Business burnout! You may not know you’re affected – until it’s too late! Commonly associated with the first stage of business growth and development – Core Business Development – business burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It slowly creeps into your business after an extended duration of the passionate pursuit of your entrepreneurial dream. Left to smolder, it can extinguish your small business dream.
It’s not uncommon to work extended hours when you first launch your small business. Your passion and excitement for what’s to come removes all sense of time. Your eagerness wakes you before dawn and finds you working long past the time the family has gone to bed. Over time, the extended workday turns into extended workweeks and, before long, what fueled your start-up passion, has turned into a deadly habit that’s killing you and your business.
Am I being too dramatic? I think not! Researchers have found that burnout has reached epidemic proportions. The negative consequences of burnout are well-documented, included coronary artery disease, depression, and autoimmune illness (Plus, I’ve got a personal story about a health crisis caused by burnout. It wasn’t pretty.)
Things Are Heating Up
Burnout is quite insidious. It causes decision fatigue, erodes confidence, drains your energy, infects attitudes, amplifies cynicism, promotes inflexibility, and encourages procrastination. Before long, you’re unable to focus at the task at hand. You’re easily disrupted by email and distracted by the simplest of thing. You waste valuable time poking around on Facebook or daydreaming about working at Starbucks.
Stop the Burn
Fortunately, small business owners have control over their work hours and can implement these strategies easily and effortlessly to put a stop to business burnout.
1. Establish priorities based on goals. Rather than focus on your to-do list, the “squeaky wheel”, or the biggest fire, prioritize your day based on the actions needed to achieve your business goals. By being goal-oriented rather than time-oriented, you’ll eliminate unnecessary tasks and achieve much more.
2. Perform in 40/20 cycles. Pierre Khawand, author of “The Results Curve™: How to Manage Focused and Collaborate”, discovered after a decade of research that the best results are achieved after 40 minutes of focused work following by 20 minutes of collaboration.
3. Stop multitasking. Once the sought-after skill of the 80’s – 90’s, researchers are now finding that multitasking is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Although walking and chewing gum is still an acceptable form of multitasking (it’s automatic), responding to email while talking on the phone adds to inefficiency. Plus, its just plain embarrassing when you’re asked a question and you’re unable to respond appropriately because your attention is divided.
4. Delegate. Entrepreneurs are notorious for “doing it all”. Hand over suitable tasks to skilled employees or vendors that support your business objectives. It frees your vision and creativity.
5. Keep yourself healthy. You are the primary bread producer in your small business; therefore, your ability to stay healthy is crucial. Although many small business entrepreneurs don’t feel they have the time to exercise, studies show that entrepreneur who run or bike have higher sales than even those who strength train! And, to keep fueled with energy-producing foods, follow Back to her Roots solution, How I Prep Food for the Week. One more thing – don’t eat lunch at your desk! There’s nothing worse than having your keyboard stick on ccccccccccc because of crumbs.
6. Play more. Recess isn’t just for kids. Taking frequent breaks throughout the day refreshes your creativity and reboots your brain.
7. Take weekends off. Fatigue costs more than $136 billion per year in health-related lost productivity; 84% of those costs due to reduced performance at work. Is working on your day off really worth it?
8. Unplug from technology. When the clock strikes 5 pm – or whatever arbitrary time you have for closing down shop – turn off all your technology. Your body and mind needs time to renew after a day of decision-making. In our blog post, The High Cost of Indecision on Growing Your Business, we discuss the importance of rejuvenating your decision-making muscle.
Burnout is completely avoidable, especially with the advancements in technology. Used correctly, technology makes your workday more productive and efficient. You’re going to be in business for a long time. Make business burnout a thing of the past.