Six Tips for Fighting Business Burnout

Small Business

Controlling your reaction to stressors is key

Do deadlines rule your life? Is time your worst enemy? For business owners and entrepreneurs in particular, the sense of urgency to get as much accomplished in as little time as possible can become all-consuming. Throw in the added pressure of maintaining a realistic work-life balance, and you might just be looking at a serious case of business burnout.

Burnout hampers your ability to make smart decisions, kills creativity, and even leads to medical issues. Here are six tips that can help you fight business burnout and put a kick back in your step.

1. Identify the triggers. As a business owner, you are responsible for all aspects of your business: no mean feat for any human being. So it’s no surprise that certain aspects of running your business can quickly become problems that weigh you down with anxiety.

Start by taking stock of tasks and situations that regularly cause you stress. Does your in-box rule your life? Do you dread business presentations or sales calls? Working with difficult customers can also be extremely stressful. Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can start to address them.

2. Reframe your reaction. In most instances, people overreact to stress to the point that they distort the object of the stress. Experts suggest trying to counter reactions to an uncomfortable situation by stepping back and telling yourself that it’s not the object of your stress that’s crippling you (e.g., a tight deadline) but what you’re telling yourself about the stress.

Instead of thinking “If I don’t meet this deadline, I’ll lose this customer or investor,” walk through some steps that can help you get a better grasp of the stressor. For example, ask yourself if the deadline is realistic. Work with your team or client to reassess workload and priorities.

The same applies to answering emails. The world won’t end if you don’t answer all your emails the moment they come in. Try to allocate blocks of time during the day to take care of pressures like managing your in-box, making collection calls, and so on.

3. Delegate. Delegating can dramatically reduce the strain you’re feeling; it also empowers employees to take a vested interest in your business success. Consider shedding some of your responsibilities to employees who have specific skills, are quick learners, or who show leadership potential.

If you are a solo entrepreneur, consider getting help from family members, temps, or independent contractors to support your short- and long-term needs.

4. Schedule “me” time. This is easier said than done, especially when you feel you’re responsible for being there for your customers and employees 100% of the time. If you struggle to find time for yourself during the week, try to manage your “me” time in blocks. Whether it’s an hour at the gym or a Friday afternoon game of golf, mark it on your calendar and manage your business around those times. You’ll feel surprisingly refreshed for it.

5. Find new challenges. Take your mind off stressors by finding new challenges. Reinvigorate your business by exploring new markets, new sales strategies, or new products. Or focus on making simple changes, such as conducting team-building exercises with employees or hitting the road to meet more customers.

6. Learn from others. Whether you are networking at a local chamber of commerce event or catching up with fellow business owners over lunch, getting out there and sharing your experiences and concerns with like-minded entrepreneurs can provide a sense of connection, motivation, and well being.

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