Taking a business idea from an embryonic state to something which offers a sizeable income and opportunities for growth is an exciting prospect. It also takes up an inordinate amount of time, stress and brain power. It is therefore no wonder that so many entrepreneurs experience burnout.
If you’re embarking on such a venture, we’ve got 16 tips to keep you on task, productive and, most importantly of all, away from the perilous grasp of burnout. You can do this. Here’s how.
- Get fit
If your body feels better, your mind will, too. Scientists have long championed exercise as a way to boost productivity and ease stress. Keeping fit will help you stay positive and sleep better. And it’s free – just get those trainers on and go for a run!
- Take regular breaks
Working for long stretches may feel like a necessity when you’re building a business, but doing so can quickly lead to burnout. You’re also unlikely to produce your best work if you don’t take regular breaks. Working practices such as the Podomoro Technique force you to work in chunks of 25 minutes followed by 5 minutes of downtime. You’ll return with a refreshed, un-muddled brain.
- Find a hobby
Your business isn’t everything – never forget that. Interests outside of your work are essential if you are to not work yourself into the ground. Sport, cinema, country walks – whatever your chosen hobby, stick to it and invest plenty of time in it. Your work will benefit as a result and you’ll be happier.
- Go outside
Don’t spend all day in the office. If you feel drained or on the edge of exhaustion, get outside. Drop whatever you’re doing – it’ll wait. Take a walk, breathe fresh air and take a moment to reflect on the world around you. It’s beautiful and inspiring.
- Turn off email
The insistent ‘ding’ of new items in your inbox is exciting when you first start a business. After a while, though, it can become a distraction and one which can create anxiety. Devote specific times of the day to email and turn it off during all others. People will call you if something is vitally urgent.
- Book that holiday
How many times have you heard entrepreneurs say ‘I’ve not holidayed for years’, or ‘last week was the first break I’ve taken since I started’. Don’t become that person. Take at least one holiday a year and get away from it all.
- Download the Balanced app
Technology can keep you away from the perils of burnout. Apps such as Balanced help you find time to do the things you love whilst remaining productive at work. Simply tell it what your various activities consist of and it will help you manage your time. You’ll wonder how you did without it before.
- Read up on GTD
Productivity guru, David Allen invented the Get Things Done (GTD) technique to help people achieve more by making best use of their time. The result is ultra productivity and more time to oneself, thus reducing the possibility of burn out.
Running a business isn’t a sole endeavour, even if you’re a one-man-band. If you have staff, make sure you delegate as much work to them as possible, and if you’re truly on your own, make use of freelance services to find workers who can help you. The less ‘shop floor’ work you have to do, the better.
- Find a mentor
Stress at work is often bred from loneliness. If you can, find an expert or close ally who will act as a mentor for you. If they’re willing to be on call when you need them, you’ll have a shoulder to lean – and, occasionally, cry – on. They’ll help you through tough periods.
- Start saying ‘no’
Growth has to be sustainable. If you’re adding too many clients in too short a time period, you’ll burn yourself out fast and lose customers as quickly as you gained them. Be honest with yourself before taking work on. Will you be able to provide the best service? Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
- Stop seeking perfection
You’ll be keen to make a fantastic impression with new clients, but that doesn’t mean seeking perfection. Do the best job possible, but stop when you’ve done enough. Here’s a reality check: perfection doesn’t exist. None of us are capable of it and no client expects it!
- Keep a diary
By journalling your progress as an entrepreneur, you’ll be able to quickly learn what you did to make things go right and, most importantly, learn from mistakes. If you’re feeling down, it’s for a reason. Check your recent diary entries; what could you have done differently?
- Work in bite-sized chunks
Big projects are exciting and frightening in equal measure. Don’t try and attempt everything in one hit. Break up the work into bite-sized chunks and tackle each one individually. Marry this with regular breaks, and you’ll be one very happy entrepreneur with even happier customers.
- Don’t neglect your friends
Friends are like hobbies: don’t let go of them just because you’re starting a new venture. You’ll need them both for support and to take your mind off work. See your friends as often as possible and talk about anything but business.
- Stick to normal hours
As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to work all hours god sends. However, doing so will quickly wear you out. Rise at the same time every morning and stick to as rigid a working day as possible. Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you can’t do a 9-5.