It's happened to all of us.
In our society, busy is seen as a badge of honor. People one-up each other over how few hours of sleep they got the night before. We're all running around like chickens with our heads cut off constantly, and I have been no exception lately. When you are faced with a large amount of work on any project, you are at risk of burnout no matter how much you might love what you do.
So what can we do about it? I have quite a bit that I've been working on behind the scenes lately on top of it being wedding season so if you can imagine I'm spending a fair amount of my time working.
Now, don't get me wrong, I can't complain too much as the majority of this work is done from my couch. But when your to-do list constantly feels like you're taking one step forward and two steps back you can start to feel like you're drowning a bit. So here are some of the strategies I've learned through trial and error to help combat entrepreneurial burnout.
Have fun. I'm glad you are passionate and dedicated to your business. I'm glad you love what you do. But if you do anything too much, you'll go a bit insane. Get outside, go for a walk, read a book for pleasure, watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it. I promise you'll be more productive when you next sit down to get some work done than if you had tried to push yourself straight through.
Listen to your body. It's a pretty cool thing, and it has its ways of communicating with us. Don't neglect yourself or your health. Make sure that you're eating healthy (which is HARD and is my biggest struggle) and staying active. Don't ignore aches and pains, have them evaluated and treated by a professional.
Delegate. You are not in this alone. I'm single with no kids (other than my two fur babies) and I can still delegate, so you have no excuses. Whether it's to your significant other, kids, or an outside source; delegate the tasks that you can't stand or just take up way too much of your time. For me, that's spending the money to hire someone to clean for me. Yes, I can do it, but it's just not the best use of my time. I can easily make back what I need to pay a cleaning lady if I spend that entire time working. If you're someone who hates numbers, consider hiring a bookkeeper. Whatever it is that you struggle with, find someone else who enjoys doing it and is good at it. You'll be a lot happier and the task will be done correctly and on time.
Talk about it. I firmly believe one of the main reasons we get burned out is because we are too afraid to talk about our struggles, especially in business. The social media highlight reel world we live in tricks us into thinking that everyone else has everything together and we're the only one who feels like a complete impostor who is just making things up as they go along. News flash: pretty much everyone feels this way. Instead of pretending that we've all got our act together, why not just talk about the issues we're facing with others? Who knows, they may have helpful insight or at the very least can commiserate so you don't feel so alone.
Evaluate those around you. Think about who you're surrounding yourself with. Sometimes, we don't realize how much the emotional states of those around us affect us. I think especially creative entrepreneurs tend to be quite empathic and others emotions can affect us really easily. Surround yourself with people who build you up and challenge you to be a better version of yourself, not those that are constantly trying to drag you down.
Exercise. Ugh, I know. I'm not here to lecture you too much since I myself am a naturally lazy person, but finding a form of exercise that works for you really makes a difference. I have never been someone who enjoyed sports or exercise of any kind, really. A few years ago, I found Adriene Mishler on Youtube and that all changed. I had tried yoga before but had never found a teacher that really helped me connect, until I did Adriene's Yoga Camp. Not only did it help me get stronger and healthier, but it also helped me connect with myself and my mind in a way that I had an incredibly difficult time doing previously. Yoga may not be it for you, but whatever it is, find something that helps you to relax and center yourself.
Set boundaries. Running your own business can mean working 24/7 sometimes. It's one of the things I love about it, because I thrive working at night, but it can also lead to burnout because you're never feeling like you're getting a true break. For me, office hours don't work because I like to keep my schedule incredibly flexible, but many entrepreneurs find success giving themselves more of a work day and setting specific office hours that they communicate to their clients and set clear expectations of when they should and should not expect a response. For me, rather than set work hours, I have just set boundaries in my life of when I am willing to check and respond to work email, and when it's appropriate to put my phone and computer away and be fully present.
Hopefully at least one of these tips will help a fellow entrepreneur out there dealing with burnout. If you have any other tips or tricks that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!