Are you feeling overwhelmed and overworked as an entrepreneur? During a break in August, I learned six lessons to prevent burnout that are easy for you to implement. Entrepreneurs have the deepest internal desire for their businesses to succeed and will naturally do anything to make it so. Doing anything and everything doesn’t always lead to smart decisions that help us attain the lifestyle we intended to achieve by being business owners nor joy that we started our businesses with.
After six months of working five to seven days a week, I noticed that I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. Clear signs of burnout started when the desire to do the things necessary to run my business just wasn’t there. In other words, my discipline and decision making skills were lacking. The passion and enthusiasm my employees had for our company mission had dried up. I was also suffering more depressive episodes, which I noticed when I woke up with less motivation to rise and go to work or even run the Grouse Grind.
In athletic training terms, I had over-trained. At this time I was also feeling like a typical entrepreneur and believed that I had to do everything. Yet, as E-Myth and others describe entrepreneurs, we are the visionaries. We need to surround ourselves with others who are ready and capable to execute.
Sometimes athletes take up to six months to recover from over-training. My business was not in a self-sustaining mode at that moment, but changes had to be made. The first steps were two mini four-day vacations at the end of June and July.
Looking in late June, I could tell that by the first week of August my team was going to be in place and many of our clients were going to be on holiday. This is when I booked my first full week off in a long time, because I missed my traditional two weeks at Christmas due to preparation for the Olympics.
The week off wasn’t as restorative as I anticipated because:
1. It took me four days to unwind.
2. I had to ensure that my team had enough activities to keep them occupied and productive. So, I did invest a few hours mentoring each of my employees.
3. I needed to complete July month-end activities that others were not capable of doing.
During this break I had time to reflect and make a few discoveries. Even though the week didn’t go entirely as planned, I did rediscover my passion for writing and sharing my knowledge with others. Also, the business sustained itself during this time because my employees took good care of it.
Six Lessons I learned:
1. To pre-book holidays every 4-6 months or I will book clients in during those days.
2. When you have a great team in place, the business will be okay without you for a few days.
3. Book vacations when there are no activities that “I have to do” or at least figure out a way to delegate them.
4. Be disciplined about your recovery. Recovery is part of being sustainable. Not everything has to be done by Friday!
5. When I start to feel down and depressed, I am overworked. I will honour this signal and add more recovery time.
6. Find your passion. Honour yourself and your passion. One of mine is writing. When I mentioned to my clients that I want to write a book, they were as enthusiastic about it as I was!
I rearranged my schedule for the fall so that I am not with clients on Fridays, but still have the flexibility to mix in business development activities with physical activities such as the Grouse Grind and in the winter cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
What are you doing to prevent yourself from becoming a burnt out entrepreneur?