If you’re the founders of a startup or running a small business, you probably have more work than you can handle, but you’re doing it all yourself. Even with a small team to lighten the load, everyone tries to do too much too quickly, and end up burning out. Then too little gets done, and it’s done poorly. So instead of trying to pick up the pieces of a crash and burn, follow these five tips to avoid the burnout altogether.
Divide and Conquer (and Outsource!)
Whether you’re a small business or a start-up, chances are you don’t have someone for every task or project that needs to be done. To be as efficient as possible, prioritize what needs to be done and don’t go at it alone. Assign tasks to your employees that align with their strengths and outsource the rest to freelancers. Not only do you save money, you save yourself time and a huge headache.
Know Your Boundaries
Professional boundaries can be hard to respect when you’re doing most of the work yourself. Even if you leave all of your work at the office, you might find yourself at home writing tomorrow’s to-do list or dreaming about business infrastructure. Hard as it is to wait to return to work, you need to respect your own boundaries. Don’t forget about weekends. Don’t skip vacation. No matter how much you do, the work will never seem like it’s done, but it will always be waiting for you the next day. So why stress about getting it done at once?
Appreciate the Automate Function
Pretty much everything can be scheduled ahead of time or automated. Social media, for example, is hugely important to get your name out there, but it’s also a tedious endeavor. Instead of posting or blogging in real time, finish your content in advance and schedule your posts to be released over the course of the following week. Hootsuite is one of the most popular platforms for automating content, and its analytics also give you insight to the best times to post your content.
Respect the Balance of Things
In order to be as productive as possible while avoiding burnout, you need to find a balance between the two. This balance isn’t all about productivity, though. It’s about keeping yourself sane and happy. Working fewer hours doesn’t guarantee happiness any more than working overtime guarantees burnout. Take breaks from your work and stop working when you aren’t being productive. Take time to enjoy what makes you happy, whether it’s spending time with friends or enjoying the solitude of fishing. Everyone balances differently.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Self-fulfilling prophecies are real. If you expect to fail, you will fail. Instead of assuming the worst, create the ideal environment to do your best. Find a distraction-free workspace (might I suggest IgniteHQ?) that will help your productivity. Turn off your phone, or at least mute and put it away. Create attainable goals and space them out on a realistic timeline. Know your personal strengths and your weaknesses–this will prevent you from taking on excessive work, or work that you don’t have experience with.