How to Avoid Burnout as an Entrepreneur
Statistics show that nine out of ten startups will fail in the first 18 months. While that may be a somewhat daunting statistic and there are many reasons for startups to fail, sheer burnout may top the list. In addition, even if your startup makes it past 18 months, you're still not out of the woods and the hard work doesn't stop. Building a successful startup doesn't do a whole lot of good if it destroys you in the process. Here are 4 ways to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur.
1. Make downtime sacrosanct
Whether it's making sure you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night or take one full day off every week, you need time to rest, refresh and recharge your batteries. You can't run very long on drained batteries. Remember that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Not only will you enjoy the process more, but you will weather it better by carving out downtime and honoring it religiously. In fact, you could learn a lot about building a successful business from the training regimens of professional athletes and marathon runners.
2. Eat healthy and exercise
Food is a source of fuel for the body. If you are living on takeout and vending machines, you aren't giving your body the fuel it needs to get you through the long haul. Exercise creates endorphins and actually gives you far more energy than those energy drinks you might be tempted to consume by the gallon. If you know someone that just seems to be constantly energetic, it's a good bet they eat healthy and exercise regularly.
3. Take some quiet time each day to engage in contemplative practices
Some of the most successful people with the most crowded and busy schedules make it a daily practice to take some quiet time each day to simply think, plan, strategize, reflect or ponder. Some pray, some meditate, some read inspirational books or stories while others do yoga, tai chi or engage in some other meditative or contemplative practice. Some take the time to order their thoughts, while others make it their goal to simply "get out of their own head." Remember that as a human being, you are more than just a body. Burnout generally comes from not taking care of yourself on all levels.
4. Take time for the people that matter most
As a busy entrepreneur, you will have to miss any number of social events and even let go of some less important relationships. All of this is fine, natural and expected. You only have so much time in your day and emotional energy to maintain relationships. You will naturally need to pour the majority of these into your business. It is important, however, that you keep a certain amount of time and energy reserved for your most important relationships. The concept of work life balance is something of a misnomer in the sense that our work life and personal life is almost never going to be equally divided 50/50 - and it doesn't need to be. There will be some seasons in life when you need to devote your primary energies to business and other seasons where work will need to take a back burner to your private life. While your work and personal life may rarely be balanced 50/50, they also won't last long on a 90/10 split either.