The life of an entrepreneur is that of dichotomy. You need to be a driver, passionate about your purpose, positive in mindset, inspiring yourself to push forward, but you also need to keep it real, knowing your profit and loss numbers, where you need to scale and where to cut back.
“Jack of all trades, master of none” can be a real threat to one’s mental health, especially in those early days where you can’t afford to outsource to fill your knowledge gaps, so you have to hustle and work it out yourself. Burnout can be caused by both the volume and diversity of roles required and the impact it has on your physical and mental wellbeing.
Here are some tactics to help avoid burnout and yet keep your business moving onwards and upwards.
1. Attack the big rocks first
There is always something to be done in a business, it’s unlikely you will ever reach a point where you suddenly think everything is running smoothly and you can put your feet up. Even in the early days it is crucial that you train yourself to focus on the big rocks and what will bring you profit. Think big picture and don’t get bogged down with the minutiae, as this is the quickest way to feel overwhelmed and helpless. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be diligent and worry about the detail on occasion, but ultimately think big and look at your broader strategy, where you need to propel your business and remember done is better than perfect!
2. Schedule time when you don’t work
It can be so easy as an entrepreneur to work on your business in all of your spare time, but who actually has spare time these days anyway? It’s easy to pick up your laptop and, before you know it, three hours have passed. When I first started out I was spending ALL of my spare time working on the minutia of my business , whilst at the same time trying to upskill and learn new skills.
As I started to burn out, I realised I was spending a lot of time “working” but I wasn’t using my time efficiently. Ultimately I came to realise I needed to give myself permission to walk away and spend time with my family or even just by myself without feeling guilty. It didn’t mean I wasn’t serious or committed, but I’m not in a race and I needed to move forward a little slower and at my own pace. It also meant I worked more effectively when I was working, I still get my best ideas when I walk away and shift gears. Taking time for yourself needs to be given priority.
3. Get off social media
Whilst a fabulous tool for connecting with like minded entrepreneurs, (there are so many Facebook business communities you can learn from), social media can be problematic. Entrepreneurs love to shout out their wins, which is a great thing, but if you are having a bad week and are in the “trough of disillusionment” hearing about other people’s wins can almost induce panic if you feel like your business is not yet flourishing.
It’s also an incredible tool for procrastination, as you might go online to ask a question, but you know you can so easily fall down the “page feed rabbit hole” and waste an hour before you’ve realized. Identify when you need to be social and seek out community, or when it will just add to your stress levels and bring more clutter to your mindset.
Melanie Aslanidis, Founder, Beachside Collective