Burnout is at record levels today. It has even been described as an epidemic in the entrepreneurial world.
There are plenty of reasons why burnout can happen for an entrepreneur. The hours are long. The paychecks might be small. There are equipment challenges, legal issues, angry customers, and many more challenges that are dealt with every day.
What makes burnout such a challenge is that the average entrepreneur doesn’t even see it coming.
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
Burnout begins long before you throw your hands up in the air, give up, and quit what you’re doing. There are several symptoms that can begin several months before burnout reaches a critical typing point.
#1. You’ve lost your passion. You used to love what you do. Now you don’t want to get out of bed. Everyone has down days, but if this happens several times per week, then burnout is a real possibility.
#2. You’re always tired. Burnout causes you to be irritable with everyone. Stuff that didn’t stress you out before now causes you to explode. The speed at which the explosion builds is directly connected to the levels of burnout being experienced.
#3. You are always working. Entrepreneurs do put in a lot of extra time compared to other workers. They still take time off, however, to pursue personal hobbies or interests. If it feels like you’re always working and never taking time to do stuff you love, then burnout is happening.
#4. You have changed your habits. You stopped exercising. You’ve started smoking. Maybe you’re drinking more. Entrepreneurs that see negative changes in their lifestyle are doing their best to cope with burnout. In a sense, bad habits are used to try to create a miracle, because consciously or not, the issue has been recognized.
#5 Your network is concerned about you. If people are telling you that you need to take some time off, then listen. They can see the symptoms of burnout more clearly than you.
How Can Burnout Be Reversed?
Here’s some good news. Burnout doesn’t need to alter the quality of your work or your productivity levels. If you or your network notices that you’re starting to show the symptoms of burnout, then there are some things you can do to stop it.
#1. Get away from your work. Take some time off, even if it is just a day. If the burnout feels severe, take a week or two. Don’t check your work email. Don’t even take work-related phone calls. Go somewhere, relax, and fully separate yourself from your work.
#2. Cope with your stress. Just 20 minutes of meditation every day can help an entrepreneur manage stress more effectively. Exercise is also helpful. Write down your thoughts to process them if need be. Take a drive to a new community and go exploring. It is important to cope with your stress instead of running from it.
#3. Find ways to delegate. Many entrepreneurs have an excessive workload. Not everyone can delegate tasks, but there may be other chores that could be delegated. Maybe a spouse could take over paying the bills or another regular chore for you. You could train someone to complete work tasks that are draining your time. With enough creativity, there is almost always a solution here.
#4. Be in charge of your schedule. If you have too much stuff to do, then stop accepting new tasks. Put yourself into a position where you can be successful. Only accept work that you know you can complete on time.
#5. Organize your space. To put out your best work, you need to have a working space that fits your needs. The lack of organization in a workspace can be the trigger that starts the initial symptoms of burnout.
When burnout strikes, the effects can be extremely detrimental to the entrepreneur. You may lack energy. Your decisions might not be as good as they used to be. Your muscles might feel achy all the time. People experiencing burnout can even suffer from migraine headaches, illnesses, and ulcers.
Most importantly, burnout also causes an entrepreneur to lose their passion over time. Once that passion disappears, it can be difficult to find it once again.
If you can recognize burnout early, then it won’t take much to reverse the symptoms. Acknowledge the issue. Then be proactive about fixing it.
Your business is important to you. Your health, however, must be a top priority. If you neglect yourself, then eventually you’ll neglect your business as well.