Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed many issues facing new entrepreneurs, including how to evaluate new product ideas and how to hire the right people the right way.

Your Time Off Will Be Limited

Starting a new business can be an exciting and tumultuous time, both personally and professionally. Most new entrepreneurs – especially those who have left the relative comfort and safety of an office job to become their own boss – would never dream that one day they might become bored with this exciting new professional career and lifestyle, or burned out managing their own business. However, as most seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you, even those engaged in the exciting world of owning and operating your own business need a break. As your own boss, you can’t simply submit a vacation request and hope that it is approved. It may not even be possible or feasible to take a vacation from your business, but there are other ways to avoid burnout that don’t require an extended break away from your business.

You Have To Take Care Of Yourself First

While entrepreneurs, especially successful ones who enjoy notoriety, can be labelled narcissist, most understand that nothing could be further from the truth. New entrepreneurs don’t become successful by starting a business and then neglecting it for selfish reasons. In fact, the opposite is usually true: new entrepreneurs will often sacrifice their own personal lives, advancement, and even health or financial well-being to devote as much time, energy, and resources as possible to their new business. However, as the owner and often manager of your business, you can’t neglect your own physical, mental, and emotional health in order to sustain your business. If you do end up reaching a point where your health suffers or you aren’t able to successfully manage your business for other reasons, your business will eventually suffer as well. You simply have to take care of yourself, and there are ways to alleviate stress and burnout while not neglecting your new business.

Address The Cause Of Your Burnout

There are many factors to consider when devising ways to avoid or treat professional burnout. Some entrepreneurs may be in the fortunate position of being able to take a vacation or break, while others have to devise other ways to treat themselves while maintaining their regular schedule. However, no matter what method you choose to treat your burnout, it’s imperative that you also address the root cause of it as well, simply so you don’t find yourself in the same position within a relatively short period of time.

Setting Reasonable Boundaries and Expectations

While some causes of entrepreneurial burnout are outside of your control, two of the primary factors that contribute to burnout are a lack of reasonable boundaries and expectations. While the buck does stop with you as the owner and head of your business, that doesn’t mean you should push yourself beyond the reasonable limits that are applied to most professional careers. If you’re finding yourself working excessive hours or pushing yourself to reach goals and deadlines that are simply unrealistic, it may be time to scale back and figure out ways to more efficiently manage your time or to simply cut back on your workload, even if that means sacrificing some short-term opportunities in order to boost your chances of long-term, sustainable success. Ask your partners or employees to limit afterhours phone calls and emails, and determine if some tasks can be delegated to others. No matter what method you decide to pursue, it’s important to remember that maintaining an unrealistic professional lifestyle is unsustainable in the long run, and it will be easier, more effective and potentially cheaper to address it now rather than waiting for it to get out of control.

In our next post, we will discuss methods and strategies you can use to treat or avoid entrepreneurial burnout.