A Practical Guide to Avoiding Burnout
Business owners, whether newbies or with a decade of experience, always have this one quality in common – they work hard and they know how to put their work before anything else and make it a priority.
That’s great and it’s what helps them build profitable companies and create remarkable products. But it’s also easy for them to ruin their health because of that, to bring a lot of stress into their days and – as a result – to have poor performance.
That’s what burnout is all about. And once you reach it, things usually get worse and both your business and your personal life suffer from that.
The good news, though, is that you can easily avoid that. You can save your health, good mood and career by taking some small actions today using this simple guide.
But before we move onto the practical steps, let’s see how to spot burnout and its symptoms.
The Early Signs of a Burnout
You’re constantly in a bad mood.
It may not seem like a big deal now, but if you don’t analyze what causes that and do something about it, you won’t be doing your best at work.
You communicate with people all the time, meet new ones, form relationships, manage a team, think of ideas and create stuff. And in order to do all that successfully, you need to be fresh and positive.
If you’re in a bad mood for a few weeks in a row, that will lead to burnout.
You don’t get enough sleep.
Many things may be going on at work, and it’s understandable if you choose to keep working till late instead of listening to your body and brain and give them the rest they need when they need it.
And if that’s just for a short period of time, fine. But you can easily make that your new lifestyle without noticing.
In time, your health will deteriorate, you won’t be thinking clearly and will ruin your productivity. And if you’re not on top of your game, your employees and customers will see that too.
You’re not as excited about new projects as you used to be.
Being passionate about your work is one of the main reasons you can do it all the time and never get bored. That enthusiasm is a much-needed ingredient if you want to keep things as they are, or even scale.
But if you find yourself not looking forward to signing new clients or working on new projects, then you must take action.
There are big changes happening in your personal life.
You may be moving house, taking care of a relative, ending a relationship, or else. And that can easily affect your business if you let it.
In this case, take things easy until the problem is solved. Don’t bring it to work no matter what.
And now, let’s see how to make sure burnout won’t be an issue:
3 Surefire Ways to Avoid a Burnout
It’s about more than just sleeping enough hours per day.
Truth is, most business owners just don’t know how to relax, to turn off their mind and just enjoy their day without thinking about work. But it’s a must if you want to stay sane and think clearly.
There are three aspects of proper relaxation you should consider:
Taking breaks while working. Being in the zone is what gives best results, but as grownups, we also need to know when it’s time to say stop and do something else instead.
Break your work by just chilling for half an hour every few hours.
Meditating. 90% of the busiest and most successful people in business swear by that little habit.
Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or feel like an obligation. It’s just a quick session of emptying your mind, breathing deeply and focusing on one thought.
Those who make it a daily habit are happier in general, less stressed and depressed, and can concentrate more easily during the day.
So give it a try tomorrow morning. But start small. Sit down, eliminate distractions and just enjoy the silence for 2 minutes. Then, do it again next morning.
You’ll feel the resistance at first, but in a few days, it will be easier.
Take vacations. It’s important to have something to look forward to that’s not connected to work. So if every 3 months you take a 10-day vacation, for instance, you can plan it out at that time. It will help you stay close with your family, grow spiritually by seeing new places and experiencing new things.
And putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment will let you see things from another perspective and you’ll generate unique ideas for your business.
2. Say No.
Taking every opportunity on your way is a great quality as each can turn into something big. But it’s also a bad habit when you take more than you can chew.
Staying sane and having enough time for yourself and for your most important projects comes first. So you’ll have to say no sometimes and to delegate more often.
Don’t be afraid to outsource anything that doesn’t require your role.
3. Have a quiet morning.
Kickstart your day by waking up a bit earlier than you usually do and having a nice morning ritual.
In it you can include the daily meditation session we talked about, a healthy breakfast, planning out your day, stretching or even a quick workout, or some reading or writing.
Each of these can take less than 5 minutes in the beginning. And don’t try to include all these from scratch.
But be serious about your morning and take back control of it. How you start your day affects how it goes and ends. So jumpstart it with such productive, positive, healthy and creative activities, and you’ll be less stressed, in a better mood and ready to get to work before others have even left the bed.
Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. That should be your sacred time when nothing else bothers you and you’re just by yourself.
That’s when you can do some chores, get ready for the day (both physically and mentally), drink your coffee without being in a hurry, and maybe journal your thoughts or even listen to some nice music.
So that’s how you make sure burnout will never occur in your personal life and work. And you can win the day, double your productivity and eliminate stress over time.
What do you think? Has burnout ever been an issue for you? What can you do today to avoid it?
Originally published 03/02/18.