Have you suffered from entrepreneur burnout syndrome?
It is already very well known that people who work a lot come to live what is commonly called burnout. However, in business owners, entrepreneur burnout syndrome is, without a doubt, experienced daily and talked about little because while we are focused on trying to demonstrate power, dominance, advancement, and leadership, among a lot of other qualities, many of us end up normalizing it and suffering it silently.
According to the WHO, burnout is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- reduced professional efficacy
As entrepreneurs, we can easily direct our steps towards entrepreneur burnout syndrome.
All that compulsion to demonstrate worth obsessively, working so hard that we can’t simply switch off; lacking sleep, healthy eating, and even social interaction, among many other exhausting behaviours, could lead us to the emergency room, depression, and, in the worst case, suicide. Entrepreneur burnout syndrome is not a joke.
In an article by Business Insider, they mention a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, who was one of the first to link higher mental health issues to entrepreneurship.
Of the 242 entrepreneurs surveyed, 49% reported having a mental health condition. Depression was the No. 1 reported condition among them and was present in 30% of all entrepreneurs, followed by ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27% That’s a much higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed.
Being entrepreneurs, it is easy to leave ourselves aside and underestimate everything that we are feeling. Those fashionable phrases like fake it till you make it do nothing more than emphasizing the fact of continuing in the fight without asking for any help.
So, how do we avoid entrepreneur burnout syndrome? How do we intelligently manage our workload so that every day that we open our eyes when we wake up, we do it with pleasure, wanting to start with the same enthusiasm that we had when we started this journey?
Here are six basic tricks to manage your workload to avoid entrepreneur burnout syndrome:
1. Have a real schedule
You need to treat your work at home as if you were at a conventional 9-5 job. Create a real schedule and stick to it as much as you can. Set your alarm early in the morning, so you have time to go through your morning routine (wake up, brush teeth, go for a run, shower, breakfast, etc.). Establish your office hours and distribute your work throughout those hours. NO OVERTIME IS ALLOWED in your company. Set your alarm to the end of the day, too and leave your workspace as soon as it sounds.
2. Build healthier, life-long habits
You wouldn’t believe how important your health is to the success of your business. Eating well, exercising, and sleeping consistently will keep your brain healthy and you will be able to make better decisions. It is useless to enter into massive “healthy sprints” every x time if your habits are not permanent. Learn how to build life-long habits and stick to them.
Hoarding every task is one of the biggest mistakes of an entrepreneur. When you work for yourself, it’s very easy to add more and more to your plate instead of delegating. So, if you can, try and delegate some tasks. Much of the reason a business owner does not delegate responsibilities is because of the fear of losing control over things, thinking that it is much easier to make mistakes if they are not continually monitoring the work. The truth of the matter is that by covering so much simultaneously, you not only put your health at risk but your business as well by wanting to do it all by yourself. The result would be a lower quality of your work, lower performance, more time spent on each task, dissatisfaction with the results, overwhelm, and unhappy clients.
4. Learn to say NO
Every business owner is constantly under pressure to have more clients seeking greater financial strength, and saying yes to all of them without reflecting on the hours they will cut from their private life can be automatic. It’s also healthy to say “sorry, I won’t be able to take you, for instance,” sometimes. That doesn’t mean you’re letting go of an opportunity. It means that you’re leaving some space for yourself. The same goes for when your clients send you emails, ask you questions, or even call you on off-hours or weekends! The boundaries that you have to learn to establish are with yourself. Not your clients. If you learn to stop answering those out of your office hours, your clients will KNOW that you really are unavailable during those times and will be patient, but if you reply as soon as they contact you, then you are educating them to know that you are there for them, no matter what time. They know they are 100% your priority, which of course, is not healthy.
5. Free time means free time
You don’t go through life carrying your desk all the time, right? Why carry the entire set of messages, emails, and to-do lists everywhere? Your free time is for you to be free and that means not touching anything related to your work at night, on weekends or other time that belongs to your personal life. This point is (of course) related to point number 4 above. So, this is a reminder that you are the priority today, tomorrow and always.
Trust you’ve done what you can do in a day and that there will always be work there tomorrow, so give yourself a bit of a break because your job is not going anywhere. Do what you can, be proud of what you’ve done, and get back to it tomorrow. If you run yourself into the ground, you won’t be able to do ANYTHING, so it’s best to just take care of yourself along the way — even if it feels like the end of the world for not getting to a particular milestone or completing a specific task.
We, at Rebel Office, always care about your mental health. So, no matter where your business is at the moment and where you want to go, always remember that the main element for the machinery to work perfectly is you. If you feel that you begin to have difficulty coping with your emotions regarding your development as an entrepreneur, talk to your closest people, seek a professional and ask for help!
Remember that you are not alone.