If you’ve launched a business, you undoubtedly know the stress that goes along with the territory. Long hours and even longer to-do lists can take their toll on your energy, health, and general well being. And it’s inevitable that at times your initial passion and excitement will be dampened by the realities of less-than-glamorous, day-to-day tasks.
Unchecked, all this pressure and tedium can lead to entrepreneurial burnout.
I’ve always thought that starting a business requires a little insanity, but you don’t want that business to send you over the edge. Here’s how you can stay sane and avoid burnout while running and growing your business:
1. Prioritize your time. For most entrepreneurs, effective time management isn’t an organizational issue. It’s a prioritization issue.
To work in a sustainable fashion, you’ll need some semblance of work-life balance! Think about everything that competes for your time, then decide what to keep and what to discard. You’ll also need to communicate clear expectations for yourself and others. In some cases, this might mean saying “No.” Maybe this word doesn’t come naturally to you, but trust me — you’ll be happier and healthier if you manage your time on your own terms.
2. Get a hobby. As an entrepreneur, you’re passionate about your business and you’re going to put everything you have into making it thrive. There’s always going to be something you need to get done — email to send, more prospects to find, more blog posts to write.
But working on your business around the clock will catch up with you and result in burnout. It’s critical to spend some of your time doing something you love besides your business. This can be reading, gardening, spending time with friends, even brainstorming a new business. Forcing yourself to switch gears will reactivate other parts of your brain. And most likely, you’ll be much more productive and creative when you do get back to your business.
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Always make some time in your day or week for exercise, no matter how hectic your schedule gets. Working out helps you release stress, stay disciplined, and concentrate without distractions. Physical activity helps your body pump out more of those feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins, that will keep your mood up even when days get a little tough.
4. Offload your least favorite tasks. For many of us, burnout sets in with the day-to-day doldrums of running a business. Let’s face it, there are going to be certain aspects of your business that you just don’t like. Maybe it’s accounts payable, dealing with your Internet service, or keeping up with your company’s daily blog. Figure out what tasks are bringing you down and look to offload them.
I know that when you’re just starting out or in a tough economy, it’s natural to want to tighten the purse strings. And in many cases, this is the only realistic option. However, you should consider what you could gain by handing over certain tasks to contractors, employees, even interns or volunteers. By getting help, you can focus on why you started business in the first place (your passion) and what’s going to keep you in business (revenue).
5. Help another entrepreneur. The human entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. If you’re feeling burned out, mentor or collaborate with another entrepreneur. Talking with another entrepreneur, you’ll sense their excitement. And helping someone else will boost your mood and sense of purpose. These two things will reignite your initial passion — and make you feel lucky to be running a business.
Of course, the keys to avoiding burnout will be different for everyone; what’s important is discovering what strategies work for you. Have you found any unique ways to stay sane, minimize the stress, and stay excited day in and day out?
Original Content written by Nellie Akalp for AllBusiness.com.