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5 Easy Ways to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout

  • February 23, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

Entrepreneurs are people who get stuff done. They are known as flexible problem-solvers who wear many hats, from salesperson to accountant to product designer.

However, their characteristic independence and self-reliability is a slippery slope. Many entrepreneurs end up suffering from “superhero syndrome”—thinking that they can tackle huge to-do lists that mere mortals wouldn’t dream of—which can lead to burnout that affects personal health and relationships. This is incredibly common in the beginning stages of building a business or during periods of financial strain or wild growth.

Don’t fall victim to burnout that derails your business. Avoid superhero syndrome and build a balanced and fulfilling entrepreneurial life with these 5 simple strategies.

1. Recognize Burnout Symptoms

“No, it’s okay, I can do it on my own.” “Things just turn out better when I do them myself.” “My schedule is packed but I can fit that in somewhere.”

Refusing to accept help, preferring to do everything alone, saying yes to everything even with a full schedule—these are classic signs of superhero syndrome. There are only so many hours in the day and no one, not even ambitious entrepreneurs, can overstuff those hours without burning out at some point.

Burnout affects everyone a little differently but a few common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  •  Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia or problems sleeping
  • Frequent illness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Decreased productivity
  • Concentration issues

Sound familiar? Then you may already be struggling with burnout. Even if you are not, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so you can recognize them should they pop up.

2. Establish Healthy Habits

Proactively creating healthy routines can go a long way toward accomplishing your business goals while maintaining work-life balance. Develop a schedule that includes things like:

  • Exercising several times per week, which the Mayo Clinic explains is great for physical health, mental wellness, energy, and sleep
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Sleeping and waking at the same time every day (and getting enough sleep! The Huffington Post reports that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night)
  • Recharge periods where you step away from work and relax
  • Eating healthy food throughout the day

Taking care of yourself shouldn’t take a backseat to growing your small business. In fact, it is like what flight attendants explain to airplane passengers—you must put on your own oxygen mask before being able to help others. Stay healthy and well-rested so you can give the best to your business.

3. Delegate and Eliminate

Superhero syndrome arises when small business owners try to do everything themselves. One obvious solution to this is to minimize your to-do list by eliminating unnecessary tasks and delegating the remaining ones whenever possible.

Go through your lengthy list and ask:

  • Does this get me closer to my business goal(s)?
  • Is this task a necessity or a “would be nice”?
  • How much of a priority is this task on a scale from 1 (most important) to 5 (least important)?
  • Can someone else accomplish this for me or am I the only one who can achieve it?

If you realize that a to-do list item isn’t absolutely necessary, then cross it off the list. Or, if you find that many other people could complete a time-consuming task for you, then consider outsourcing the work.

For instance, hire a web designer to build your website for $300 rather than spending 15 hours doing it yourself, which could end up costing way more than $300 depending on how much each hour of your time is worth (in fact, delegating is one of 12 simple ways to get more done in your business every day).

Tip: The “Ultimate Goal-Setting Guide for Entrepreneurs” can help small business owners eliminate ineffective goals that prevent success. Click here to download the e-book now!

4. Steer Clear of Common Time Suckers

Time Doctor, a time management software company, reports that the typical employee wastes 1.24 hours of work time per week on social media sites, and that a combined 20% of employees claim that their biggest time wasters are computer glitches and surfing the internet.

Avoid these common time wasters—like poking around on social media or reading news online—to prevent procrastination, which could leave you scrambling to shove important to-dos into even less time.

If you are not sure where you’re losing the most time, try keeping a time journal for one week. Lay out a calendar and write exactly what tasks you complete, when. At the end of the week, determine where every hour went and whether the amount of time spent on each activity corresponds to the importance of each task.

5. Shift Your Mindset

There is a difference between what you can do and what you should do. Many small business owners blur the line between the two when it comes to building their companies, and unfortunately fall into thinking that they should do everything they have the ability to do.

Shift your mindset. Accept that you can’t be a superhero… but you can be a master of a few powerful skills rather than a jack of all trades, if you focus your attention on a handful of top strengths instead of everything under the sun.

The Ultimate Goal-Setting Guide for Entrepreneurs can help you focus on the right things, so you achieve your business goals.

Download it for free now!