5 Tips to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout

July 26, 2016

1:15 pm

The stereotypical entrepreneur is an update-addicted workaholic, always trying to do better than ever before. Naturally, avoiding burnout is a constant concern. When not taken care of, a worker’s need to de-stress can build up so far that they’ll break down, and they might need to take five years to fully recover.

Here are a few tips on avoiding burnout before it starts to affect your work or your life.

1. Challenge Your Priorities

This is the main response to a question on Inbound, “How do you pace yourself with work and avoid burnout?,” and was reflected in a number of answers. Here’s Inbound user VAHouser, for instance:

“Why do you want to get better numbers next month? Why do you want to make more? Is money what you’re doing your job for in the first place? Are you just pushing for a paycheck? Or are you working for your customers? Are you working to make a name for yourself? Are you working because you enjoy what you do?

If you’re battling yourself to the point of exhaustion and frustration to grow, earn more, etc., then I would argue you need to reprioritize your goals. It’s one thing to push yourself to be successful, but when pushing yourself becomes unhealthy and stressful, then there’s something bigger at work. Realign your goals to be reachable without killing yourself day to day.”

A Fast Company article on the subject quotes Tina Martini, who used a coach to help her with the issue:

“I think having a conversation with yourself about what’s important, taking a step back to look at your life holistically … it becomes easier to channel those things that matter more and it’s easier to see when you’re about to be on the brink of burnout.”

2. Break It Down

Inbound user Mani Karthik’s two cents on avoiding burnout:

“Breaking down your goals to smaller chunks, by weeks, then months, quarterly and finally yearly has proven to be effective for me.

Moving from X to XX next month sounds like a good goal but when you break it down in to chunks, you might want to ask the following questions.

– What is required to get to XX?

– How many hours do you need to put in?

– What is your monthly goal? How can you do today to reach it 30 days from now?

Winning in smaller chunks is not only easier but a good motivation to keep you going day in and day out.”

3. Schedule Recharge Time

From Jane Wurwand in Fast Company:

“For me, it’s important to stay fit and work out, even when I travel for business, so that I have the stamina to meet the challenges that get thrown at us. Before I fly, I take loads of Vitamin C, oregano oil, and stay hydrated. Then, I try and follow my three R’s: Reset, Recharge, and Rest.”

4. Outsource and Delegate

Time is money, and sometimes you can just pay someone else money in order to give yourself a little free time. Just don’t spend that time trying to work just as hard as your normally do: Turn it into that recharge break we just mentioned in the last point.

5. Break Any Monotony

TechCrunch offers this advice on avoiding burnout:

“Something rarely discussed in our startup community is monotony. Monotony is troubling, and can play a huge role in burnout. Too much of anything isn’t good. Because of the natural ebbs and flows of startups, monotony easily creeps in.

Having a well-balanced habit is certainly a step toward success, but breaking that habit from time to time and working from a different location, not just a different coffee shop, is a great way to provide a new perspective. Consider walking or taking a new route to work; subtle changes will make large impacts.”

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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