Admit it, no matter how organized and “professional” we try to seem online, burnout somehow creeps up on most of us when we least expect it.

But what is burnout and how do we know if we even have it?

According to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Anyone can experience burnout, and small business owners are no exception. Being a small business owner is rewarding, but it can also be emotionally draining.

According to recent Gallup research, burnout directly affects performance, relationships, health, and career growth.

But what does burnout look like for a small business owner?

Initially, you are pumped and are working day and night due to the overstimulation of your high activity hormones. Sixty-five percent of adults at the start of a burnout situation constantly feel run down and drained of emotional and physical energy.

A small business owner experiencing burnout has some of these symptoms:

  • You have worked hard and passionately to build your business but at this point, you just want to quit or feel frustrated most of the time.
  • You were once burning with passion at the very beginning and looked forward to going to work every day. But now, procrastination has crept in, wherein you were once so excited to get things done.
  • You feel stressed and frustrated most of the time.
  • You now start to keep forgetting things and when forgetting things starts interfering with work, it’s cause for concern.
  • You now experience chronic exhaustion, even after getting a good night’s sleep. Tiredness sets in with a nagging feeling that you need to be doing more.



How can you, as a small business owner, deal with burnout?


The key to coping with burnout is recognizing the symptoms, and if you act on the symptoms, then you’ll avoid most health problems related to burnout.

The success of your company depends on your well being too, so please be aware of the signs mentioned above and bear in mind that prevention is better than cure. Sounds “cliche-ish”, but nonetheless true!

Here are steps to prevent burnout:

  1. Define your goals, segment them into small but attainable goals and then do a check and balance. – Did you accomplish them?
  2. Time management is the key! – Time is gold for a small business owner, so choose when you are most productive to do challenging tasks, especially those requiring energy and brainpower.
  3. Do a lifestyle check. Make sure to strike a work and life balance – A Harvard Business Review entrepreneur survey found a connection between burnout and passion. Entrepreneurs were found to be obsessively passionate and felt emotionally drained by work to the point giving them constant anxiety and stress.
  4. Organize your work, organize your life! – I am a BIG FAN of calendars and journals. I don’t simply use this for decoration but I use them to keep my life organized for work and my life!
  5. Start delegating and stay on top of your physical and emotional wellbeing – As a business owner, it is tempting to want to control every aspect of the business. And that can sometimes make you “lose” some other important aspects of your life. Example, family life. Start delegating but stay on top of things. Watch the interview that I did with a dad-preneur on how he was able to use systems and automations to max the output and profit of his digital marketing agency and still having quality time, and the life he envisioned for his family. 

Burnout has physical and mental consequences and if you create the mandatory changes, everyone in your team handling the business can benefit. I hope that these steps can help you achieve a work, business and life balance.