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Burnout affects professionals in every industry, but it can be particularly problematic being an entrepreneur because when it’s their own business, it can be on their mind all day, every day. It is more than just a sense of being tired. It is the state of being overwhelmed emotionally, mentally and physically, to the point that you need a break in order to keep functioning.
Burnout is easy to find but difficult to avoid for entrepreneurs. There are, however, 6 things that entrepreneurs can do to minimize burnout:
1. Set a ‘Normal’ Schedule
One of the worst things an entrepreneur can do is be available all the time. Sometimes, when we start a new business, we want to be available all the time to make sure that things are being done correctly. While this is a noble idea, it is not practical at all.
We need to be able to stop, rest and spend time with friends and family from time to time. You can be “on-call” for emergencies only but allow your employees to handle the running of day-today tasks.
Be sure that you train them to understand what to do in typical situations and provide guidance on how you make difficult decisions. If you own a retail business, consider being there some days for opening schedules and on other days closing schedules. Don’t forget to schedule days off too.
Especially try to avoid the “clopen” if you own a retail business that is open late and opens early by staying late and then being in very early the following morning. Encourage your employees to avoid doing this as often as possible, as well. Of course, sometimes this may be necessary, but don’t make a habit of it.
2. Hire Good People
This one sounds like a no brainer, but sometimes people do not often realize how important it really is. If you hire people who can do their jobs effectively, you can focus on the important things and be much less stressed. Remember as well that good doesn’t mean average, they need to be really good for you to relax.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
This is different from your schedule and you must plan what to do with your schedule. Your schedule is the hours you work and the plan is what to do with those hours. For example, you could have Meeting Monday, Business Building Tuesday, Work from Home Wednesday, Training Thursdays and Free Fridays. These may be the extent of your planned agenda, but you should also have a plan for each day. If you know Mondays are your days to plan meetings, don’t schedule one while you are training an employee on Thursday.
You could also plan blocks of time. For instance, 8-10 Meetings, 10-2 Training and Lunch, 2-5 Business building phone calls, 5-6 Free Hour. Nothing has to be uniform either. You could schedule in 10-minute blocks or 2-hour ones. You might even schedule some of each.
Sometimes we get behind on work. Things go wrong at home, work, or in our personal lives that command our attention. Without a time to work on catching up, we can begin to feel perpetually behind. Give yourself a day here and there to do nothing but catch up. Do not schedule anything on these days.
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” – Charles Richards
Sleep is good. Schedule one day a week to start later and sleep in if you can. If you have children to get ready for their day, consider leaving early one day and going to bed earlier or plan a midday nap.
Sleep is important and can increase productivity as well. The more tired our brains are, the slower we are and the more mistakes we make. Get some rest! Even if it is not sleep, relax. You need to be able to rest.
6. Let Go
Mistakes will happen, things will go wrong and ideas will fail. These are just simple truths of life. Let them go. If your favorite worker quits, do not beat yourself up. You can certainly ask them if there was something more you could have done, but try not to let it get you down.
On the other hand, if they quit because they felt underappreciated and overworked, consider what you might do differently with the next employee. Keep in mind, some people will leave and there is no changing that. Do not let everything be the end of the world. Make peace with the way things are and change what you can. Let everything else go.
Burnout is easier to avoid than you realize but you may need to work at it a little. It’s very easy to recommend taking breaks, sticking to a schedule and letting things go but putting the advice into action can be difficult.
You owe it to yourself and your business to learn to avoid the triggers of burnout. Own your time, mistakes and plans. Could you still wind up feeling burnt out? Sure, but these steps will minimize the risk of it happening.