Simple and Effective Tips on How to Avoid BurnoutTips of the Trade — By Katelyn Oster on April 11, 2014 at 8:00 am
As an entrepreneur, work-life balance can be a difficult and elusive beast. ‘Busy culture’ is a sign of the increasing complexity of both modern technological systems and social expectations.
Entrepreneurs particularly feel the strain of these demanding expectations, often pulled in many directions, sometimes spreading themselves too thin.
The added stress of filling all of these roles with a consistent level of drive, enthusiasm and effort can lead to periods of depletion and burnout. Here are a few simple and effective tips to keep your tank far from empty while driving business all day long.
1. Admit your capabilities. Be honest with yourself. Practice radical honesty about your productivity. Will you really be able to perform your best while working 14-hour days seven days a week? Sure, that might sound productive, but despite all of your hard work, is it smart work? Consider the opportunity cost of this type of behavior. For instance, investor meetings and sales calls are vital to the success of your business. Would you rather be prepared and well-rested for these large meetings or running on a few hours of low-quality sleep and Red Bull? For some people, this simply isn’t an option, but if it is, don’t run yourself ragged with things that you can’t control.
2. Be aware of the present moment. It is so easy to get swept away in thought. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly calculating risks, rewards, strategies and potential. Once in a while, take a step back to fully immerse yourself in your current experience. The here and the now. Sometimes it is easier to be knee-deep in working hard to achieve goals than it is to pause and enjoy the journey to the pinnacles of success. Consider it a walking meditation. Walk through the halls of your office. Take time to notice the simple things, like the color of your carpet or the scent of fresh-brewed coffee sitting in the lounge. This is your world. Enjoy it!
3. Take time to detox. Contrary to popular belief, every email does not elicit an instantaneous response. Set boundaries when it comes to social media and messaging. Set a time where you can put your phone in another room for an hour or so and enjoy a new book or (gasp) a ten minute power nap. Reset and rejuvenate—you’ll feel great.
4. Recognize successes. When you feel like you’re in a rut, write a small list of seemingly “insignificant” accomplishments you’ve achieved since the company’s inception. Did you have a profitable month? Crack a few small accounts along the way? Make enough money to buy some upgraded office furniture? Remember your victories. Reflect on how far you’ve come.
Stop second-guessing. You are doing everything in your power to succeed. Sure, it can be productive to contemplate your performance objectively, but injecting unnecessary thoughts and emotions into past situations will not advance the company (or your career) any further. Did you make the right decision picking that distributor? Is this vendor going to be able to meet your needs? Keep an objective, fact-based perspective. No fear-based thinking around here! Trust in your decisions—if you don’t, no one will. You’re steering the ship. Trust in your abilities as the captain.
Burnout is real. Burnout can negatively impact your business in ways that may be irreparable if you are in the crucial, formative stages of your business. In order to stay consistent and forward-moving, make sure you consider these tips so that you are not only taking care of yourself, but also taking care of business!
Katelyn Oster is a writer and entrepreneur from Columbus and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She has startup experience in manufacturing, distribution, management and operations. She loves speaking with business owners and discussing the nature of the entrepreneurial spirit. In her free time, she loves writing poetry and is currently working on a science-fiction novel from various Columbus coffee shops near you.
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