by Bijan Kholghi, founder of www.coaching-online.org
Stressfully chaotic! That’s the closest phrase I can think of to perfectly describe the daily life of many young entrepreneurs in the startup community.
The constant grapple with uncertainty, neglect of oneself, and the obsessive passion of the ‘go go go’ business environment partially explains why about 72% of entrepreneurs are either directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues. So, as one of the most common side effects of mental health issues, this post explains how young entrepreneurs can prevent burnout and keep their entrepreneurial fire burning blazingly hot!
1. Get (and stay) super organized.
Having too many tasks coming and going in no definite order can make you feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities. Without proper control and organization, you can start to feel mentally empty and your motivation to keep things going can suffer.
The stress associated with this chaos is one of the first things that can cause an enterprising young person to feel like they’re being dried up or mentally exhausted. Getting a handle on your tasks, meetings, and just about every aspect of your entrepreneurial life can, however, turn things around greatly.
2. Stay socially connected.
Does your entrepreneurial lifestyle make you feel like you’re kind of disconnected from other people? This is more common for people who have to work from home these days whose interpersonal relationships have become significantly low.
How can you avoid the feeling of being isolated from others as an entrepreneur?
It pays to keep in constant touch and communication with other people in their life and society. While personal relationships may also suffer due to neglect, entrepreneurs will be better off implementing effective strategies to heal relationship burnout as well. This is because the feelings of loneliness that social isolation induces can lead to feelings of burnout and mental exhaustion.
3. Prioritize physical health and self-care.
It’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re constantly having to work long days and weekends. Selfcare, healthy eating, proper rest, sleep, and exercise, among other things, can easily be neglected in the scheme of things. But this has always proven to be detrimental to both the entrepreneur and the business down the line. You can only attend to business when you’re in good shape of both mind and body. So, it’s always great that you prioritize your health while running your business.
4. Schedule time for work and breaks.
Whether you’re running a one-man show or managing a few employees as an entrepreneur, it’s possible to find your schedule packed with too many things to do at any given time.
Most founders and young entrepreneurs are often the first to reach the office and the last to leave. But that feeling of having too much on your plate is a trap. It will likely keep you working long hours, days, and weeks – a surefire way to get burned out quickly. You’re always better off scheduling definite time for work while also creating time for breaks. Take vacations and time off to feel replenished from time to time.
5. Set realistic goals and expectations.
Entrepreneurship can seem less inspiring and motivating when you’re finding it hard to get significant results with regard to your business goals.
This is even more significant when you’ve set very big goals that are proving hard to reach. Along with setting measurable and realistic goals, it helps to break these goals into smaller tasks that when accomplished, can help make all of the sacrifices worth it.
6. Get your priorities right.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re always worried about all of the many tasks that need attention. But the truth is you don’t have to get everything done all at once. You’ll be fine just focusing on the most important tasks.
So, how do you know what to focus on when every day will most likely look like a jumbled mess? Consider grouping your tasks into small segments and start with the most urgent and important ones first. Just ensure you’re prioritizing the right things.
7. Delegate tasks effectively.
The instinctive desire of many young entrepreneurs to do almost everything by themselves can affect productivity with little to no time to focus on other important tasks. No matter how great your ideas are, you’ll always need employees, partners, and others to trust with certain tasks to help your business grow. You’ll never be able to handle everything all alone!
Granted that it’s normal to feel like you have to be hands-on with many aspects of your business, delegating more tasks to others will help you become more productive, achieve better work-life balance, and avoid being drowned in responsibilities.
8. Know when to say ‘no’.
There are moments when you have to say ‘no’ as an entrepreneur.
This is important because every ‘yes’ you say brings even more responsibilities and possibly, more tasks. But you don’t have to say yes to everything; not to;
- projects that are not in line with your goals or outside your scope of service,
- working with all kinds of odd clients,
- being available 24/7 to respond to business emails and phone calls, etc.
- projects that can’t wait or don’t fit into your current schedule.
The world won’t end if you say no, sometimes!
And it could just be what you need to occasionally save you from getting stuck in the vicious cycle of the constant ‘busy-ness’ of business.
9. Identify your stress triggers.
Stressors for most young entrepreneurs can include:
- Limited capital and financial challenges
- Pending promises and commitments
- Meeting goals and expectations
- High workload and intensity
- Decision making
- Troublesome clients
- Uncertainty, etc.
As an entrepreneur, it’s always important to know what triggers your feelings of stress so you can continuously get better at dealing with such situations.
Knowledge of these can help you keep your feelings and stress levels in check as you juggle the various responsibilities and expectations that come with your role.
10. Be your own cheerleader.
Entrepreneurship is filled with challenges of all kinds. While it’s always great having people cheer you on through all of these, it’s also good to be your own source of encouragement and motivation.
This is easier to do when you don’t lose sight of your wins, no matter how small they seem. It also helps to keep in mind what drives you along with being grateful for how far you’ve come.
11. Maintain positivity.
Success in entrepreneurship has to do with the mindset, to an extent. So, it’s always great to keep a positive mind and avoid being stuck in negativity.
So, how do you stay positive with too much negativity staring you in the face?
Taking a deep breath to let the thoughts dissipate, looking for the positive perspective in a negative situation, and taking small breaks to walk away from such situations, can help, among other things.
12. Ask for help along the way.
You’re young, enterprising, very ambitious, and independent. And while you might not be a fan of asking for help, in some way, getting the help you need is an important part of your job as an entrepreneur, and knowing how and when to ask for it is also important.
Whether it’s getting some pieces of advice from a more experienced colleague, business coaching from a professional, and other similar things, young and ambitious entrepreneurs should not be afraid to ask for help when they’re feeling low on motivation.
13. Giving back to the community.
Giving back to your local community has a way of helping both you and your business. Along with helping to build stronger communities, it can help widen your network and provide a gateway to a new perspective on an individual level.
It doesn’t have to be monetary though.
Donating your time, volunteering, and sharing your expertise also works great, the same as raising money for a charitable cause. Science says this can make you healthier and happier. And as an entrepreneur, it can help teach you a sense of belonging to your community, give you a sense of purpose, and help you unlock a new perspective.
Entrepreneurs have the most stressful job of all.
And while being an entrepreneur, even as a young person is also one of the most satisfying careers ever, your success will largely depend on how well you’re able to avoid burnout and mental exhaustion along the way.
Among the tips recommended above, your success will depend largely on how well you manage your time, setting the right priorities, and taking occasional breaks in between so you can always feel mentally and physically refreshed to navigate your business to success.
Bijan Kholghi is the founder of www.coaching-online.org and a life coach with a special psychological education in hypno-systemic coaching. His teacher Dr. Gunther Schmidt is the founder of Milton Erickson Institute in Heidelberg (Germany), a direct student of Milton H. Erickson, and a leading figure in psychotherapy education in Europe. His highly effective coaching and therapy method helps people getting aware of their unconscious pattern and gaining control over them.