Being your own boss certainly has its perks, but it also comes with a heavy weight of responsibility.
You can’t simply switch off and forget about your company at the end of the day. Instead, you might find yourself working long hours under considerable stress.
This means that, if you’re not careful, you risk suffering burnout. There are ways to avoid this though and, over the years, I’ve learned a range of techniques that help me to avoid reaching this point.
- Set aside time to really switch off
Switching off for an entire weekend, or even just an evening, might not be an option when you have your own company – at least not in its early stages. After all, you’ll no doubt want to be on hand if any problems arise. But if you don’t give yourself any time to relax, you’re storing up trouble.
I can’t recommend enough getting into the habit of setting aside at least a little space in your schedule to completely forget about work and focus on other things. Even if it’s just an hour or two in the evening, this downtime will help you to de-stress and reboot, making you even more productive when you are in work mode.
And don’t be afraid to take holidays. Admittedly, this is one I’ve found doesn’t get any easier the longer you’ve been in business. You might be worried about the adverse effect that a break may have on your business, but it’s important to also consider the negative impact on your company if you’re too tired to work efficiently. The occasional getaway will give you the chance to re-energise and you’ll probably find you return with a renewed sense of purpose and drive.
- Take steps to stay healthy
When you’re prioritising your business, your health may take a back seat. For example, you might not get enough sleep, you could fall into bad eating habits and you may struggle to get the recommended amount of exercise. Trust me, I’ve been there.
All of this is bad news for your wellbeing. It will also impact on your energy levels and make the day-to-day running of your company feel like more of a challenge.
So, no matter how busy you are, try to get a decent amount of sleep and take steps to incorporate exercise into your daily routine to help you to stay in shape and keep your energy levels up.
It’s also important to plan your meals so that you don’t end up relying on junk food to refuel. I’ve certainly been guilty of this, but now make sure I have a healthy breakfast (I’m addicted to the yoghurt from the café near my office) and buy fruit to snack on throughout the day so I’m not tempted by the vending machine at 3pm.
- Delegate to lighten your workload
Even if you’re a perfectionist by nature, it’s unsustainable to attempt to micromanage all aspects of your business. This approach will almost certainly result in burnout. Instead, make sure you have a good team around you and learn to delegate tasks to lighten your workload.
It might feel uncomfortable at first, but handing responsibility to others is essential, particularly if your company is growing and your to-do list keeps getting longer.