12 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout
by Susan Martin
Many people experience burnout at some point in their lives, but few are as susceptible to it as business owners and the self-employed.
After all, your income and the future of your business depend upon your ability to perform at your peak and make the right decisions, all the time.
There are no free rides here. With so much at stake, it's not uncommon for business owners to feel as if everything is riding on each decision. If the stresses and responsibilities of running a business are getting to you, here are some steps you can take:
1. Take care of Number 1. If you're run down, you'll burn out faster. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, exercise and de-stress on a regular basis.
2. Make the time to do nothing! We all need to take time to relax, refresh and replenish. Don't keep pushing yourself. Keep regular business hours and take breaks during your work day. Make sure to schedule in time off and vacations on a regular basis. You'll come back with a fresh outlook and perspective.
3. Get back in touch with the things you value. Is your work fulfilling and meaningful for you? If not, check in with your values. What's missing? Where are you compromising? What needs to be eliminated? What are you merely tolerating? Re-assess and re-adjust your priorities as needed. If you work for yourself, you're in control. Make the choices you want to make and honor what's important to you.
4. Think out of the box and challenge yourself consistently. If work has become a chore or you're in a rut, try spicing things up a bit! Find innovative ways to do mundane tasks, create new products or services to add to your offering, improve performance, or tweak what you do best and make it even better.
5. Establish realistic expectations for what you can and cannot accomplish. If you find that you're driving yourself or your employees too hard it may be time to let go of unrealistic expectations and re-adjust. Shorten your to-do list, prioritize, give yourself some slack when needed and know when to let up on yourself and others.
6. Learn how to communicate clearly. Resolve conflicts, don't run from them. Let people know what you expect from them, and ask them what they expect from you. Be clear and concise with what you say, and how you say it. Listen closely to the people around you, it will teach them to listen closely to you.
7. Manage your time. Poor time management is another thing we commonly do that leads to burnout. Just because you work for yourself doesn't mean you have to be available 24/7. Instead, set regular business hours. Make appointments with yourself to get things done – and keep them! Being on time counts: show up promptly for appointments and expect others to do the same.
8. Stop blaming yourself or others. If you're playing the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" game, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate your attitude. Blaming yourself or others for things that have gone wrong doesn't help. What does? Learn from your experiences and make changes to ensure that you get the results you want the next time.
9. Value yourself by establishing boundaries and limits. Learn how to do it in a way that clear and consistent. Don't give away too much of your time. Let people know your policies and procedures. Be upfront with what's acceptable and what's not. Learn how to say no.
10. Deal with your emotions. Keeping your feelings inside usually leads to trouble. If you are feeling any kind of negative emotion, don't deny it. Instead, learn how to acknowledge your feelings, be up front with them; and deal with the underlying causes.
11. Laugh, smile and enjoy the ride! Life is too short to worry and be serious all the time. Find ways to make your work fun and enjoyable – and make sure to make time to enjoy your personal life too.
12. Don't feel embarrassed to ask for help. Everybody needs a little help once in a while. You can't do everything yourself. Don't be afraid to ask friends or associates for help, or hire a professional when needed.
© 2001-2007, Susan Martin, Business Sanity.
Susan Martin, professional business coach, based in NYC, created Business Sanity to help business owners, executives and independent professionals who struggle with marketing, management and productivity; want to increase profits, avoid burnout and run their business most effectively. To find out how you can make more money with less effort and stress; visit Susan on the web at http://www.business-sanity.com , subscribe to Business Sanity Tips or schedule your free consultation.
Susan Martin may be contacted at http://www.business-sanity.com