Burnout is a real threat, just ask anyone who has suffered in the past. It can rob an entrepreneur of their drive and cause them to make decisions detrimental to the future of their business. What was once your dream becomes just another thing you have to deal with. Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage and even undo burnout:
Set and Follow Strict Work Hours
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is you call the shots. You decide when you work and you decide when you rest. You also decide what you work on, and you’ll probably work on your passions. The problem is when you’re working on something you love, you may never stop. Days may pass before you get a full night’s sleep. On paper, it seems like you’ll be extremely productive. In practice, you’ll probably burnout before you get your first customer.
Set and follow strict work hours. A schedule gives you a deadline for each task, which forces you to compress your time and be more efficient. If you fail to meet your schedule, make a note of it and fit into your next workday. When the schedule says it’s time to clock out, clock out. This’ll keep you from running yourself into the ground.
Schedule Time for Fun
All work and no play makes for a burned-out entrepreneur. If all you do is work and sleep, you’re dooming yourself to burnout. There is room in your life for fun things, like hobbies. Sure, that means less time on your business, but you’re trading the now for the future. In exchange for time spent on you, you keep burnout at bay and as a result can keep working on your business efficiently.
Making room in your schedule for your interests relieves stress. If your hobbies involve going to the gym or sports, you’re also stretching muscles underused from hours of sitting at meetings. This also gives your mind time to rest, clearing it for new ideas.
If you don’t have any interests, it’s time to go out and get a few. Photography, exercise, baking – all these and more are just waiting for you. You could even make that your fun activity. Spend time each day looking for something fun to do regularly. You may not always have a great experience, but each one will expand your horizons.
You’ll be alone a lot as an entrepreneur. Not literally, of course. Much of your time will be spent in meetings or talking to people. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you are with others. On one level, people you interact with as a business owner are boxes in a to-do list. Speaking to them is just another thing you have to do and is not real socialization. Spend enough time doing that and you’ll find your energy flagging. You’ll feel isolated and abandoned, and that’s not a good place to be as an entrepreneur.
Spend time with friends and family whenever you can. If there’s room in your schedule and you don’t know what to put in it, schedule a date with your significant other. Call up your siblings and eat out. Do things with other people regularly and you’ll keep your emotional health in order.
Continually Seek Out New Opportunities for Passive Income
Not everyone likes business owners. Some people think they earn too much for what they do. The funny thing is, it’s less about what they’re currently doing and more about the value they get for their effort. Instead of hitting the streets and selling to each person individually, they create products that people will want over and over again. They maximize the effects of their effort.
There’s this weird notion that you should be rewarded according to your effort. What you should understand as an entrepreneur is that this notion is totally inaccurate. You get rich not by saving money – though it certainly helps – but by getting the most out of your time. Find ways to make money passively and you’ll keep the stress away.
Sometimes, even the effort of having fun is too much. Vacations, for example, take a lot of planning. The planning stage can be incredibly stressful and can mitigate any burnout preventing effects. It’s a catch-22 for entrepreneurs – if they don’t go on vacation they’ll burnout and if they do go, they’ll get stressed out.
The solution is to do nothing. Find a hammock or bed, nest in it by putting food and water nearby, and do nothing. Watch something brainless or nap. Let your mind wander. Focus on nothing.
Stress is an entrepreneur’s constant companion, but burnout doesn’t have to be inevitable. Like many things, it’s just something you must take into account when you plan your business. Going all in every single day just isn’t sustainable.