If you’re any kind of entrepreneur, you already know about burnout. There’s nothing quite like the stress of starting your own company. Suddenly, you are personally responsible for fixing every problem and making every critical decision--nevermind the fact that your family’s financial future is on the line.
Clever entrepreneurs start cautiously and grow steadily. But it’s almost inevitable that at some point you will try to take on too much.
In the words of Dale Partridge, “Often entrepreneurs bite off way more than they can chew, hoping they will quickly learn to chew it. But more times than not, they choke and die.”
I was nearly a casualty myself, at one time trying to balance a full-time career, my young family, and my startup. The pressure was paralyzing, and swallowing stress around my loved ones only made things worse. I realized that the harder I worked, the more unbalanced my life became and the more my startup stalled. Something had to change or my entrepreneurial dreams were going to end in burnout.
I pumped the brakes on my impending projects and started researching how to bring balance into my chaotic world. With the help of the StartupCamp curriculum, I developed working strategies and my stress decreased. I was able to get traction on my startup, stay on top of my full-time job, and enjoy every second with my family.
Sound too good to be true? Then you’re probably at risk of becoming a victim of entrepreneurial burnout. Do you look at your weekly schedule and just not know how to make sense of it? Do you feel like you’re drowning under the weight of your responsibilities? You don’t need a magic bullet to rescue yourself. You just need to shift focus and follow my principles of Consistency, Personal Health, and Relationships. You just need a little CPR!
“All highly successful people, all professionals that operate at the top of their fields—the masters—are all consistent.” Grant Cardone, sales expert & bestselling author
We become successful by methodically and persistently making small steps forward. By breaking your largest tasks into smaller steps and building those increments of time into your weekly or daily schedule, you create a consistency that keeps you from becoming paralyzed.
Start by using a planner to block out your schedule and prioritize your most important tasks. Tools like the Eisenhower Matrix can help you decipher which things are most urgent and important.
Since you are now planning your days, weeks, and months, go ahead and schedule in some downtime. You need this space to recharge and get perspective on your toughest problems. While you’re at it, schedule in some time to celebrate your successes, even relatively small ones. By looking at where you started and how far you have come, you’ll stay motivated and focused!
"Your ultimate goal as an entrepreneur is not to have a successful start-up; your ultimate goal is to live a successful life. Your goal is to have it all. If your startup is successful and your health is poor you, don't have it all." Dale Partridge
As entrepreneurs, we often put everything other than business on the back burner, especially our mental, emotional, and physical health. Many of the qualities that make us effective entrepreneurs--passion, competitiveness, and an all-in mindset--just make that dynamic worse!
Do you feel like time to care for yourself is selfish and indulgent? Don’t be deceived. Research has shown that overworked individuals are likely to suffer from a laundry list of conditions including high blood pressure, chest pain, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. If you’re constantly feeling exhausted and/or sick, every area of your life is going to suffer, especially your business.
Simply put, to be successful entrepreneurs need to keep themselves healthy.
At minimum, set aside 20-30 minutes every day to exercise. Your workout should include something that gets your heart pumping! It stimulates the mind and increases those feel-good endorphins.
Take some time each week to plan your meals. This doesn’t require you to prepare them; just ensure that you have healthy choices available throughout the week. Don’t skip meals! Despite accounting for just 2% of your body weight, your brain uses about 20% of the calories you consume. You need that food to keep it working efficiently.
Finally, pamper yourself once in awhile! Go get that pedicure, or play a round of golf. Find some time to just sit and enjoy the silence. A healthier you will make better decisions, work more efficiently, and save time and money!
“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” Tony Robbins
Last, but certainly not least, it is imperative to nourish your relationships with friends and loved ones. These people are your greatest supporters, sounding-boards, and cheerleaders. Having them in your corner will give you much needed energy and creativity.
Healthy relationships require quality time, and that means time where you are present and focused on those relationships. Stick to your set working hours and put your phone and computer away when you are with your loved ones, even if it’s just for a half an hour a few times per week. For more help setting these boundaries, check out this article by fellow StartupCamp team member, Ben Sturgill.
At the same time, take advantage of technology. Business apps like Zoho One, Hootsuite, DocuSign, and eVoice are just a few that can save you time (and money). Just be sure to reallocate the time you save to your spouse, children, or friends. It’s easy to pour every minute of free time into your startup!
Remember why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? Most of us would probably say it was to gain freedom over our schedules or provide a better life for our loved ones. Ironically, it’s these relationships that suffer the most when we fail to prioritize them. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As Dale Partridge reminds us, “Don’t be too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
Balancing a new startup business with your full-time job and your home life is challenging, but not impossible! Avoiding entrepreneurial burnout is really about organizing your time in a way that focuses on prioritizing and rejuvenating yourself. It takes practice and patience, but once you set your mind to developing Consistency, Personal Health, and Relationships, you will reach a whole new level of productivity and joy.
This is where a program like StartupCamp can really make a huge difference in your entrepreneurial success. It’s focused on more than just making your business life successful--it’s focused on making your whole life successful.