but to you personally. An article in the Forbes magazine states that burnout symptoms include irritability, exhaustion and higher stress levels among other things. Another research study published by the National Institute of Health goes as far as stating that burnout can also result in suicidal ideation. Burnout makes it hard to carry on, let alone work and run a business.
In any case, burnout is not something small that should be ignored!
So What Do I Do About It?
When it comes to dealing with burnout, there are a few things you can do; things that prevent burnout, keep you grounded and emotionally fit to do what you need to. Here are some of them!
Be Kind to Yourself
Pay attention to the words used here. We’re not saying you should take it easy. That would probably be bad advice to give someone building their own business. What we are saying however is that you should not work yourself to the bone.
Where it is important to put in the work you need to, see to it that your targets are met and that your agenda is being followed in a timely manner, a little time off always helps. If you’ve had a hard week working, give yourself the weekend off. If you’re already putting in eight to ten hours of work a day on most days, no need to stretch it to twelve. If you’re losing sleep and pulling too many all-nighters, cut back on the same.
Make sure that you eat well, that you take breaks and that you give your mind the change to recover between grueling hours of hard work. Breaks and spacing things out help you work better when you’re working because you’re sharper and rested. Don’t be needlessly hard on yourself. Be kind and take a breather or two when you need it. Your business is nothing without you!
Understand the Symptoms and Know When to Stop
You need to understand your personal burnout red flags. This could be feeling angry or on edge. It could be a loss of sleep or appetite. It could be a sudden increase in the mistakes you’re making when it comes to calculations. Whatever the case, be mindful of these signs so you know when to call it quits.
There are times when some of us get into the work zone and pull of hours at a go without rest. If your business is at a stage where those long hours are unavoidable, that’s that. At the same time, it helps to place boundaries on how long you need to work. Boundaries are healthy and ensure that things remain professional while giving you the much needed room to recuperate.
Avoid things like bringing your work home and sitting at it for ages. If you have clients and other people working with you, see if you can but down boundaries relating to when you will be available for work. Don’t pick up work calls at the dinner table.
If you don’t want to burnout, understand how it feels when you’re getting there and know when to pull back, stop or take a break.
Divert Your Attention
If you’ve been working devotedly for say six months on building or expanding your business, you may find the process becomes overwhelming. It may become hard to stop thinking about work. In extreme cases, being away from work might actually make you anxious (even though the same might be causing the anxiety to begin with).
In order to maintain a healthy balance, don’t just make life about your work, do take up other activites as well.
Teach yourself to paint. Join a gym or an exercise group. Socialize. Spend quality time with your family. You can even take up meditation or yoga (both can be brilliant). Do anything that gives you joy and pleasure that does not involve work.
This way, you remain emotionally balanced and that overburdened mind gets the room to recuperate!
Don’t Be a One-Person Show
Some of us may feel that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. Though this may sometimes apply, it isn’t always true when it comes to building a business. Where due diligence is needed, it helps to get support where required.
There are certain functions such as your marketing efforts and managing business fronts that you can receive help and support for. Don’t take on everything yourself. Select a few individuals whose skills and knowledge you can trust and use the backing you have available.
In doing so, you get to focus your efforts towards areas you can contribute while those you’re working with do their bit to keep things running. Two heads are always better that one!
Following the steps above should help you prevent burnout and ensure that you put your best foot forward when building your business. You have others out there who went through the grind and made it out on top. One such individual is our resident speaker Makarand Utpat. Utpat provides expert business advice, particular in the area of digital marketing.
Drawing on years of success and experience with different business endeavors, he offers expert consultancy to those who require it. Feel free to connect with him if you’re looking to make things a little simpler for yourself without compromising your new business.
Be kind to yourself. Know when to stop. Place professional boundaries. Work with the right people. Do all that and we guarantee you’ll build the business you want without burning out!