Starting a new business is an exciting prospect. Taking that leap gives you the drive and motivation to put in the hard work to achieve success while being your own boss. However, this can also mean you become your own worst enemy, pushing yourself too far and too hard. The result? Burnout – an entrepreneurial nightmare.
What are the signs?
Burnout can be all-consuming. The temptation may be to push on through, but in the end, this just makes things worse.
1. Sleep? What’s that?
Yes, starting a new business does require hard work and sometimes long hours. However, pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion will cause your work to suffer and detract from all the effort you’ve put in.
By working all day, every day, you don’t allow yourself time wind down, so your mind is still in overdrive when it’s time to sleep.
2. There’s just not enough hours in the day!
Being your own boss means you have a stack of tasks each day. When the pile starts to get on top of you, you start to feel overwhelmed. We all have some stress in our lives, but too much is detrimental to both your work and your health.
3. Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?
When you came up with the idea for your business, you were more than likely excited by the prospect of success – otherwise why would have you got involved?
Now it’s here, if you’ve lost the ability to enjoy it and your enthusiasm has disappeared. If your success has you shrugging your shoulders and saying, “so what”, rather than “isn’t this fantastic!” you’ve overdone it.
4. I just need to check Facebook, then I’ll start
Your motivation and focus has gone into a deep decline, and you’d rather do anything other than start that work related task. When you start doing the housework instead of getting into work mode, you know there’s something wrong.
5. Getting nowhere fast
Sometimes you feel like you have been slogging it out all day, but have nothing to show for it. If this is the case, then all your hard work feels pointless. The harder you push yourself, the less productive you become, so now is the time to take a step back.
Stopping burnout before it starts
If you can identify with any of these symptoms, you could be on the path to entrepreneurial burnout. Here’s how to stop it in its tracks:
1. First things first
When you are faced with a mountain of things to do, start by prioritising. Work out what needs to be done immediately (Tip: it’s not checking Facebook), and what can wait.
By tackling the most important tasks first, you will start to ease the pressure. If one task seems insurmountable, break it down into manageable pieces. If your mind is racing with what you need to do, write them down as you think of them. They will soon seem less daunting.
2. Timetables aren’t just for school
Each evening, plan for the following day. Work out how much time you think you’ll need for each task, and schedule accordingly. Map out each day with realistic timings and goals. Trying to squeeze tasks in to time slots that aren’t achievable with only make things worse.
3. All work and no play…
Does indeed make life incredibly dull. When planning your time, don’t forget to include time to relax and recuperate. Scheduling breaks and relaxation periods will give your mind time to switch off, and ultimately increase productivity. Make sure you include a good night’s sleep too.