Being a small business owner in today’s fast-paced society can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. Even with all the stress, real hustlers know that true success lies in having balance. But first, what is burnout and what does it look like when you’re a start-up founder trying to make a difference?
Workplace burnout includes feelings of extreme exhaustion and frustration about your job. These feelings are often accompanied by a drastic drop in motivation and can be made worse by things like conflict between individuals (staff or clients), and financial pressures.
Being a pro at running a business takes time and plenty of do overs. And in a society that puts a lot of pressure on people to work the longest hours and sacrifice their time to get to the top, stepping back may make you feel like a failure. The key to not letting it get you down is knowing your limits and how far you can push yourself.
Because let’s be honest, what’s the point of all the success if you’re going to lose everything that gives life real meaning along the way: like healthy relationships, your personal wellbeing, and sincere happiness?
That’s why we’ve put together these 7 tips to help you manage stress so you can spend less time worrying and more time building a thriving start-up. Let’s get started!
1. Take Some Time Off
Although it seems counterproductive, making sure you take breaks is key to keeping you motivated, and feeling less burnt out. Even if you can’t vacation for weeks at a time, challenge yourself to unplug as often as possible - your business’s success depends on it. Whether it’s a weekend away, making Mondays a strict no-working day or turning off your notifications when the clock strikes 5, smaller bursts of intense rest can make all the difference. Sleeping well is also a total game-changer for your brain function and mood.
2. Prioritise Your Tasks
The work never truly stops when you’re running your own business and it’s easy to be overwhelmed if you’re not organised. That’s why you have to schedule your task in order of priority. Deciding which task are the most important and which ones can be moved around will give the chance to take a breather and will help you organise your operations in a way that’s efficient.
You can also slot your break times into your priority list so that you don’t forget to unplug when you need to.
3. Find New Inspiration
This one is probably the toughest to imagine when you’re feeling tapped out. When you’re burnt out, you might start to feel like what used to be your passion is now your prison. But when you pause and step back to clear your mind and rest, you’ll feel like a new person!
Anything can spark revolutionary ideas, from taking more walks out in nature to getting involved in various initiatives in the community you serve and getting to the root of their needs. Just make sure they stay true to your goals and what you’re trying to achieve with your product. And always remember, you do love what you do. That’s why you have to keep at it - even when the going gets tough.
Get inspired to change up your business. Read 16 Lessons from Successful Kasi Entrepreneurs.
4. Share the Work
A lot of entrepreneurs often find it difficult to ask for help from others because they believe they have to be independent to prove themselves. But as the age old saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work”. Delegating tasks and seeking support isn’t a sign of weakness - it’s proof that you’re a dedicated and determined leader who knows exactly what their business needs to succeed.
Nobody can do everything themselves. So, being able to delegate work to other people you can trust - whether they’re your employees, fellow collaborators or loving family members - could be exactly what you need to take you out of any rut you’re going through. Having someone you can talk to about the challenges of running a business will help you gain new perspectives and give you ideas for solving problems.
More people also means better accountability, which will push you to get organised and stay on top of your to-do lists and deadlines so you don’t spin out of control.
5. Rethink Your Business Model
If it’s been a few years since you’ve started your business and you’re feeling like you’ve reached your growth ceiling, re-evaluating your goals may be what you need to revive your momentum.
This could include changing your target market, updating your product offerings, or even looking for new and effective ways to interact with your customers. Maybe you need to use social media more or you need to switch-up how your team works to guarantee maximum productivity. Play around with a couple of options to find out what suits the business best.
Want to learn more about improving your business? Check out 5 Innovative Things Small Businesses Are Doing to Improve Their Efficiency!
6. Invest in Great Technology
Automation is like delegation on steroids because automated systems never get burned out. When you automate repetitive tasks like invoicing or stock taking, you save yourself time and reduce the risk of manual errors. You also lessen the number of tasks occupying your brain space, allowing you to focus on other important things like rest.
There are quite a few nifty (and free) automation tools you can use for your small business, like iK Invoice, which enables iKhokha merchants and businesses to create quick, smart, digital invoices. With real-time tracking, you can stay up to date on all your paid and outstanding invoices on-the-go.
Make sure all your payments are handled quickly. Read 15 Fool-Proof Ways to Get Paid on Time.
7. Celebrate the Good Moments
Last but not least of all, make sure you celebrate all your wins. Starting a business takes a lot of guts, grit and sacrifice and allowing yourself to fully appreciate everything you’ve achieved and overcome is important for your mental health. With the world around us rapidly changing, we tend to spend too much time in panic mode.
What we need to be doing more of is living more fulfilling lives and experiencing our hard-earned joy. So, live a little. Spend more time doing whatever makes you feel good. Be more intentional with your self-care so you can elevate your state of mind and get better at practicing a better lifestyle.
Make Better Choices
And there you have it, our 7 tips to help you manage your burnout and get inspired. Health looks different for everyone, but we all know when we’re not feeling okay. Listen to your body and prioritise the things are going to help you perform at your best all time.