JOHANNESBURG - The modern workforce is tired and worn out. Advancements made in technology have resulted in the ability to always be online, always check mail, and to always be available for meetings.
In many cases, we cannot switch off and it means that no one truly rests after a day at the office. This is even more true for those who run their own businesses.
Entrepreneurs are, essentially, the face and brand of their business. In many cases, an hour that they are not working, is an hour not earning any money - and that is something that is always at the back of their minds.
These entrepreneurs are fiercely passionate and most obsessive about getting work done, servicing clients and ensuring that no ball is dropped. As a result, entrepreneur burnout is a real thing.
David Seinker, chief and founder of The Business Exchange, a South African-born co-working space, has a few tips on how to avoid entrepreneur burnout and how to ensure that you are taking care of yourself, all while taking care of your business.
Here are the five tips:
Make time for the things that keep you sane
"I have found that it is often easy to let time with family, friends and doing hobbies slide. You always think that your loved ones will understand and that there will always be time to do that fun activity another time,"
"It’s a slippery slope. If you do it too often, you will do it all the time, and soon enough you’re missing out on moments you used to enjoy being part of. If you say yes to an event, go to it. If you’ve planned a date night, stick to it, and if Sunday mornings are usually reserved for mountain bike rides, then commit to it. This way, your days aren’t only filled with work and you are giving your head and heart some time to re-energise," said Seinker.
Talk to other entrepreneurs
"You’re not the only one going through this. It’s easy to believe that a) our problems are unique and that b) we don’t want to burden other busy entrepreneurs with our problems, but you would be surprised at how easily other business owners are willing to talk about what they are going through and offer up some advice. No man or woman needs to be an island, and a good chat about shared issues can be very therapeutic and business beneficial," said Seinker.
Check in with yourself
"Don’t get so buried under the pressure and volume of work that you don’t even notice the signs of burnout. Take some time every now and then and check in with yourself. You can ask yourself questions such as “Am I easily irritated by small issues?”, “Do I feel tired and run down all the time?” and “Am I missing out on other parts of life because I’m working too much?”. If the answers to all of these questions is “yes”, then perhaps it’s time to take a bit of a breather," said Seinker.
Take some time off and don’t feel guilty
"If you need time off, take the time and don’t feel guilty about it. In fact, if you can regularly schedule a break, do it. Perhaps you could block out the first weekend of every month to just unplug and relax? Or the first week of a certain month for a mini-holiday with friends or family? Give clients notice well in advance, delegate tasks to other staff, if you have people working for you, and enjoy some guilt-free downtime," said Seinker.
Make sure you’re in an environment that allows you to thrive
"It is important that your work environment is relatively stress-free and allows you to thrive. If you, for example, work out of your garage surrounded by clutter, it is going to clutter your mind and add to your stress levels. If you’re working from home and you need to schedule an important meeting, so you have to scramble for a suitable meeting location, you will feel stressed," said Seinker.
"Take these small issues off your plate by making sure that your working environment puts you at ease rather than on edge. For example, at The Business Exchange members are able to book meeting rooms or boardrooms for important meetings. They can even have the team answer their calls and take messages - small ways to take some things off your plate. If you are working from home, ensure that you have set up your workspace as an area conducive to creative thinking and high output," said Seinker.