How to Avoid Burnout as a Business Owner

In today’s hustle culture, it has almost become the accepted norm to work yourself nearly to death. The idea of 20 hour workdays on 4 hours of sleep would seem absolutely absurd 20 years ago. But today you are deemed as slacking if you are not always on and always grinding.  Work at the airport, work at home, work while on holiday, work while eating dinner, work on your way to work.

This constant need to prove to ourselves that we are super humans that don’t need any downtime, has led to a serious modern problem: Burnout. Books have been written about it, medical organisations are raising alarms and ordinary people are experiencing it more and more often.

According to Mayo Clinic, burnout is defined as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Feeling pessimistic about your future, severe exhaustion and thoughts of suicide have been listed as just some of the many symptoms of burnout.

We understand that making your business work is top of your priority list. And that is a good thing. Building something successful and leaving a legacy is a very good thing to work for. But there are certain avoidable mistakes that will lead you straight to certain burnout.

Mistake 1: Answer even the most insignificant mails immediately at all times

One way to avoid being incessantly available is to make it clear that you are not available during certain hours. Most experts suggest switching off outside communication between 6pm and 8am. Most of the world’s wealthiest business people do not work in the evenings at all. Many have also reported that they take an hour’s lunch away from their desks every day. This ensures that they give their minds the necessary break it needs. They all agree that downtime makes them more productive in the hours that they do work.

Use this downtime to focus on your family, read a book or catch up with friends.

Mistake 2: Don’t do any exercise

Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Not only does it keep your body healthy, but it will clear your mind too. When you exercise your brain releases endorphins which is responsible for feelings of well-being. Your overall physical health also improves. Exercise lowers your blood pressure, improves circulation and helps you sleep better at night.

Mistake 3: Don’t schedule your time

“I will take a break just as soon as I finish with [insert literally anything here].”

We have all been there. You look back on your day, where you haven’t stopped working for even a minute, but you can’t pinpoint even one task that you’ve successfully completed. Not planning how you spend your time can spiral into you tackling too many tasks all at once, creating mass internal panic, and in the end not finalising a single one of them.

As a personal experiment, keep a log of every task you do for a week. Write down the start and end times of tasks, even (or especially) if you are jumping between items on your to do list. At the end of the week you will have a clear indication of exactly what takes up your time.

This will also give you an idea of what tasks you can hand over to someone else to do.

Mistake 4: Try to do everything yourself

The main cause of burnout is trying to do absolutely everything by yourself. Handing over can be very hard, but dealing with forced down time for extended periods because of a burnout will be so much worse for your business in the long run. The rule of thumb here is to work smarter, not harder.

We understand that your business is your baby. We feel the same way about ours. But we have systems in place to market and grow your business while you sleep. If you need assistance in leveraging your business the smart way, contact us.