What is entrepreneurial burnout?
Burnout was first coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in 1974. He described it as “a depletion or exhaustion of a person’s physical or mental resources attributed to his or her prolonged, yet unsuccessful striving toward unrealistic expectations, internally or externally derived.”
How burnout manifests in entrepreneurs
A study reported by the Harvard Business Review found a link between passion and burnout. They defined passion, concerning work, in two distinct forms: harmonious passion and obsessive passion.
Harmonious passion was measured as “someone who is motivated by the job because it brings them satisfaction and is an important part of who they are.” On the other hand, obsessive passion was indicated as “a job that is important to someone because of the status, money, or other rewards that it brings.”
The results of this study showed that entrepreneurs who adopted harmonious passion for their work expressed high levels of concentration, attention, and absorption. They were more flexible and found work-life balance without feeling guilty.
Obsessively passionate entrepreneurs were more driven by pressures and outcomes. Concerned with social acceptance, status, and financial gain. They often felt frustrated and broken down by their work. Despite their qualifications, they reported a lack of focus and difficulty in balancing other roles and responsibilities.
The study concluded that those who were harmoniously passionate had significantly smaller chances of suffering from burnout.
Signs of Burnout
Irritability: If you’re feeling more on edge than usual, or are easily annoyed with certain situations, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with burnout.
Weakened immune system: When you’re dealing with stress and burnout, your immune system is weakened, and you’re more prone to illness.
Exhaustion: Entrepreneurs who are burned out are often tired all the time, even after getting a full night of sleep. Your performance will start to suffer significantly when your brain isn’t functioning at its best.
Increased forgetfulness: When you’re burned out, your brain is in a fog, and it impacts your ability to remember things that would normally be top of mind.
Ways to Avoid Burnout
1. Make Time off a Priority
When you recognize the power of stepping away, you’re able to tap into even more creativity and energy to plug back into the businesses upon your return.
2. Go Before You’re Ready
Plan a vacation each quarter even if you feel like you’re not ready. The benefits that you get will fuel your drive, creativity and overall-wellness.
3. Plan Something to Look Forward To
Reserve time in your schedule away from your business to recharge and regroup, such as daily exercise, a weekly outings and short retreats…etc. You will not only have something to look forward to, but by reserving personal time you will have extra motivation to manage your time well.
4. Take 10 Minutes Every Day
Take 10 minutes everyday to meditate and be still. The benefits are cumulative and you will start to notice the difference it makes in your life.
I’d love to hear from you! How likely are you to suffer from burnout? How are you prioritizing your time off?