The following is a guest post by Aman Advani, Co-Founder and CEO of Ministry of Supply, a performance professional clothing company.
Running a startup is difficult, demanding work – so much so that it can cause you to completely fall apart. Here’s some advice on how to keep it together.
Picture this – you’re at the helm of a startup into which you’ve poured countless hours of work. It’s your pride and joy, and you couldn’t be happier at its success. Lately, however, you’ve noticed yourself falling behind.
You’re not working as efficiently as you used to. You’re finding yourself distracted, easily-frustrated, or simply fatigued. You’re burning out.
It’s an issue that’s terribly common amongst entrepreneurs. We’re a hardworking bunch, so much so that we’ve the tendency to forget that we have physical and emotional needs. That we aren’t robots who can simply pour every fiber of our being into our startup.
Take it from someone who’s dealt with burnout in the past – it isn’t insurmountable. There are strategies for dealing with it, and ensuring it doesn’t cause your entire life to crash and burn (and your company with it). Today, we’re going to go over three of the best.
1. Take Down Your Fatigue
Train yourself to recognize the signs that you’re on the verge of a breakdown:
-Exhaustion. Do you feel like you’re constantly running on empty? As though no matter how much sleep you get, it’s never enough? Like you’re constantly playing catch-up because you’re simply too tired to focus?
-Anxiety. Shortness of breath. Emotional paralysis. Chest pain. Dizziness. These are all signs and symptoms of a panic attack. Coupled with a sense of constant dread, this is as sure a sign of looming burnout as anything else.
-Barely Staying Afloat. Feeling overwhelmed by work that ordinarily wouldn’t be an issue for you? Feeling stressed about things that would usually slide off your back?
-Demotivated. Do you find yourself procrastinating for hours on end where before you.
By learning to recognize the warning signs that you’re beginning to fall apart, you’ll ensure you’re able to take action before you do. To that end, it’s important to understand that everyone has their own ideal routine – their own process that works best for them. Continue tweaking yours until you find one that doesn’t leave you feeling stressed at the end of the day.
To that end, always try to enjoy yourself when you’re working. Seek projects that inspire you. Work on things that allow you to stretch your legs and get creative.
The more you enjoy your work, the less likely you’ll be to burn out.
2. Pursue A Positive Work-Life Balance
Working on your business is important, sure – but it’s equally important for you to work on yourself. Think of your startup as a car, and yourself as the engine. In the same way that you need to regularly bring a vehicle to a mechanic for servicing, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your physical, psychological, and emotional needs.
Make relaxation time a priority. Schedule a bit of time each day where you can focus on anything that doesn’t involve work. Meditate, go for a run, play some games, spend time with your family.
Do something to relax – because otherwise, your business is basically a car with a dirty junker of an engine.
3. Seek Support
Human beings need support networks. We are social creatures through and through, and even the strongest man or woman will crumple if they don’t have people they can lean on every now and then. Don’t be afraid to turn to your friends, colleagues, or family members for help coping with your stress.
They’re close to you for a reason – and if they’re worth keeping in your life, they’ll be happy to support you however they can.
Don’t Burn Out
Entrepreneurial burnout is a real concern. By making yourself aware of it, you’ll be ready and able to deal with it. Keep working to change the world and build something great.