When you started your business, you were passionate about it. You were inspired and excited about the idea of doing what you’re good at and being your own boss.
Your business was (and probably still is) your baby. You love your baby, but when your baby is your work, you tend to nurture it too much. Then, you find it hard to turn your brain off from work, and you don’t give yourself breaks.
When this happens, your tasks start draining your energy rather than igniting your passion, and that is not what you signed up for as an entrepreneur!
You’ve succumbed to business owner burnout, and you are certainly not alone. But unless you take steps to overcome it, you can’t be what your business (or your loved ones) need you to be, not to mention you’re probably not having any fun…
Why Does Business Owner Burnout Happen?
Business owner burnout is such a common thing because it is so easy to fall into. It happens for many reasons, but here are the top 3:
- Struggling with Work-Life Balance – Business owners often have a hard time separating home life from work life, and continue to put business first, which results in not having much of a home life.
- Suffering from Lack of Accomplishment or Success in Business – Business owners frequently work too hard to reach a standard of success, and experience financial stress when their business is struggling.
- Trying to Control (and Do) Too Much – Business owners tend to take on an unrealistic amount of work that could instead be delegated.
What Are the Signs of Business Owner Burnout?
It’s important to recognize the signs of business owner burnout so that you can nip it in the bud before it gets too far along. Here’s what to look for:
- Having low energy both physically and emotionally; feeling worn out
- Having low enthusiasm; having a loss of passion, purpose, and vision; feeling uninspired
- Having lack of confidence
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling chronically stressed, anxious, or depressed
- Feeling irritable, always frustrated, and having negative reactions no matter what happens
When you experience these symptoms, it messes with your whole life. It makes you less effective when you are doing your work, dulls your happiness, and turns your passion into your prison. Ultimately, it makes you feel exhausted and unhealthy.
To put it bluntly, it sucks!
But it’s not without hope. Let’s look at some ways to avoid business owner burnout or pull yourself out of it if you are experiencing it.
7 Ways to Avoid or Overcome Business Owner Burnout
1) Strike a Balance Once & for All
According to a Harvard Business Review study, entrepreneurs who were termed “harmoniously passionate” about their businesses had a significantly smaller chance of suffering from burnout. These people were able to maintain a balance between their businesses and other activities in their lives without experiencing “conflict, guilt, or negative effects when not engaging in work.”
On the other hand, those they termed “obsessively passionate” about their businesses felt “emotionally dependent on their work, had difficulty imagining their lives without their work, and felt their mood depended on them being able to work.” They often felt distracted by nagging feelings that they were neglecting their families and their health but felt compelled to work 24/7.
It’s clear that a balance must be struck and that obsessions related to business should be put in check to maintain your passion for your business while also living a happy and harmonious life. Although you may hold yourself to high standards in your business, you are not immune to needing breaks.
2) End the Disorganization
When you have a never-ending list of tasks to accomplish, it is overwhelming, which clutters your mind and makes it hard to focus. Plus, it makes you work on the tasks that aren’t the most important. Meanwhile, you allow everything to fall into a state of disorganization.
That cycle needs to be broken, and it starts with making a conscious effort to get yourself organized and keep it that way. This includes your files, your computer, and your desk. It involves creating procedures that make things easier and more automatic, and it means reducing your distractions.
3) Put Everything on the Calendar
Have you ever noticed that nothing gets done unless it’s on the calendar? Saying “someday” means no day.
If you’ve been wanting to go on vacation or even simply go on a date with your spouse, you’re likely so busy that it hasn’t happened yet. If you keep meaning to sit down with your team, it will never happen, but if you schedule a meeting, it happens. Or all of those times when you procrastinate until you finally work on a task the day before it is due.
Deadlines and appointments are what get things done—that’s why you need to schedule everything. Put your most important tasks on the calendar and set up meetings. And yes, schedule your fun time as well if you want it to actually happen!
4) Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself
When you try to do it all, you wear yourself thin, you procrastinate doing the things you don’t want to do, and your business (and your health) suffers because of it. It is essential that you learn how to delegate the tasks that fall into any of the following categories:
- They don’t require your expertise.
- They make you cringe when you think of doing them.
- They are things that someone else could easily do.
- They are things that other people are better at than you.
Don’t kid yourself in thinking that you can do it all. You will notice that when you learn to delegate those things, you will be able to focus on what you do best, so you will be happier. Your business will take off because it won’t be held back and will be utilizing the best person for each job. You’ll feel less stressed and more on fire about your business.
5) Don’t Take on Every Opportunity That Comes Your Way
Whether it’s a client you don’t resonate with, a project you really don’t want to do, or a new business opportunity, you can’t do it all.
You didn’t start your business to have another job and the lack of freedom that comes along with it. You started it to do what you do best in your own way with no one telling you what to do. If you can’t learn to say no to the opportunities, clients, and projects that aren’t for you, you won’t find the happiness of being able to focus on what you love and do best.
6) Try Block Scheduling
Block scheduling works wonders for many people. It’s when you schedule out your day in blocks and you stick to them. Here’s what this could look like:
- 8:00-9:00 – Plan your day, check emails, set up appointments
- 9:00-11:00 – Meet with clients
- 11:00-12:00 – Meet with team
- 12:00-12:30 – Lunch
- 12:30-1:00 – Read up on your industry
- 1:00-3:00 – Meet with clients
- 3:00-5:00 – Do the work discussed with clients
The key to this strategy is sticking to the schedule and switching to the next activity even if you want to continue with the one you’re doing or skip the following. You might want to set alarms that indicate when each task is coming to a close to keep yourself on track.
This method is one of the best ways to be more efficient with your time and to ensure that you complete the things that always seem to get left for “tomorrow.”
7) Set Goals & Celebrate Achieving Them
Goals drive us. They give us something to work toward, they keep us focused, and they make us feel really good when we achieve them. As a business owner, you should be setting 2 types of goals:
- Your Own Goals – Set your own entrepreneurial goals that you can use personally to keep moving your business forward and to keep yourself motivated to do what needs to be done to make it happen.
- Company-Wide Goals – Work with your team to set goals that the whole company can work toward. This sets expectations, keeps everyone on the same page, and helps your employees to feel excited about their jobs.
Don’t forget to set up a prize for the completion of the goals, both for yourself and your employees. This serves as an extra driver for motivation, and it adds to the good feelings of accomplishing the goal.
End the miserable road to business owner burnout now so that you can experience the benefits of business ownership, feel content and happy, and be the best version of yourself. With a little more emphasis on balance, organization, and delegation, you’ll feel like a completely different person and your business will reflect that positivity as well.