The life of an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. No matter what kind of business you may run, keeping up with life’s never-ending to-do list can be a challenge, to say the least. Between managing client expectations, taking care of your health, balancing your finances, and maintaining your own brand presence, it can truly feel like there is not enough time in the day which can lead to us to pushing ourselves to the absolute limits — we’ve all been there.
This is what we call burnout. By definition, burnout can be described as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations.” A lot of people wonder what makes burnout different from exhaustion, and the answer is this: exhaustion is a natural part of life, while burnout comes when you are overexerting yourself to meet the demands of your career.
Some of the other causes of burnout are as follows:
- Having unclear goals or job expectations
- Working in a dysfunctional team or organization
- Experiencing an excessive workload
- Having little or no support from leadership
- Having higher than normal expectations of yourself or others
The Signs of Burnout
Burnout is real, trust me! I’ve been there. The worst part about it is that you don’t always see it coming. You may be working on the weekends to get more done, staying 2 hours late every day, and constantly thinking about work until you fall asleep. While you’re doing all of this, you’re trying to ignore or convince yourself that it’s just a season, this means you are more committed or because you feel like you have to! Before you know it, your 150% dedication to your work can slowly turn into resentment, which means burnout is imminent. Some things to look out for include:
- Having a negative attitude towards your work
- Having low energy
- Making excuses to be absent from work
- Having feelings of emptiness
- Convincing yourself your work doesn’t matter
- Blaming others for your mistakes
- Having less patience
- Loathing your business, clients or work
- Feeling disconnected
The Consequences of Burnout
Burnout is a fragile spot to be in, because it can lead to irrational thoughts about your career that might make you want to leave it forever. Your productivity may drop, your business may become negatively affected, you may feel uncreative and the list goes on. If it happens too many times, burning out (aka causing yourself to be too stressed out on a regular basis) can even create a distinct change in your brain anatomy and how it functions.
4 Ways To Avoid Burnout
Now that we’ve talked about what burnout is, how to spot it, and what the consequences are, let’s talk about how we can avoid getting into this sticky situation as entrepreneurs.
Create a manageable and flexible schedule!
The best way to avoid feeling spun out and inevitably burnt out is by creating a manageable and flexible schedule for yourself on a regular basis. It can include things like time blocking where you only take calls on Mondays, photograph clients on Tuesdays and such. This will allow you to see how your schedule is coming together BEFORE it gets too busy. You can keep your work and personal boundaries intact and ensure you don’t schedule in too much of any one thing
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself
While we know that in order to reach our goals, we have to do the work that’s required to get there, oftentimes the strongest pressures in our career come from ourselves. Be patient with yourself and trust that every day will get you to your next goal in due time. Even more, give yourself more time than you think you’ll need for a task. We often underestimate these things!
You can’t do it all! If you’re drowning in work, find a contractor or even ask a close friend for support. It’s okay to not be a superhero and do everything yourself.
Make your health a top priority
Eat well, exercise often, and get lots of sleep. Being run down physically and burnt out mentally are a bad combo, so put your health at the top of your to-do list and the rest will follow. Without you, your business wouldn’t be able to function so start a morning routine, commit to a work schedule, or an earlier bedtime to ensure you can show up feeling well taken care of.
Believe me, when I say, I’ve experienced burnout and it is not pretty. Like ugly crying, the world is ending, I don’t want to see anyone, “why am I business owner?” pretty. These tips truly helped me to stay level when it came to balancing my busy career and my personal needs, so I hope that they can help you to do the same!