How to Deal with Business Burnout
Picture Kate, our neighborhood baker. Kate unlocks her bakery and walks inside–but there’s an awkward feeling in her chest. She lacks motivation, feels fatigued, and to top it all off, she has a massive to-do list. Running a business can be hard, but it’s even harder when you lack energy. Studies have shown that in the US more than 77% of business owners experience a burnout like this.
Small business owners are susceptible to accepting too much responsibility. Running a successful business can take its toll on anyone. Even if an entrepreneur sets aside growing their family or having a social life and focuses solely on their company, the magnitude of tasks can be overwhelming.
To prevent a burnout, start by understanding what the signs are:
- Lack of motivation
- Easily irritated
- Fun job tasks are no longer fun
- Avoiding your business in conversation
If these sound like you, we offer a simple solution of 3 R’s you can use day to day. These are Relax, Rewind, and Review.
This one can be the most difficult because we are instinctively active. However, the productive “doing” part of your life can only go on for so long. Remember, like a muscle, the mind must be given time to relax and reset. If you keep yourself in “doing” mode, you can end up overextending yourself; this is how fatigue sets in. We have some tips for relaxing during the workday here.
Take some time out to do things that are completely unproductive. Again, this is hard because staying “on the grind” is how brand empires are built. This doesn’t mean taking off for a week-long beach vacation. Some lifestyles simply do not allow for this; it does mean to pay better attention to your sleep habits, make sure you’re getting enough, and let your mind rest.
This can be accomplished by setting aside 30-45 minutes before bedtime for restful activity. Read, drink some herbal tea, or meditate before bed. This will not only ease your sleep schedule but also provide some quality “you” time.
Another practice is “rewinding” or re-prioritizing. Avoiding a burnout stems from our ability to connect with our past motivations. Do you remember why you started your business? Do you remember the feelings you had earning your first dollar or reading your first glowing customer review?
Take care not to get too comfortable with your current situation. Sometimes, contentment can pull wool over your eyes from past mistakes. Practice gratitude for what you’ve done, even small things, and stay grounded!
Let’s take another look at Kate. Her bakery experienced some pretty rough months getting started: roach infestations, late deliveries, and slow weeks. However, Kate stuck it out and made it through the rough period. Now though, her bakery was held up at gunpoint. Instead of letting that get her down, Kate rewinds and remembers the hardships starting out and her triumphs. If she can make it through those, she can make it through worse.
After rewind is the review. Taking a step back can give you a better perspective on your situation. leads to fresh ideas, more motivations, and decreases your burnout risk.
The review process can be as simple as keeping a business journal, utilized by writing what you’ve learned along the way. The journal can be a notebook, margins in a financial document, or one of many note-taking apps available on our devices. Just make sure it is easily available for you and not anything that can be defaced.
When you review, focus on the positive aspects you’ve accomplished as a small business owner and take into account the lessons that have helped your company grow. For example, Kate, her bakery may not have the growth she anticipated, but she took notes about her first months. Upon review, she noticed that her bakery did well during school months when students came after release and bought snacks. Armed with the new info, she decides to bake a new muffin flavor and advertise student discounts. With the new plan in motion, she makes a new projection with enough profit to buy better insurance coverage.
Be like Kate. Take the time to use your 3 R’s every day. You may not have a bakery, but business burnout is not just for bread. Utilize the apps available or even take the time to keep a journal, your company is worth it.