8 Ways to Battle Burnout

Starting and nurturing your own business takes hard work—and it can be frustrating. How do you fight against working too hard and spinning your wheels? Some words of advice.

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Entrepreneurs tend to experience burnout at multiple points along the startup process. What can they do to get past that feeling and get back to their creative and productive selves? We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council for their advice and tips.

Figure It Out for Good

“You may be attacking this situation backwards. You’ve identified this burnout feeling as a problem and want to move forward by finding a solution. Try moving forward by moving “backward” first—find the root of the problem. Why are you burnt out? If it’s temporary burnout from overworking, that’s totally different than a permanent burnout because you’re no longer interested in the project.”

—Jesse Davis | Cofounder, Entrustet

Share the Load With a Business Partner

“This advice is for solo founders. If you’re pursuing a venture alone, it’s very easy to burn out—all the weight of your decisions and risks lie on your shoulders. A great way to avoid burnout is to find a business partner with complementary skills to your own. You can pick each other up when you’re down and keep pushing forward!”

—Eric Bahn | Founder, Beat the GMAT

Celebrate the Wins

“As an entrepreneur, it is easy to never be satisfied. You are hungry and will never stop working to make your product or service better and better. That is a great attitude, but remember to celebrate the wins or else you will burn out. Look back at where you have come from and recognize that you are creating awesome work!”

—John Meyer | Brofounder & CEO, 9 Clouds

Venture Outside Your Own Industry

“Lots of entrepreneurs are a staff of one, so they work a lot of hours and spend a lot of time on one industry. I find that having lunch with a friend in a completely different field or going to a conference about a topic not related to my business not only helps the wheels start turning again, but it also reminds me that there is a whole world beyond my business.”

—Caitlin McCabe | Founder & CEO, Real Bullets Branding

Brainstorm Out of Burnout

“Whenever I’m in a rut and my creative-juice gauge is running low, I look to the mentors or companies that I aspire to be. Whether listening to one speak about how they made it or about their business in general, speaking with this contact in person and bouncing ideas back and forth makes a difference. Try simply observing this person in action or walking around their company to see how it works.”

—Michael Sinensky | Owner, Village Pourhouse

Put “You” on the Calendar

“While you run your business, your days can sometimes just become full. Every so often, I like to put a few hours on the calendar for myself. I may stay in the office or leave, but it is time to look at my to-do list and figure out if I’m spending my time in the most effective and rewarding ways. Often I come back from this time feeling rejuvenated.”

—Anderson Schoenrock | CEO, ScanDigital

Consider the Universe

“Many times when I have a problem or get burnt out, I think it is so significant and it starts to affect me—until I think of the universe. I think how small my issue is in comparison to everything going on in the country and the earth. Then I think about the universe and how insignificant the earth is to everything else. At that point, I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.”

—David Schnurman | CEO, Lawline

Conduct a Lifestyle Experiment

“I keep myself feeling energized and inspired by conducting experiments that change my perspective for a time. This might mean starting up a short-term project, carrying a camera everywhere you go for a week, or even just wearing different colors than you normally do. Change your perspective and you’ll see things in a new way and wake up thinking What do I get to do today?”

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