Burnout.  This happens to most business owners at least once in their professional career.  Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.  It usually happens when the business owner tries to do everything himself or when the office is so busy, the owner is running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

Either way, the problem begins with continual growth in the office, the owner doesn’t realize he/she cannot keep the pace up.  The problem will continue until the owner hires additional staff or an associate and implements protocols and systems.

Symptoms of Burnout

  1. No desire to go to work.
  2. Low energy both at home and at work
  3. You are constantly exhausted
  4. You are just going through the motions
  5. You think you just need a good night’s sleep and you will feel better, but that still does not help.
  6. You feel you are not being appreciated. 

Avoiding Professional Burnout

The first thing you need to do to prevent severe burnout is to recognize the problem.  You need to realize that you are being overloaded and you just simply cannot do everything yourself.  In addition, follow the strategies below in order to decrease your stress load.

  1. Take at least one great vacation a year.  Plan this vacation thoroughly.  This will get you excited and will keep you focused on your work.  
  2. Delegate mundane tasks to your staff.  
  3. Have a staff meeting and see where they need help.  If you are burnt out, they are probably as well.  See if hiring more staff will make you more productive.  
  4. Separate your work and personal lives as much as possible.  Try to leave home problems at home and vice-versa.
  5. Don’t keep your stresses inside.  Talk about it with a friend or a co-worker.
  6. Exercise regularly and eat right.
  7. Get enough sleep.  Unwind before bedtime with a good book or meditate.  TV does not help.  It just keeps you up.
  8. Decrease your alcohol intake.
  9. Evaluate your priorities in life.  Read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 
  10. Focus on the present.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, but of course plan for a less stressful tomorrow.
  11. Smile.  It will relax you and others around you.
  12. Breathe.  Take deep breaths and learn relaxation techniques.
  13. Reward yourself for meeting certain goals.  Take a day off and play golf and spend more time with your family. 

I will end this article with a saying from Marian Wright Edelman.

“Lord, help me to sort out what I should do first, second, and third today and to not try to do everything at once and nothing well.  Give me the wisdom to delegate what I can and to order the things I can’t delegate, to say no when I need to, and the sense to know when to go home.”

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