Owning your own business or being a manager of a business can bring with it high levels of stress. When that stress gets to be too much, something known as burnout can occur. There’s conflicting data on how common burnout is, with some reports stating that just 7 percent of professionals have experienced it, according to the Harvard Business Review. Other surveys claim that more than 60 percent of workers have been affected by burnout.
Burnout is more than just stress. It can interfere not only with how you feel and your ability to work. It can also have an adverse effect on your business and on the productivity of your team and the people you manage. Learning to recognize the signs of burnout is one of the ways that you can attempt to keep it from happening.
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
Burnout can seem as if it comes on quickly, sneaking up on you when you least expect it. But the reality is that it actually builds slowly and usually has several recognizable signs. One of the most prominent signs of burnout is feeling exhausted, often both physically and emotionally. You might struggle to find the energy to do your work and might dread the idea of slogging through various tasks and responsibilities throughout the day. Other signs of burnout that are associated with exhaustion include feelings of anxiety, depression, a loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
Another symptom of burnout is feeling cynical or disengaged about your work. Where you once felt a sense of accomplishment or a confidence in your work, you might now feel uncertain of the value of the things you or overly critical about the quality of your work. It might also seem that no matter how much work you do, it’s never enough.
Why Does Burnout Happen?
Burnout happens for a few reasons. A lack of work-life balance is a major cause of burnout and can often be the reason why business owners or managers experience it. In the case of employees who burnout, one of the reasons might be that they feel a lack of autonomy or control over their jobs or their day-to-day tasks. Having to work with a micromanager or a bully can also make an employee more likely to burnout.
In some cases, burnout can happen because a person isn’t a good fit for their current job. Not everyone has what it takes to be a business owner, for example, and some people might find themselves in positions that just aren’t a good match for their personalities or skill sets.
What You Can Do to Avoid Burnout
Although some workplace environments or the stress of running a business can make it seem as if burnout is inevitable, the reality is that you can take steps to avoid burning out and to help your team avoid burnout.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to avoid burning out is to give yourself some downtime or take a genuine break. For many over-extended business owners, the idea of taking a vacation and completely disconnecting, even for a few days, can seem terrifying. But a few days of rest and relaxation can be just what you need to come back refreshed and with a brighter outlook on your work and company.
Another way to avoid burnout is to try to change what you can. Usually, there are things behind the stress, exhaustion, and feelings of inadequacy. Figure out what they are and what you can do to correct them. For example, if you’re constantly feeling overworked, it’s likely that there are at least a few tasks you can assign to someone else. In some cases, outsourcing certain responsibilities, such as finding a virtual CFO to handle your business’ finances, can help lighten your burden and keep you from burnout.
Setting boundaries can also help you reduce the risk of burning out. Know your strengths and know when to say no to people who are asking you for favors or assistance. Depending on how your business is faring, it might be that learning to say no to certain things is what you need to grow and move to the next phase.
You can look at burnout, or the risk of burnout, as a growing pain experienced by many business owners. The team at New Direction Capital can help you take steps to reduce the risk of burning out. Contact us today to learn more.