Strategies to Avoid Burnout When Launching Your New Business

Improving your work-life balance is critical to long-term success.
Burnout Wooden letters
To avoid burnout, take time each day to acknowledge the progress you've made. (Photo: macgyverhh/Shutterstock)

As your small business launch date approaches, you might find yourself working around the clock and at the brink of burning out.

Life coaches Dawn Camacho and Meredith Walters – each with multiple years of professional experience consulting small business owners – can help. Try these strategies to bring a little more balance into your daily routine.

Prioritize your checklist

Launching a new business requires owners to wear many hats. One problem with having multiple roles is that it leads to a varied, lengthy checklist to complete each day. The key to managing a long to­-do list is recognizing what must be done as opposed to what you would like to complete. Understanding that distinction is important.

“The night before or the first thing in the morning you should jot down every single task, big or little, work or non­work, which you feel you have to do that day,” Camacho, who owns Whole Life Solutions, said. “Then prioritize them. If you can check off your top items, you’ve had a very productive day.”

Don’t confuse ‘urgent’ with ‘important’

Not everything that feels urgent is important, and not everything important is urgent. Tending to your company’s Twitter feed or Facebook comment section may seem urgent – especially in our hyper­-speed world – but it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. Your family and your personal relationships are most important. Never lose sight of that.

“The fires you have to fight and the other stuff that feels important, but isn’t, will get done,” Walters said.

“If you don’t handle the important stuff first, you’ll never get to a point where you can breathe.”

“People get very focused on what feels urgent, whether it’s emails that are popping up or the Twitter and Facebook notifications,” Camacho said. “They feel like they’re pressing issues, but in the grand scheme of things they are very low-­priority, and if we get caught up with tackling those things first, we tend to be really unproductive.”

Don’t be afraid to fail

Fear of failure is something most people struggle with on the road to launching a new business. What if the market isn’t right for my idea? What if my business plan misjudges the consumers I’m targeting? These questions can keep people up at night worrying about the future. The key to managing fear of failure is to embrace it.

“I think one of the most powerful things we can do to manage fear is to stop avoiding it and accept it,” Walters said. “Fear is going to be a part of anything we do when we take risks and put ourselves out into the world.”

“You need to be aware that setbacks are natural aspects of the process, and if you can push through setbacks, there will be positive aspects on the other side,” added Camacho.

Know what success is and celebrate it

People tend to forget the progress they’ve made over a period of time when they focus on the end result. Rather than worrying about what’s next, take some time – even just a few minutes – and step back and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Celebrating success is a great way to stay motivated.

“If we don’t know what our success benchmarks are and acknowledge them, we tend to create this sense that we’re a hamster on a wheel; stuck spinning over and over again,” Camacho said. “I think the exhaust and stress of the situation can settle in when we fail to celebrate our successes.”

Take care of yourself in order to take care of your business

The urge to grind for 18 hours a day to ensure the launch date is met is something many business owners succumb to. This isn’t a sustainable practice. The launch date isn’t the end of the process, but rather the beginning.

“The launch date is just the first iteration of what will become multiple iterations.” Walters said. “They’re going to need energy, creativity, and all kinds of resources to continue after the launch date.”

In order to make sure you have the energy needed to strive before, during and after the launch date, you can’t forget to take care of your body and mind. This is something many small business owners feel they don’t have time for, but that’s dangerous thinking, according to both life coaches.

“Taking care of our bodies and our mental state has to be first,” Camacho said. “It’s not a sustainable solution to always push, push, push. People who do take care of their bodies tend to have the energy they need to be more efficient and get more things done.”

“Business owners need to understand that taking care of themselves is going to be the best for their business,” Walters said.

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