Don’t let the entrepreneurial stress bog you down. Take a cue from these 10 entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded in keeping the stress at bay.
Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”
Spending innumerable nights and days in creating a company from scratch could lead to a potential burnout. The end result could be potential running of your personal life and relationships along with a downhill impact on your business.
If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Almost every entrepreneur experiences it at some point of their career. Try these strategies used by successful entrepreneurs who’ve lived through it to tell the story.
Look At The Bigger Picture For Inspiration
“Burnout is mostly accompanied by stress and anxiety. During such times, it really helps to look at the bigger picture, to realise how trivial the problems are and to reflect upon the importance of the objectives/goals you set out to accomplish. One great picture which inspires me is the Pale Blue Dot. Of course, some standard tricks are to take some time off and do something else which you enjoy.”
Unwind At The End Of The Day
“Stress is an everyday thing with entrepreneurs. My best strategy to deal with this is unwinding at the end of every day, either with my favourite pint at Toit, where shop talk is banned or a quiet evening at home, on my balcony with a view of the moon and some lovely music, where I blank my mind to work for a few hours. That’s how I deal with everyday stress.
For the larger issues, it’s always writing the pros and cons of a decision down, and sleeping over them. My best ideas/solutions have always come to me in the quiet of early mornings (I wake up between 4 am-5 am every day).
Of late, I have started running (after recovering from a very bad back injury over the past year) and that is something that’s invigorating, to say the least! It helps me look forward to a really stressful day at work, giving me the boost I need.”
Related Article: Recognise These Signs Of Burnout – And How To Stop It
Do What You Love Doing
- First and foremost, be absolutely certain that you work on something you really love doing. The burnout is magnitudes higher if you don’t really enjoy your work.
- Get enough rest/sleep. I personally believe the entrepreneurial journey to be a marathon than a sprint. Enough rest ensures higher productivity and makes sure you don’t burn out easily.
- Better management to avoid stress: As an entrepreneur, you’ll wear many hats. Good management tools can help you be more efficient and reduce stress. I personally use a combination of Mac Reminders and Asana.
- Take time offs: Again, taking time off to reset yourself has worked well for me to maintain the same level of productivity. I take time off twice a year to go travel and relax.
- Have fun. It’s very important to maintain a positive vibe and have fun while doing stuff. Do not completely ignore other things you love doing. I love playing cricket and do that every Sunday without fail.
Take A Vacation
“A clear mind is very important for any entrepreneur to make the right decisions. Having the discipline to devote personal time on a regular basis is highly impossible, given the stage Zarget is in right now. However, I make it a point to play either Tennis or Football at least twice a week. Stepping away from the routine helps you switch off the firefighting mode and look at things with a different perspective. Secondly, taking a vacation or a workcation every year is important for me. Also, having a good mix of friends from different industries and varied age groups refreshes your thought process.”
“Most people I know, are heavily unorganised in their lives and work. And here’s a candid confession, so am I. I worked on it extensively last year to get better. Whether it’s about scheduling meetings or organising files, I see real funny ways in how people accomplish such tasks. Most don’t even realise the downsides of a cluttered life. It kills your productivity.
“Also, it is extremely hard to focus on the core task if you are spending a whole lot of your time on “searching” for stuff to finish that task. I have gotten much better at organising myself, except for the fact that I still don’t use WhatsApp. Let software eat your world, atleast for work.” (Previously published on Distractions by Avlesh Singh.)
“A major thing that helps me with burnout is my meditation practice through Heartfulness. I practice it twice a day and it regulated my mind and reduces my anxiety. I sometimes use their app Let’s Meditate to de-stress before a big meeting!”
Learn To Say No And Take Out Time To Learn
“Firstly, learn to say no. There will be a time when you feel excessively busy without reaching desired results. In such situations, you must learn to say no. You should only take tasks that add maximum value to your company.
Secondly, always take out time to learn. Your team and company would feed off your confidence and expertise over the core domain. Moreover, the company would only grow as fast as the founder grows. Learn from your mentors, from your peers, or your clients. Just keep learning as your company grows.”
Unplug From Work For a Couple Of Hours To Exercise
“There are three angles to entrepreneurial stress – mental, physical and emotional. I learned my stress busting strategy from working mothers. In my short stint at corporate, I had a chance to work with 3 working mothers and I found them super productive. What I realised that everyone in the team had almost same amount of work but these newly became mothers could finish everything by 6 pm and leave office while other guys stay till 8 or 9 and crib about more work. The interesting thing was that these mothers never fell short of quality or quantity of work when compared with rest of the team. They could do it because they had set their priorities which had made them super-efficient.
“So I apply the same strategy. It’s almost 6 years of entrepreneurial journey for me and when I am not travelling, I always leave my desk at 6.30 pm (even if it’s for couple of hours) no matter what.
“I engage myself in running, swimming or playing badminton after that. With conscious efforts I could also now switch off mentally from the work during this period and failures/ experiences have taught me to be emotionally stable. My idea of entrepreneurial life is to live an independent life. When I say independence, it’s just not financial independence or independence from 9to6 routine job but independence from emotional worries, mental anxieties and physical illness as well.”
Focus On One Task At A Time
“Focus on one thing at a time. That is the secret of my productivity and success. I failed at my early businesses because I wanted to do everything at the same time. Now I am focussing only on my personal finance startup where I share hacks to save money on credit cards, travel and shopping that most people ignore. In just 3 months of focussed work, I raised my revenues from 0 to INR 1 Lakh without spending a single rupee on paid marketing. I am laser focussed on sharing helpful content to my readers while sacrificing consulting assignments, social media growth and hiring technical resources for product development.”
Hire Talented People
“Running a fast-growing startup is stressful without a doubt, but having a moderate amount of stress is not bad, because our stress response is designed to help us react when something potentially threatening happens, to help us deal with it and learn from it. Parallely, as the captain of the ship you need to ensure that short-lived street doesn’t turn into chronic stress. For that I do the following:
- Relentless optimism – at times you need to be delusionally optimistic as a founder in tough times.
- Focus on the long-term and don’t get too worked up by day-to-day things.
- Build a trusted sounding-board who can help you with nail-biting decisions, in my case its me and my co-founder.
- Hire people who are smarter than you, with whom you can discuss and solve out problems.
- Stay healthy and practice mindful meditation.