12 Simple Steps Business Owners Can Take to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is a real risk for small business owners. Here are 12 tips to follow if you think you’re at risk.

Many people experience burnout at some point in their lives. Business owners and the self-employed are even more likely to fall prey to burnout because the buck stops with them. If you feel as if you’re starting to burn out here are some things you can do to avoid it.

1. Take care of #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 by honoring what’s important for you.

RELATED: How to Take a Vacation When You Run a Small Business

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 readjust. Shorten your to-do list, 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 do that leads to burnout. 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.

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.

© 2001-2004, Susan Martin, Business Sanity. All rights reserved. No duplication without written authorization.

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