3 Causes of Burnout and How to Prevent It

At this point in the year, we are all starting to wrap up the year’s numbers and prepare for 2020. It’s a practice that is important. By taking a look at what we have accomplished and where we fell short, we can develop a plan to improve in the year ahead. 

When getting ready to complete these end-of-the-year tasks, it’s also important to look at when you were on the verge of burnout. 

Burnout can be scary. Feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, and lack of control can begin to spiral, making you feel helpless. But by tracking these thoughts and feelings, similar to how we track the numbers in our business, we can notice patterns and prevent burnout. 

What causes burnout?

Several factors can lead to burnout, according to the Harvard Business Review. Among these are:

  1. An overstuffed to-do list. The excel sheet with a never-ending to-do list can lead to overwhelm, especially when filled with small day-to-day duties. When your to-do list contains more tasks than there are hours in a day, and the list is causing stress, take a step back and ask yourself what tasks are essential.

  2. Tasks that seem meaningless. If you are completing work that does not speak to your heart, you will not feel fulfilled. While we are all responsible for a few jobs that don’t hold a great deal of meaning, the majority of our time should be spent doing work we love.

  3. Lack of connection with others. When you don’t have meaningful relationships in your personal or professional life, it means you are spending a lot of time in your own head. And, like Tom Ferry always says, your head is a scary place to be. 

How to Avoid Burnout

Knowing the causes of burnout is the first step. By paying attention to your actions, you can notice when you are entering a dangerous zone and change your behavior before you reach full burnout mode.

Here are some strategies to start to incorporate into your routine to help avoid burnout:

  1. Make time for siesta. If you are part of the East Coast 5 AM Call, you’ve heard me say, “Take time to be selfish so that you can be selfless the rest of the day.” I have always said this in regards to the morning routine, but it’s important to carve out another time during the day to do things that you love. This can include time outside, going to the spa, playing golf. Whatever your “siesta” is, schedule time for it.

  2. Decide what only you can do. As an entrepreneur, you have an endless task list. Many of those tasks may seem meaningless, or you simply may not enjoy them. On a sheet of paper, write down the things that only you can do. On the other side, write down everything else. Commit to the tasks only you can do (and love doing) and hire out everything else. 

  3. Know everyone you interact with is facing challenges. Every person we interact with: our clients, colleagues, family members, are facing challenges. To establish meaningful relationships, keep this in mind so you can discover how you can be there for the people in your life. 

The life of most entrepreneurs is fast-paced and demanding. Make sure you are taking care of yourself now, so you can continue doing what you love for years to come.