Saturday, October 1, 2022

Work Strategies: Managing Burnout in Self-Employment

Second Sunday Series: This is the third of 12 columns on starting a business – one on every second Sunday of the month from September to August. Last week’s column discussed entrepreneurial personal assets and weaknesses, while last week’s column focused on self-employment as a career choice.

Amy Lindgren

Here’s the irony: people often start businesses to avoid burnout at work, and you know what? Business owners often report exhaustion.

Oh oh. Is this a case where the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence? Perhaps – but it can also be an indicator that you are not planning for one of the key risks of self-employment.

But how can you plan for this risk if it cannot be measured? Basically, treating it as a health problem and anticipating it in the same way as the increased risk of injury when you engage in manual labor.

As a starting point, it helps to understand that burnout can be the result of uncontrollable stress, and stress is almost synonymous with owning a business.

Stress is not to blame, by the way. People get stressed out before weddings and vacations, and no one is suggesting that we stop these events. But these are more events than a way of life.

On the other hand, when an entrepreneur maintains high stress levels for weeks or years, he or she adopts stress as a lifestyle. Not only can this cause physical damage, but it can also reduce mental and emotional reserves and set the stage for burnout.

If you are starting a business, now is the time to develop a stress and burnout protection plan. The following list may give you a place to start.

1. Set career goals regardless of the business. Business success is a business goal, not a career goal, so you’ll have to dig deeper to determine what you want the business to do for your career. Having personal goals can help you grow professionally, which can counterbalance some of the stresses of your business.

2. Plan check-in points. Once a quarter, it’s not that often to ask yourself, “Does this still work for me?” You can reject “no” once or twice, but if that’s the answer several times in a row, it’s time to listen.

3. Don’t do it alone. If you are a self-employed entrepreneur, your support group should include other entrepreneurs so that you can share your successes and failures in your business with those who understand the pressure.

4. Protect your finances. It’s easy to get sucked into excessive financial expansion to keep your business growing. This is why it is important to set your limits at the very beginning, before emotions begin to prevail over your logic. Even if your financial constraints mean closing or adjusting your business, that stress pales in comparison to piling up debt or working too long without pay.

5. Be yourself a good boss. Allow yourself more days off than you think, because you are almost certainly using more mental and emotional resources than you think.

6. Sorted for perfection. A problem that many entrepreneurs share is the drive to do something better. When this is used to achieve business goals, it often results in a great product or service. But when the pursuit of excellence extends to worldly tasks, problems are brewing. To relieve unnecessary stress, determine what needs to be done excellently and what just needs to be done.

7. Eliminate procrastination. If you are procrastinating, there is a reason. Figure it out and solve the problem instead of letting something drain your energy by appearing on your to-do list over and over again.

8. Make your health a priority. A business owner who is in good physical and psychological condition is one of the most important and least tangible assets of an enterprise. If you can’t justify a 10 minute health walk for your own name, do it for your business. Both of you will win.

9. Reward yourself. How about a quarterly celebration with your spouse or friends where you share your successes in life? Or a regular monthly order for your favorite pizza or flower delivery? Your reward doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, but make it frequent enough that you can count on the promotion you will receive.

10. Remember that you can quit smoking. Unlike employees, business owners often feel like they can’t quit, even if it’s no longer fun or interesting. Not only is this not true, but the resulting feeling of being trapped is a breeding ground for burnout.

Ready? Take some time to make your self-employment concept more burnout resistant, then come back to it in a month. We’ll continue the conversation in the next installment of the Second Sunday Series, which is about starting a business.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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