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Being an entrepreneur is stressful. But stress can come in good and bad forms. Most entrepreneurs work hard and dedicate their life to creating the independent ‘own boss’ lifestyle that entrepreneurialism is known to bring.

Good stress pushes you to your limit but leaves you feeling fulfilled. Bad stress however, ages you and leaves you feeling uninspired and demotivated.

It is important to note that burn out it is more than just a ‘bad day’ or a rough month, if you’ve ever been burnt out you will already know too well how vastly different the two are. If you haven’t, heed the warning signs and stop it before it is too late.

Many people find they have been burned out for a long time before they acknowledge the issue and how hard life has become. Once you finally admit it, it will take time to get back to your old self again so it is best to take steps to avoid it happening at all.

Here we look at 4 things you can do to avoid burnout before it is too late!

Reach Out & Connect With Others

Many entrepreneurs work online and don’t have to leave the house. In many ways working for yourself and from home is living the dream. Huge advances in collaborative tools mean there is no real reason to all be in the same place at once anymore. But it can make life challenging and lonely.  It is imperative you build yourself a support network and connect regularly with like-minded people. Get out there, meet people for a quick coffee, ask for opinions, share your feelings…and remember this isn’t just about connecting with other people for work, make time to be around supportive friends and family too.

Start Your Day Right

If your day begins by downing a coffee and checking your emails or social media, you are without a doubt setting yourself up for a fall and making life harder than it needs to be from the get-go. Try taking a few moments first thing before you unlock your computer or phone. You might find meditation helps, or even something as quick and simple as setting your intentions for the day ahead. Think about what your day will entail. What do YOU want to achieve today? Have a look through your diary so you have a rough overview of what you have in store, keep your expectations realistic, focus your mind on what you hope to achieve. If you want to gain some new successful deals, see it happening as you step out into the world, it doesn’t need to take long, just give yourself a little space before opening yourself up to the barrage of opinions and needs that your Inbox usually throws your way. Avoiding decision fatigue is a great way to make your day less stressful.

Give Yourself Breathing Space

Burnout is the result of constant stress. Both at work and outside of work. Take breaks through the day, get away from your desk, head outside for a walk and of course take holidays! Creating a sustainable balance is all about ensuring that you know when to stop. It is easy to get caught in the classic ‘I’m busy’ trap but this trap is a sure-fire road to burnout. It seems backwards but you will find you actually produce better work by taking more breaks because the time you spend working will be used more efficiently. Remember – It isn’t about how much time you spend working, but about how you spend your time when working.

Remember Where You Got Your Passion From

Make time for the things that make you feel excited. Remember when you just started out and were bursting with energy and new belief? Think about what you enjoyed then, what really excited you and focus on doing more of that! If you really get a buzz from design work or writing, note this and try and ensure you incorporate it as much as you can into your day. If you find sales calls & onboarding new clients boring, consider outsourcing to someone who can do this for you. Giving you more time to spend on the work you really are passionate about. Sure, you still have to work, but you don’t have to grind!

In conclusion, preventing burnout is something you will have to work at long term. If you forget to keep an eye out for it there is a great chance it will creep up on you without you realising.

There is no shame in implementing healthy work habits. There are no medals for sacrificing happiness in order to be successful!

If you find yourself always on the back foot, running out of time and being short on deadlines for projects you need to be aware that this is a big alarm bell that your work and time is mismatched, which will cause (bad) stress and eventually lead to burnout. Set limits, have clear boundaries and expectations and put time aside for yourself.

Have you experienced it and recovered? Is there a key thing that you found really helped you? Share your story in the comments.