Connect with us

Work Life Balance

5 Burnout Warning Signs (And How To Respond)

Burnout isn’t productive or pleasant, so monitor it proactively.

Jayson Demers

Published

on

explosive

As entrepreneurs, most of us are rational optimists; we believe in our businesses, we believe in our teams, and despite occasional crises of confidence, we believe we’re the right ones to lead our organisations to success.

You, too, probably make such assumptions about who you are and how well you function in your entrepreneurial role. But one of the easiest assumptions to make is also one of the most frequently violated: The assumption that you’ll always remain enthusiastic and energised about your role.

Entrepreneurial burnout

The truth is, entrepreneurial burnout is a real and common phenomenon. Through some combination of working too hard, underestimating stress or failing to have an outlet, many entrepreneurs eventually get to the point where they dread their jobs and can’t stand the thought of continuing.

Related: Preventing Start-up Burnout

It’s not a fun position to be in, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, burnout creeps up on you when you aren’t paying attention, expanding through innocuous events and repetitive strains. So, how can you take notice and counteract burnout when it’s still developing?

Fighting burnout starts with recognising and addressing these five important warning signs:

1. You aren’t excited to come to work

Nobody is excited to come to work every single day, but those of us with good jobs at least look forward to coming to work regularly. There are ups and downs, but consistently, there’s a positive association with coming to work.

This trend is even more powerful for entrepreneurs – in fact, most new business owners are thrilled to get out of bed and continue building their dreams.

If, however, you find yourself consistently unenthusiastic about going to work – you have trouble getting up in the morning, or you dread the idea of coming to the office – that’s a sign that you’re headed for burnout. Try to find new reasons to be excited about work, or make a change, to relieve yourself of the more negative qualities of the workplace.

2. You’re irritable with your teammates, partners or clients

explosive

You built this company, and you built this team. You chose the teammates, employees, partners and clients you’re working with, so why are you consistently irritated with them? You’re never going to get along with everybody all the time, but if you find yourself alarmingly quick to anger, or you become frustrated with others, you could be projecting your frustrations onto the people around you.

Ask yourself if these people are truly doing anything wrong; if they are, give constructive feedback, and if they aren’t, reset your expectations and try to isolate what’s really making you feel this way.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Unstuck in the Face of Creative Burnout

3. You’re physically and mentally exhausted

This is a classic sign of burnout, so don’t ignore it. Many entrepreneurs will regularly push themselves to the brink of exhaustion due to their internal entrepreneurial engine, but if you feel you’ve pushed too much, and too consistently, you’re headed down the wrong path.

You may even start experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, backaches or other ailments.

Take some time away from work to take care of yourself; eat healthier, exercise more and get enough sleep every night. The work can be delegated, or it can wait.

4. You’re disillusioned or cynical about your business

Most entrepreneurs are grounded optimists. Feeling overwhelmed by pessimism or feelings of disillusionment is not necessarily a sign that your business is going downhill – in fact, it’s usually a manifestation of your internal feelings.

If you’ve worked too hard for too little reward, or if your early expectations haven’t been met, it’s easy to feel like hope is lost or that your business is objectively less capable of future success. Don’t let this bring you down; take a step back and do some honest, objective evaluation. Get a third-party perspective so you aren’t corrupted by your own biases.

5. You feel detached or ineffectual

This is the hallmark of burnout: You go into work and still do things, but you feel strangely alienated or detached; it’s almost like an out-of-body experience. You may also feel like all of your tasks and projects are worthless, or at least not worth your time.

These feelings of detachment and ineffectualness tend to manifest after prolonged periods of repetition combined with unmet expectations. There’s no easy way to compensate, but you can try to focus more on the work that does lead to a result, or think back to the motivations that led you to start the business in the first place, and prioritise those in your daily regimen.

Related: Arianna Huffington’s Recipe for Success: Avoid Burnout

Most people will experience burnout at some point during their lives, in a career, hobby or other institution. It’s normal and common, though it’s not exactly healthy.

When you get to the final stages of burnout, that’s not a sign that you weren’t meant to do this, and it’s not a sign of failure.

Instead, it’s a sign that you poured too much of yourself into a venture, and you can almost take that as a point of pride. Still, burnout isn’t productive or pleasant, so monitor it proactively, and take steps to prevent it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a content marketing agency, as well as EmailAnalytics, an email productivity monitoring app for Gmail and G suite. Contact him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Work Life Balance

Attract Wealth With These 7 Feng Shui Tips For Your Office

Want to bring good vibrations into your office and attract greater wealth? These seven feng shui tips can help you attract the flow of prosperity energy.

Catherine Bristow

Published

on

Prev1 of 8

1-hero-attract-wealth-with-these-feng-shui-tips-for-your-office

We’ve all heard how feng shui can help in attracting positive energy into your home and workspace. But what about attracting wealth? Well, the feng shui philosophy embraces that notion that energy in all its forms can be manipulated by the conscious placement of objects in our living and working spaces.

Of course, as with anything, feng shui is not the be all and end all. Good feng shui won’t bring you wealth if you aren’t actively striving for it in your business, however it does allow you to attract the right energy into your office space to support your efforts.

So, how do you go about ‘feng shuing’ your office space to encourage the flow of prosperity energy?

Here are seven feng shui ways:

Prev1 of 8

Continue Reading

Work Life Balance

Why Rest Is the Secret To Entrepreneurial Success

The surprising power of downtime: Here’s why the most successful founders work the least.

Aytekin Tank

Published

on

rest-taking-a-break

Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land mammal. These feline sprinters can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in three seconds flat. Explosive speed enables them to take down an antelope, but when they’re not hunting, cheetahs expend as little energy as possible.

In fact, researchers found that cheetahs burn about 2 000 calories per day – the same as an average-size man. “I guess both humans and cheetahs rest a lot to offset high-energy activities,” biologist Johnny Wilson told National Geographic.

Cheetahs work hard to capture their prey, but they quickly compensate for each burst by hiding, waiting and resting. Clearly, they don’t have startups to run, but I can’t help but draw a parallel between these big cats and modern founders.

In the early days of my 12-year entrepreneurial journey, I was the anti-cheetah. I thought success required 16-hour workdays. I was constantly building, growing and hustling. Over the years, I’ve learned that busy and successful are not the same thing. Yet, many of us spend the whole day sprinting, to the point where we’re stressed and exhausted.

According to Joseph Bienvenu, a psychiatrist and director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, busyness has become a widespread health issue:

“Emotional distress due to overbusyness manifests as difficulty focusing and concentrating, impatience and irritability, trouble getting adequate sleep, and mental and physical fatigue.”

As I’ve built my company, JotForm, I’ve learned that when we know how to balance work with restorative rest, our productivity can skyrocket — and we might even catch more antelope.

The roots of busyness run deep

Scholars believe Homer wrote the Odyssey near the end of the 8th century B.C. In book 9 of this epic poem, Odysseus describes the island of the Lotus-eaters, where the natives spend their days lounging and eating the intoxicating lotus fruit.

Once Odysseus’ crew tries the fruit, they forget about home and long to live out their days on the idyllic island. Eventually, Odysseus drags his men back to the ship and locks them up to break the spell.

Talk about a parable for laziness. It seems even Greek philosophers prized industry, and yes, busyness. Today, everyone from founders to football coaches despise anything that implies complacency. We’re always pushing to do more, to improve ourselves and to stay constantly in motion.

Subconsciously, we even evaluate peoples’ worth based on how many hours they work or how “in demand” they are. We prize “busy” above all else. At a certain point, however, we have to make a choice: Do we want to be busy, or do we want to make an impact?

Nothing is more precious than time. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Escaping the cult of “busy” means taking time to rest – and it requires us to step back and re-evaluate what matters most. I’d like to share how I’ve learned to reject the frenetic pace of startup culture, and how you can, too.

Related: You’ve Already Abandoned Your New Year’s Resolution. Here’s A Better Path To Reach Your Goals

Start small – and take breaks

Busyness robs us of precious hours: to think, play, explore, nurture relationships – and to rest.

“There is a simple way to take back your time: Do less,” journalist Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson wrote in John Hopkins Health Review.

“And yet, those two words are perhaps the most challenging call to action. Doing less means understanding your priorities and constantly defending them against the encroachments of the status quo, which dictates that busyness – and material wealth and value – is best.”

As Dickinson says, it’s not easy to reverse our mental conditioning. Doing less isn’t as simple as it sounds. That’s why I recommend starting small. First, take the time to discover your peak hours, then take breaks throughout the day. Not only will you feel better, but these short rest periods can actually improve the quality of your work.

In fact, regular breaks can prevent decision fatigue, restore motivation, increase productivity and creativity, and consolidate memories. Breaks that involve even five minutes of movement can also improve our health and well-being.

Taking time to grab a coffee or chat with a team member is far from “doing nothing,” but it’s an important way to step off the metaphorical treadmill and re-establish your priorities.

Reserve time for reflection

Some of the greatest founders, innovators and creators set aside large chunks of time just to reflect. For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates first took solo Think Weeks – seven days spent reading, strategising and reflecting — before the idea spread through the company. Today, Gates credits those weeks with generating some of Microsoft’s top innovations.

Other founders, like Skillshare’s Mike Karnjanaprakorn, have now implemented the practice. So have Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Ferriss. Even people who can’t take a full week for reflection often thrive when they set limited working hours.

The late Dr. Maya Angelou, for example, always drew clear boundaries in her schedule. The legendary writer, poet, singer and activist arrived at her desk around the same time each day. Afterward, she set aside work to spend time with her family.

“I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon,” Angelou said in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

“If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”

Challenge your body

Rest doesn’t necessarily mean lounging out on the couch, watching Netflix in a glassy-eyed trance. The most effective downtime also involves physical exertion, whether that’s a long walk, a hike or a bike ride. Restorative activities can help to balance out more brain-intensive work.

Silicon Valley consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, says rest is a necessary form of mental restoration. And exercise is one of the best ways to recover the mental energy we need to perform at peak levels.

“There are so many people who find that a workout, a long hike, clears their minds, helps them calm down, gives their subconscious mind opportunity to think through problems,” Pang told Scientific American. “What all of that teaches us is that exercise is a really important form of rest.”

Related: How To Get The Best Out Of Your Brain At Work

Embrace the digital Sabbath

At least one day a week, give yourself a technology break. It’s not easy to cut the psychological strings, but going device-free on a Saturday, a Sunday or another day of your choice can give your mind space to wander, while enhancing your creativity.

If a full day away from screens and notifications feels challenging, you’re not alone. But remember that a stressed, tired brain can’t generate fresh ideas. We’re also more likely to make mistakes and overcomplicate solutions when we’ve exhausted our mental reserves.

As the late Steve Jobs once said, “Simple thinking can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Consider bootstrapping

VC-backed founders get the lion’s share of startup press. They make headlines with record-breaking funding rounds and dominate the top of TechCrunch. Outside investment can provide essential startup capital, but it can also tie founders to the pressures of hockey-stick growth targets and boards eager to recover their cash.

Instead of the 24/7 grind, I chose to bootstrap my company with a slow-and-steady approach to growth. It has taken time, and it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve built a stable business that can even function without me. Most importantly, I have full control over my work and my life.

If that sounds like a privileged position, you’re absolutely right. I’m grateful for the ability to spend a whole summer with my wife and my newborn baby, for example, and I’ve worked hard to reach this point. Bootstrapping isn’t the right approach for everyone, but it can help you to maintain your freedom and live a more balanced life.

Work to live, instead of living to work

Even in a conversation about rest, we still tend to look through the lens of productivity. We’ve become obsessed with maximising every minute – and that’s fine, as long as we reclaim that time for our lives, not necessarily our work.

Related: Arianna Huffington’s Recipe for Success: Avoid Burnout

No matter how excited we may feel about our businesses, or each new project, a rich life also includes family, friends, exploration and adventure, in whatever proportion you desire. I certainly don’t want to regret relationships that fell apart while I was staring at a screen, or the opportunities I missed in the world outside my office.

Try to leave work at work – even if it’s in your home. Give yourself the gift of restorative downtime. And balance thinking hours with time spent in motion. Just like the cheetah, we can sprint to bring down the antelope, but then it’s time to rest.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Work Life Balance

Having The Time Of Your Life

How can you avoid a To-Do list that never gets ticked off by the end of the week? Or maximise the number of hours you work on critical projects, to achieve your career goals? And why is it important to take time out?

Published

on

time-management

Being an entrepreneur is a constant balancing act between the demands of your business needs and your personal life. The key to a work/life balance that ensures you achieving your work and personal goals for the year ahead, is effective time management.

Time is our greatest resource and there are many ways in which to maximise your ability to manage this precious commodity. But how can you avoid a To-Do list that never gets ticked off by the end of the week? Or maximise the number of hours you work on critical projects, to achieve your career goals?  And why is it important to take time out?

Unfortunately, time does equal money

In the modern workplace and in most businesses, time is synonymous with money. Whether you bill by the hour, or bake by the truckload, time is essential in running a successful career and business. Just think of how important time is in the service industry, and how time influences purchasing decisions. Think of all the drive-through fast food chains in a city – all there to save time. Because time is indeed money, it is critical to prioritise your time effectively. Keep in mind your most pressing deadlines, plan ahead and prioritise clients and customers effectively.

Related: 6 Steps To Go From Procrastinating To Productive

Me-time with a twist

Self-management impacts on your personal effectiveness and includes managing yourself and your time, being responsible for your achievements and being accountable for your results and successes. In business, if you prioritise a company’s time more efficiently, it can lead to improved customer service, improved delivery, increased profits, and increased market shares.

Imagine what it could do for you if you made the mind shift to prioritise your time and self-regulate your time daily?

Visualise that empty inbox

Start by removing thoughts of procrastination and imagine yourself as a “doer.” Think of the benefits of becoming a doer. What would our work life be like if we organised our tasks in order of importance, and not in order of enjoyment? What would it feel like to be thought of as someone who “got things done” and was “reliable?” How would we handle our paperwork? Imagine having an empty in-tray.

Critically, managing your time and self-regulating the hours, minutes and seconds in a work day will free up time for the people that matter in your life. Go watch that ballet recital or cricket game you never have time for. Have a coffee with a fellow entrepreneur and see how these small acts of rewarding you for time well spent, with energise you in your daily tasks.

Ditch the time wasters

A Time Waster is anything (or anyone) that doesn’t contribute to your daily goals or your To-Do List. Many of these time wasters have become a natural part of our work style. Now is the time to change – to reverse the process. It will take time and effort to get rid of time-wasting habits. Research shows that it takes approximately 21 days to change a habit.

For example, at first, we will have to make a conscious effort to keep our meetings on track. If things are dragging on, we need to stand up and indicate that the meeting is over (if you are running it), or to be excused (if your input is no longer required). This applies to all the time-wasting habits we have acquired.

Related: The Tools That 5 Highly Productive Entrepreneurs Use

It may be uncomfortable at first to tell a colleague that you are busy and unable to chat – but as you get used to being assertive and as they get accustomed to the fact that you are not always available – then it will become easier.

More tips to deal with time wasters

  • Fix a time for paperwork and admin;
  • Have clear daily objectives;
  • Delegate work as needed;
  • Group your telephone calls;
  • Be assertive with unannounced visitors.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending