Chances are you are racing through this article. You might be sitting behind a desk, jogging to your next appointment, and answering 10 emails–all while racing through this article. If so, you are among the entrepreneurial majority–too much to do and simply not enough time.
And chances are your team is operating the same way - and running the risk of burning out. A national survey conducted by Career Builder on employee productivity showed that nearly half of employers are quite sure their employees are completely burnt out. From the worker’s perspective, a whopping 77% said there are times when they feel burnt out, and 43% said their stress-levels have significantly increased over the recent year. And I’d bet, based on my regular dialog with entrepreneurs, that 75% feel burned out.
If you want to succeed, you need to not only do your best, you need to feel your best. Entrepreneurial success is achieved by delivering the best product or service (doing your best) in an absolutely extraordinary way (feeling your best). That alone should be enough to convince you that you need to stop the burnout immediately.
Here is how you do it:
1. Commit to an end-of-day appointment. We fall into the trap of "getting just one more thing done," and the 6:00 end of day turns into a 10:00 end of day. To avoid this, set a firm appointment at the end of day, away from the office (maybe meet up at the gym with a friend, or join a league or go for massage). Do something that forces you to get away from the computer, to break the "just one more thing" habit.
2. Schedule a regular massage. Nothing brings relaxation and dumps burn out like massage. Not only is massage relaxing, it releases stress and makes your body feel rejuvenated. Another awesome benefit of a regular massage, is the great night’s sleep it brings. Massage also helps with other stress-inducing factors that may already be existent in your life such as arthritis, lower back pain, insomnia, headaches, and anxiety.
3. Work out. Exercise can decrease stress, and increase endorphins, your body's ‘feel-good’ chemicals. This will get rid of your burnout feeling, and give your mood a natural boost. The best stress relieving exercises tend to be those that are “high-energy” like weight training, boxing, or martial arts.
4. Stop expecting instant responsiveness. If you expect people to respond instantly, you will be on the edge of your seat constantly, and anxiety will build. Expectations have a mirroring effect, and if we pressure others, we in fact pressure ourselves. Be a little less demanding of others, and watch how your own pressures fade out.
5. Take a real vacation. Commit to a trip and make sure there is no cell or laptop access. Just because you aren't in the office, doesn't mean you are on vacation... only when you are totally disconnected can you recharge. Personally, I love heading up to Maine with my family. We go to a camp so far from "civilization" that not only is there no cell or wireless, the only radio station is a weak signal from Canada (in French). No TVs either! The result is total relaxation, lots of time watching wildlife and lots of time spent with my family. It is probably the best time of my life, every time.
6. Get one thing done. Tackle the most important thing in the morning. Get it done first. And reduce all distractions (I like to use a method I call Library Hours). Then when that one thing is done, celebrate - a nice walk, a cup of coffee, anything. Just take a short break from work, and appreciate that you have accomplished something. Celebrating accomplishments is one of the biggest ways of killing burnout for good.
Burnout and stress are not only unhealthy for your body as a whole, but they can also wreak havoc on your personal relationships, as well as put your company in jeopardy. The best way to combat burnout is to stop it before it even occurs. Take the actions above to avoid stress, and relax your mind. Encourage your team to do the same. Remember, entrepreneurial success depends on doing and feeling your absolute best!
Photo credit: Thinkstock