The festive season was a time of high customer volumes, with small business owners often working even longer hours than usual -often with no break. This is particularly true in the retail industry. This level of stress can lead to burnout which can have detrimental effects on an entrepreneurs ability to run a business. Given the pressures of today’s world, how does one prevent burnout?
- Take Control
Today’s fast paced world is all about the idea of hard work and the constant grind. The effect is that many people find themselves stressed and anxious. This stress often turns to burnout, because people don’t know how to manage it. This is usually because they have not accepted that they have reached their threshold and continue to push themselves harder than they can handle. You need to have the difficult conversations with yourself. Are you really ok?
Read 5 burnout warning signs (and how to respond): https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272979
The most important way to prevent burnout is to be aware of how much you are working and whether you are taking good care of yourself. This means taking control of your workload, work hours and how you spend any leisure time. The first step is effective time management, good prioritisation, and consolidating your tasks into daily, monthly and yearly personal goals. This will help you feel more in control of your job and your time.
2. Be Accountable
As a small business owner, the buck stops with you. Your employees rely on you to be at your best and lead them effectively. Burnout and emotional exhaustion make it near impossible to do that. It is one thing to recognise that you may be on the road to burnout but quite another to make the necessary changes. After all, when you are running a business there always seems to be one more thing to do. One way to make sure you keep to the goals you have set is to have someone you can rely on to keep you accountable to them. You also just need someone you can vent to, discuss issues and ideas. Make sure you are honest with him/her and yourself about how much you are doing and when.
3. Create some room
Many entrepreneurs will read this and wonder where they can even find the time to slow down when they are trying to build a business. The key is not working into the night but rather HOW you work. The most important thing is to delegate and prioritise. Do you really need to be there for the stock take or can your manager handle it? Is that a meeting or would an email or phone call be sufficient? Find little ways to give yourself more hours in the day. It’s also important to empower your staff - what alleviates you will often be a way to up-skill them which can only aid your business.
4. Learn to manage stress
Stress, particularly over a long period, can contribute to/ cause burnout which is why it’s important to learn to effectively manage stress. There are many strategies you can use to manage your stress levels, starting with adjusting your thinking. Be careful of negative thoughts and the way that you speak to yourself. Also creative outlets and physical activities such as exercise are important for relieving stress and giving yourself an outlet. Meditation and a grateful mindset will take you far.
5. Stop making excuses
Start making changes right now. Not when things calm down or you can finally afford to hire some extra staff, right now. Make yourself a priority, your business can survive it.