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Entrepreneurship comes with many challenges, and eliminating burnout is almost impossible. First, you constantly look at the tons of milestones you’ve set for the year, and you get aghast if you will ever accomplish them.
Then, you think to yourself, only if I can put in more energy – as if the one you have been putting in before wasn’t enough. But the fact is, it is never enough until you start seeing yourself staring at an empty mirror without the right motivation to work.
According to Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneurs are more prone to burnout due to their extreme passion for work, social isolation, limited safety nets, and operating in high uncertainty.
In other words, the volumes of responsibilities entrepreneurs frequently deal with, ranging from financial responsibility, risks, government policy, and many others, is enough to push one to the edge of burnout.
It is crazier if you are building a startup. I constantly feel this when starting my company, Insight.ng. I hardly had any choice but to seek solace in Elon Musk’s quote, “Running a startup is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass-chewing never ends.”
I occasionally pat myself on the back and say, “You are being resilient”. After all, it is an expression I have had to steal from Tony Elumelu. “Be resilient”
Meanwhile, this very “resilient spirit” burns most entrepreneurs.
How? Because you constantly want to beat the odds. I once had a conversation with a fellow entrepreneur, Mr. Olufemi Akinyemi, the founder of a platform for hiring Experts in Nigeria and the CEO of Microflex Limited. He confided in me that he occasionally gets scared and wonders how far he can go before he throws in the sheet.
We both laughed. Because giving up is, of course, off the table. So instead, we would rather embrace burnout.
I mean, when you have to jump from one thing to another. These seconds, you are thinking of possible untapped business ideas in Nigeria. In the next second, you are thinking of creating articles or other possible resources for your website audience.
Another good friend of mine, Ezeani MacDonald, the CEO of Mackiestdon.com, shared a very similar opinion when we discussed what it is like to start a blog in Nigeria.
What is Burn out
According to Mental Health UK, Burnout is the state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It often occurs due to prolonged physical, emotional, and mental stress.
As an entrepreneur, if you continuously engage in long-term stress at work or get emotionally drained due to some project, you may experience a total breakdown in productivity.
9 Productivity Tips to Manage burnout as an Entrepreneur
1. Be flexible; Don’t overwhelm things
When it comes to entrepreneurship, deadlines never end. It is even funnier that you will likely set up another one immediately if you crush the goal before the deadline.
After all, that is all in the spirit of entrepreneurship, which is great. However, what happens when you can’t attain this goal before the deadline? Beat yourself up?
I recently coined a quote when I was overwhelmed with a series of projects I have in line, from Insightpreneur webinars to wanting to publish a book on Amazon KDP.
“Deadlines are for employees; milestones are for entrepreneurs”. Taiwo Sotikare. So, feel free to hang this on your office wall. It can help relieve you during burnout.
2. Map Out the Real Stress – they are the real enemy.
Let’s start with entrepreneurship stress management tips.
Firstly, many entrepreneurs are multiskilled and multitasking. Hence, they get tempted to want to handle all tasks themselves.
For example, you may be a great writer and equally still be good at graphics, SEO, video editing, and even coding. However, moving from one role to another will quickly burn you out. Instead of doing that, scrutinize your collections of skills. Then, collect the ones that burn you out faster and strike them out of your list.
In my case, I don’t like going near anything graphics. Not even ordinary Canva. Not that I don’t know how to design. I do. But it gives me a headache. I can use Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other design software as much as anyone in my company’s creative team. But the headache is enough reason to know that the task is not for me.
3. Ease yourself of Productivity Guit; no amount of work will do the magic
Productivity guilt is when you constantly feel you are not doing enough, especially during a few short breaks. The feelings make you feel like you do not deserve any iota of rest.
Like you’ve got to work till thy kingdom comes. The feelings are natural, and it would be best if you learn how to ease yourself. Remember, no amount of work will do the magic. “Problem no dey finish”.
4. Delegate – make your subordinates Intrepreneurs
Knowing when and how to delegate is one key factor that defines an entrepreneur. You will constantly have to battle entrepreneurial stress and burnout if you are uncomfortable delegating tasks to your employees.
Are you into a series of online businesses or affiliate marketing programs?
Trust your subordinates. Train them to match your desired standard and let them do the magic.
5. Celebrate your wins with holidays and vacation
Entrepreneurship is like a never-ending journey. And there will constantly be a lot of milestones to be crushed. It just never finishes.
Even trillion-dollar companies like Microsoft, Apple, and others still continuously roll out new products in the market and constantly update their goals for the next 5 and 10 years. That is why someone like Elon Musk keeps working, even to the extent of living within the domicile of Tesla Factory.
What is the message here?
You don’t have to wait until you are a billionaire before you go on a vacation. After each win, give yourself a week or two vacation slots.
Ensure you do the vacation somewhere far from your usual working space. Consider having someone in the office to take care of all the responsibilities. Make sure they don’t have to update you frequently. Instead, guide them to be able to effect simple projects in your absence.
6. Get yourself social friends – You need it
Some people are naturally social. If you give them the space, they will bring out the social life in you. This should give you hints on why Donald Trump is constantly attracted to Models. Remember, he is also a hard-working billionaire in the Real Estate industry.
You can also say the same about Elon Musk and Talulah Eile, an actress. As an entrepreneur, having a friend that takes you to social events like clubs, parties, hang out, and gyms will go a long way in reducing burnout and stress. And trust me, you will enjoy your time.
7. Join an entrepreneur networking club
After constantly battling entrepreneurship burnout and guilt, I resorted to networking with other entrepreneurs. I noticed my brain considers the time spent communicating with fellow entrepreneurs productive and, at the same time, relieving.
That is why my brand, Insight.ng, recently launched Insight Elite Networking, where we have a networking group primarily for entrepreneurs. It is fun and still helps you be productive.
For example, I may have had to decline social invitations and calls. Instead, I will pick up my phone to have a chitchat with fellow business owners, MacDonald. During one of our recent conversations, I learned about the best WordPress hosting I could use for my website.
As an entrepreneur, you should consider joining a community of like minds in your industry. This community will also give you more business tips and, at the same time, help you relax. It is as fun and exciting as catching a cruise on a ship.
8. Take a recess – figure it out
At times, taking a recess to strategize is way more effective than burning yourself out on a product with a slight tendency to survive, let alone be successful.
As an entrepreneur, you must constantly remind yourself that productivity is not about the working hours but the amount of success you can record. You can read some of the top business blogs in Nigeria. I love Businessworld.Africa. It is worth exploring too.
When you aren’t in the best state of mind, normalize taking a break and look for a way to solve the problem on your drawing board. This is a period you should spend time with your loved ones. You may be shocked that a smile on your wife’s face may inject the right idea to complete the work (wink).
Dear entrepreneurs, we all know how crazy burnout can be if we do not take adequate care. I understand we need to crush our 5 years milestone and the long journey we still have ahead of us.
However, the fulfillment of this goal is equally tied to our health. And on this note, I leave you with these eight tips for avoiding burnout. As I have explained above, prioritize your health.
About The Author
Taiwo Sotikare is a business enthusiast passionate about helping small businesses grow through effective content marketing. Taiwo helps small businesses generate more leads and sales via SEO. In addition, he creates content that hits Google’s front page, where thousands of targeted customers can easily access their products and services. You can contact him via [email protected]
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