It’s hard to deny that starting your own business requires a significant amount of time, energy and intense dedication to hitting your goals.
As an entrepreneur, you are going to be more susceptible to burnout than most other professionals, which is due largely in part to how many hours entrepreneurs find themselves actually wanting to work, and how hard they push themselves to succeed.
It happens far too often. Business owners will neglect their own personal needs, moving them even closer to the point of burnout, until they hit rock bottom and wonder how their situation got to be so bad.
As they begin facing burnout, their business begins to suffer, their personal relationships start taking a hit, and they’re left trying to figure out how to recover.
Before you find yourself in this situation, learn some of the more common reasons that entrepreneurs get burned out, and then figure out how you can avoid making those same mistakes yourself.
Below are 10 of the most common reasons entrepreneurs burn out.
1 – Not Delegating
Your business got to where it’s at because you were behind the wheel, and it’s hard to find someone that will treat it the way you do.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to actually do everything, though. Delegating some of the responsibilities to people who know what they’re doing in those roles can save your sanity.
At the end of the day, you have the same number of hours as everyone else around you. By surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people, you can increase how many hours are being put into your business from day to day.
You can quit stressing yourself out with the more mundane tasks and put people in place to handle them while you focus on the higher level, executive tasks.
2 – Staying Too Focused
Being in the zone is a great place to be when you’re building your business. However, staying in the zone too long can cause you to lose focus on other areas of your life. Tunnel vision is a real problem for many entrepreneurs, and is one of the biggest reasons for them to get burned out.
You can only stay in the zone for so long before you start feeling the effects, and exhaustion begins to take over your mind and your body. It’s critical that you figure out a balance between your work life and your personal life, to avoid getting caught up in the zone.
3 – Not Eating Properly
Too many entrepreneurs skip meals to make sure they’re able to get more done during the day. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, skipping meals and then binge eating unhealthy foods can wreak havoc on your mind.
Not eating properly makes you function at a lower level, destroys your productivity, and affect your sleeping patterns, making it difficult for you to focus when you really need to.
Taking an hour in the morning, and an hour in the afternoon to make sure you’re getting healthy meals into your body can do more for you than you might think. Avoiding these healthy foods can spell disaster for your productivity, and your business.
Avoid running yourself ragged, causing more problems in an effort to help save yourself some time or thinking that you’re going to get more done.
4 – Setting Unrealistic Goals
Goals are a requirement if you’re going to build a successful and profitable business. However, unrealistic goals can do more harm than good.
Having unrealistic expectations for yourself or your employees can be a major problem for many entrepreneurs, and will only set you up to constantly feel like either you’re failing, or they’re failing you, leading to even bigger issues down the road.
No business that has become successful ever became successful overnight. However, business owners that did try to become an overnight success have gone through fatigue, stayed discouraged, and exhausted themselves out.
To avoid this, make sure that you have set realistic expectations for you and the people around you, and that you’re focusing on both short-term goals and long-term goals.
5 – Failing To Maintain Boundaries
Boundaries don’t just exist in your personal life. The same way that you have certain things that you won’t accept from the people in your personal life, you need to set realistic boundaries for what you will and won’t accept in your business.
When you decide that you are no longer working, you need to completely shut off and avoid work. This means not letting your clients get in touch with you, and not giving your employees any of your time.
Likewise, when you’re turned on, you need to be completely available to your employees and your clients and customers. This will help them figure out that when you’re not at work you’re unavailable, but when you are at work they have your full attention.
Taking the time to recharge when you’re not at work is critical to your performance while you are at work, so make sure you have boundaries set for everyone you’re involved with.
6 – Living In Denial
Even though you may understand what causes burnout, you may not necessarily be aware that you are currently feeling the effects. And if you are aware, you may be completely denying it, pushing yourself even harder to “bust through” the burn out.
Burying your head in the sand and forcing yourself through isn’t going to make the situation any better than it is right now.
If you’re denying that you may be currently dealing with the effects of burn out, or could be on your way to getting completely burned out, you’re going to need to step back now.
Dealing with it “later” will never actually happen and, by then, it could actually be too late. The damage could already be done. Step back, take a break, regain your composure, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, then come back with a renewed energy.
7 – Losing Sight Of The Prize
Whenever you’ve buried yourself in the trenches, finding solutions to problems that have been hanging over your head can be difficult to do.
Getting away from the business, even for an hour at a time, can help you recharge your batteries and gain new insights on the problems that you’re facing. It’s easier to look outside in than it is to try and find solutions to problems when you’re caught up in the day to day.
Losing sight of the prize because you’re focusing too hard can be as dangerous as depriving yourself of sleep or eating unhealthy foods all of the time.
When you feel your energy starting to wane, or are finding it harder to figure out solutions to problems you once had instant solutions for, you need to take a step back and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
8 – Avoiding The Hard Work
As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to slow down. Your employees, on the other hand, probably have zero problems taking a few minutes here and there to regain their composure.
While you may want your employees to grind as hard as you do, you could actually take a lesson out of their book and step yourself for a few minutes every hour.
Like everything else on this list, though, the real magic happens when you find a balance. If you are constantly taking a break to avoid doing the hard work that you know needs to be done, you need to step back into your role and get it done.
On the other side of that same coin, if you’re not taking breaks so you can avoid the hard work, filling your schedule up with the easy tasks, get the hard work done first. Allowing it to stack up on you can create a situation where you’re burned out and don’t have the energy to get all of the “hard” work done.
9 – Getting Irritated
As you start getting to work, you realize that everything is bothering you, big or small. Your assistant can’t seem to do anything right. Your employees are dropping the ball. Your clients are frustrating you.
When this happens, you have to look at the situation from an outside perspective. Chances are high that if all of these situations are happening at the same time, those people aren’t the problem, you are. And you could be burnt out.
You’ve put those people in place around you because they can help you and your clients are the perfect people to work with. That means they haven’t suddenly changed, something in you has.
If you find yourself dealing with frustrations all of the time, you probably aren’t eating right, sleeping right, or taking good care of yourself. It’s time to take better care of yourself, relax, take a break, and come back reinvigorated.
10 – Trying To Understand Burnout
If you are trying to figure out why entrepreneurs face burn out, or whether or not you may be facing it, you’re probably knee deep in it, or well on your way to becoming burned out.
Taking the time away from your business, unplugging from your employees and your clients, spending some time on yourself and with your family, and remembering why you are doing what you’re doing can help you save your sanity.
Start setting new priorities in your life, and then remember that building a successful business is like running a marathon. It isn’t a sprint, and thinking you can be an overnight success will only wear you out even more than you are now.
Focus on sticking around for the long haul, and build long-term plans that help you hit those goals.