Question: I think I’m experiencing entrepreneurial burnout.
What can I do to get past this feeling and get back to being my creative/productive self?
'You may be attacking this situation backwards. You've identified this burnout feeling as a problem, and want to move forward by finding a solution. Try moving forward by moving 'backward' first -- find the root of the problem. Why are you burnt out? If it's temporary burnout from overworking, that's totally different than a permanent burnout because you're no longer interested in the project.'
'This advice is for solo founders. If you're pursuing a venture alone, it's very easy to burn out -- all the weight of your decisions and risks lie on your shoulders. A great way to avoid burnout is to find a business partner with complementary skills to your own. You can pick each other up when you're down and keep pushing forward!'
'As an entrepreneur, it is easy to never be satisfied. You are hungry and will never stop working to make your product/service better and better. That is a great attitude, but remember to celebrate the wins or else you will burn out. Look back at where you have come from and recognise that you are creating awesome work!'
'Lots of entrepreneurs are a staff of one, so they work a lot of hours and spend a lot of time on one industry. I find that having lunch with a friend in a completely different field or going to a conference about a topic not related to my business not only helps the wheels start turning again, but it also reminds me that there is a whole world beyond my business.'
'Whenever I'm in a rut and my creative juice gauge is running low, I look to the mentors or companies that I aspire to be. Whether listening to one speak about how they made it or about their business in general, speaking with this contact in person and bouncing ideas back and forth makes a difference. Try simply observing this person in action or walking around their company to see how it works.'
'While you run your business, your days can sometimes just become full. Every so often, I like to put a few hours on the calendar for myself. I may stay in the office or leave, but it is time to look at my to-do list and figure out if I'm spending my time in the most effective and rewarding ways. Often I come back from this time feeling rejuvenated.'
'Many times when I have a problem or get burnt out, I think it is so significant and it starts to affect me...until I think of the universe. I think how small my issue is in comparison to everything going on in the country and the earth. Then I think about the universe and how insignificant the earth is to everything else...at that point, I don't feel so overwhelmed anymore.'
'I keep myself feeling energized and inspired by conducting experiments that change my perspective for a time. This might mean starting up a short-term project, carrying a camera everywhere you go for a week, or even just wearing different colours than you normally do. Change your perspective and you'll see things in a new way and wake up thinking 'What do I GET to do today?' again in no time.'
'Spend a solid 10 per cent of your time working on something you love other than your startup -- whether this means pursuing a side hobby or freelance project, or brainstorming another idea. Forcing yourself to switch gears will reactivate the other parts of your brain/heart that you've perhaps been neglecting. Chances are that you'll begin seeing new areas of opportunity in your startup too!'
'Sometimes, the best way to move forward is to take a step back. While it may seem counterintuitive, taking more action isn't always the most helpful way to progress. Take a day or two off, relax, see a funny movie, hang out with your friends, or do whatever else that will put your mind at ease. Once your mini stay-cation ends, you'll return to your business feeling refreshed and energized.'
'You need to unequivocally set boundaries for 'work' time and 'other' time. Don't be at your computer all day with no built-in breaks -- they make you more effective. Break up your 'creative' days where you write, do the real work of your business with your 'administrative' days where you schedule, make business calls, and answer emails. Don't mix the two up unless there is an urgent email.'
'Chances are, the burnout sets in when the day-to-day doldrums of entrepreneurship take over. Accounts payable, recruiting employees, finding office space, dealing with Comcast -- these all suck. Find someone else to handle them so you can focus on why you started your business in the first place. Rediscover the passion that led you to set out on your own.'
'I have learned to delegate and outsource the nonessential functions that became part of my role simply because I was the owner. Feeling burnt out myself, I moved to Italy for four months last year and worked no more than an hour a day and, on many days, not at all. Maybe four months is too long for you, but taking time for yourself and getting away should help recharge your creativity.'
'Burnout can come in any business, even ones you once loved and were passionate as heck about. Mainly, burnout is from doing the busy you aren't a big fan of. So look back at what made you passionate about this biz in the first place, make those tasks priorities in your day to day schedule and and find someone else to do the things that you don't like. Simple and practically magical.'
'I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. If you are feeling burnt out, volunteer to mentor another excited entrepreneur. Helping them, feeling their motivated energy and talking about how you got started will reignite your internal fire and remind you why you started your company in the first place.'
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