When you first start your business, it can feel that you could do this 24/7—because it’s your passion! But owning or operating a small company can be taxing after the thousands of hours required to run it, and may cause increased feelings of stress and anxiety. When these feelings are left unattended, job duties may lead to burnout.
To avoid job burnout, try these ten tips:
- Celebrate accomplishments. Take a short breather and give yourself a pat on the back for even the smallest achievement. This will help boost your morale while increasing your energy level and desire to be productive. It also will help you pace yourself instead of spreading yourself too thin on a regular basis.
- Get support. Find someone you can talk to within your office. Share struggles, celebrate accomplishments, and encourage one another. Don’t isolate yourself from co-workers. Have a trusted friend, mentor, or family member who can also be there to encourage and advise you during your most stressful times. Someone outside looking in can help you identify areas that you’re accepting as “normal” when they really should be addressed.
- Try to remove the “little” stressors. Identify those minor things that tend to add to your stress. For example, create a work environment where you’ll want to spend a good amount of time. Remove any clutter and have an organized and welcoming work area. Get rid of anything that gets in your way, like extra cords or things that just take up space. Keep your area comfortable so your productivity can thrive.
- Take breaks. Avoid eating on the run. Give yourself the time to sit and eat your lunch or drink your coffee without checking emails, answering phone calls, or attending meetings. If a full lunch hour isn’t realistic, small breaks throughout the day can give you a chance to re-energize and focus on the tasks ahead. Or, try taking a couple hours off here and there. “It’s easy to get sucked in and say ‘I need to be here to do this, that, and the other,’” says Eric Squires, General Manager at Three Crowns Coffee. “It’s easy to think that you have to be at work all the time, especially in the beginning. The reality is that no one is indispensable. So allow yourself to take a morning, or an afternoon, or even a few extra hours off every so often. It doesn’t have to be once a week, but you can afford a bit of breathing room here and there.”
- Find additional outlets. It’s important to have activities you enjoy doing outside of work. These hobbies can encourage creativity, physical activity, or meet social needs. Taking the time to focus on other interests is important when avoiding burnout. Amanda Strnad, a dance instructor at The Studio Atlanta Dance, says, “Job burnout is especially dangerous when you’re working in your field of passion. Having additional hobbies has helped me immensely after reentering the dance field post-burnout. I even hold a part-time job on a golf course to mix things up a bit. This helps me work from a place of rest instead of constantly resting from work.”
- Unplug after hours. If you are not on-call, unplugging from work email and phone calls after working hours can help you focus on things you enjoy outside of the office and provide that much-needed break. “Americans are particularly resilient, and we can muscle our way through many things,” says Squires, “including a crazy work schedule, and stressful periods. But we often do it to our detriment. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.”
- Delegate. When possible, assign tasks to others. If your to-do list is overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. “A good mark of management is knowing who you can delegate to and what you need to do yourself,” says Squires. “Make sure you have people in place who will be able to do their jobs well and take responsibility whether you’re there or not.” For more tips on delegating, read this article in the Saltsha Academy.
- Focus on your personal health. Exercising, avoiding processed foods, and getting enough sleep can help you maintain health and higher energy levels throughout the day. “I know from personal experience,” says 212 Media Studios Senior Content Specialist Leilani Squires, “that working when utterly exhausted is detrimental to your abilities to work productively, communicate effectively, and even just be able to anticipate details that would normally be easy. You really do have a physical limit. And if you don’t take care of your health, you will eventually crash—no matter how much coffee you consume.”
- Take a vacation. Getting away from work entirely and doing things that you find relaxing is crucial to avoiding burnout. When you find that your stress or anxiety levels cannot be helped by the previous suggestions, it may be time to get away. “To avoid job burnout,” says 212 Media Studios Content Specialist Ashley Mazelin, “I take a vacation day, or a personal day. If I don’t, I get sick.”
- Don’t fear. “Don’t be afraid of burnout,” says Katy Backode, Product Marketing Specialist at Calamos Investments. “If it happens, it happens. You can beat it! Burnout from pursuing your career path is not failure, just another part. You will pick yourself back up. You will move on.”