Work and Money
6 Ways to Avoid Burnout in the Workplace
We’ve all been there — the middle of the workday comes, we hit a wall, staring at the clock, and wondering when our motivation will kick in. For small business owners, burnout can be an especially prominent feeling. That's why Shanaz Hemmati works especially hard to help her team find a healthy work-life balance. We caught up with Hemmati, the COO and founder of ZenBusiness PBC, a small business that helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams of creating and growing a successful business.
“Business owners are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout due to the long hours and stress associated with starting their own venture,” Hemmati tells CircleAround. “To avoid business-owner burnout, my team and I implement some time management techniques to help us stay organized and allow us to run our business without getting overwhelmed.”
Here are Hemmati’s six tips for business owners to avoid burnout.
1. Decrease Distractions
The pressure of building a business on top of normal day-to-day stressors is enough to wear anyone down, so taking some time to reflect will help reset your mind in a simple and effective way. “When you start to feel business-owner burnout creeping up, schedule some distraction-free time to sit and concentrate on why you do what you do and why it is important to you,” says Hemmati.
Leaving your phone and laptop in another room can also help. “Once your space is distraction-free, sit down and devote all of your energy to the task at hand,” adds Hemmati. "This can maximize your cognitive capability and help you find motivation for your business.”
2. Take Breaks
It’s easy to procrastinate when feeling overwhelmed by big tasks. Try breaking your big tasks into smaller, manageable steps that you can accomplish at different times of the day rather than all at once. “When you find yourself losing motivation, keep yourself on track by setting a timer for your breaks,” Hemmati suggests.
She adds that breaking up your day into chunks of time can really help alleviate the overwhelming sensation and keep you focused. Try setting a timer for every 45 minutes, to take a 15-minute break and get a glass of water, have a snack, stand outside for some fresh air, etc.
3. Envision the Day Ahead
“A great way to stay on top of your day-to-day schedule is to carve out a few minutes every day to reflect on the day before and plan for the next,” Hemmati suggests. She swears by the 7 Minute Life philosophy, where you leverage 1 percent of your day — 14 minutes — to reflect on your life and decide how you want to spend the other 99 percent of your time.
“In the morning, use the first seven minutes to reflect on your professional and personal goals for the day,” she adds. “In the evenings, spend the last seven minutes reviewing the day in your mind and prepping for the next day.”
4. Delegate Tasks
It’s easy to get burned out when you take on every aspect of your business by yourself, especially if you are a manager. But you can always relieve some of the pressure by delegating tasks to your staff members. You hired them to help you, after all!
“If you have trouble letting go of the reins, establish the important things you want to handle yourself and delegate less pressing tasks to others,” adds Hemmati.
5. Visualize Your Work
If you manage multiple clients, the tasks can add up quickly. To stay organized, choose a system that allows you to visualize your workload. Hemmati likes the Kanban method, which uses three columns that are labeled “Requested,” “In Progress,” and “Done.”
“It allows you to see where tasks are throughout your process,” she states. “For maximum benefit, limit the number of tasks in your ‘In Progress’ column so that you don’t have bottlenecks in your process.”
6. Front-Load Your Day
“For me, the best time for creativity is early in the day,” Hemmati tells CircleAround. “For business owners, this means that spending time in the morning on brainstorms and other important tasks could be beneficial. Test this out by tackling large tasks in the morning and leaving small items for the evening.”