About 13 percent of Americans have experienced the joys and challenges that come with launching a business. The benefits of being your own boss, navigating a flexible schedule, and maximizing your time are highly attractive to many people who want to be entrepreneurs.
Over time, however, some may experience what we know as burnout. That’s a word used to describe feelings of being overwhelmed, physical or mental exhaustion, stress, and lack of motivation among entrepreneurs who work too hard on something without proper coping tactics.
This is common for entrepreneurs: more than half experience some kind of burnout at some point. But feeling overwhelmed doesn’t mean you have to give up your business.
More often, it requires you to make slight adjustments so you can better handle the stresses and challenges of running a startup. Here are some ideas to get you through the tough times.
- Take Care of Yourself
When was the last time you ate a healthy meal at the table with your family or friends? When was the last time you did something you loved without stressing about neglecting work? Are you exercising and showering daily?
Many entrepreneurs leave the daily and weekly essentials of caring for their physical and mental health by the wayside because they’re focused on the business. Before long, the body may cave under the pressure.So here’s a simple fix: Take care of yourself again. Develop habits of eating healthy and exercising regularly. Take time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour or two, so you don’t mentally flame out.
- Get More Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, which can be a challenge when you have few employees and time is money. Instead of regarding a good night’s rest as wasted time that you could be spending on your business, think of it as an investment.
According to research from mattress retailer Amerisleep, employees who sleep well are almost five times more likely to be motivated at work, almost two times more likely to find job satisfaction, and one-and-a-half times more likely to derive satisfaction from job performance.
These three KPIs are vital to a successful startup, so sleeping well should be a priority.
- Give Yourself Vacation Days
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to forgo a paycheck for several months or even a year. The same reasoning behind this strategy also inspires new business owners to limit their vacation days.
But wasn’t part of the reason you wanted to start your own business to set your own hours and take time off when you chose? Numerous studies have shown the positive health effects of taking a vacation, including a reduction of stress, prevention of serious illnesses like heart disease, better rest, increased productivity, and, of course, a reduced chance of burnout.
Leaving for a stretch of time on a vacation might seem counterintuitive to your mission, but surely you can take a few days off here and there to maintain your mental health.
- Unplug Occasionally
Smartphones are an incredible invention that make running a company so much easier than it used to be. An unhealthy attachment to your device could be the reason you’re struggling with burnout, though.
Communication is readily attainable with a few taps on a screen, and it’s hard to tune out the stresses of your operation because of that omnipresence. You shouldn’t disconnect your phone, obviously, but try to spend a little time each day without it.
Use that time to think creatively, problem-solve, or enjoy quality time with family. You might also limit notifications on your phone. Living in the moment and forgetting about work occasionally can help you achieve balance, but if your phone is constantly buzzing with notifications from work, you’ll have a hard time letting go.
- Find Ways to Delegate
An easy way to develop burnout is having to do tasks repeatedly that you don’t enjoy. If you can hand these unpleasant assignments to someone who’s under less stress, that could save you.
Use your employees according to their strengths. You might also hire someone to manage the mundane tasks. Trust those who work for you to do a good job or to learn how to do what you’re currently handling. This can take pressure off you while building a valuable team.
Even if you’re the sole employee of your business, there are always ways to delegate. Dozens of automation tools take the monotony out of office work for a startup owner.
You might also outsource some of your tasks to a freelancer or contractor. If you hate doing the marketing, for example, contract with a reputable marketing company to reduce your obligations. It’s often cheaper than hiring a full-time employee and can result in higher-quality work.
Don’t get stuck in a rut when you’ve finally launched a business you love, and that will bring you the freedom you crave. Use the tips above to help you avoid burnout, and enjoy your new company to the fullest!