It's the question you never want to ask yourself: Are you starting to burn out? Being an entrepreneur is tough. There's always something going wrong, and there's always something more you could be doing. With all the work and stress, it's easy to start feeling tired or suffer from lack of energy. It's usually at those moments where we ask if we've pushed ourselves too far.
The problem that arises when we reflect on this question is that it's hard to tell whether we're in a slump or we need time away from our company. To find out whether you're successfully avoiding burnout, look out for the signs. Use these tips as a guideline to tell if it's time for a break from your startup, or if you can still keep grinding forward.
1. You Still Enjoy Doing the Small Things
At the beginning stages of a startup, there are certain tasks that are tedious but that you love doing. For me, it was a long sales trip. Sometimes I would be stuck in a car for four to five hours on the way to my destination, only to have to drive back without having scored a sale. While most people would hate traveling this much, I actually enjoyed it.
As your startup grows, do you still enjoy the small things? When there are tasks that no one else wants to do, do you volunteer because you enjoy doing whatever moves the company forward?
Of course, there are always responsibilities we have as entrepreneurs that we don't like. Not everything we do for our company will bring us immediate happiness. But the ultimate question you have to ask yourself is if you still will do any task for the good of the business. If the answer is yes, that means you still have some charge left in your battery.
2. You Love Company Meetings
In the corporate world, many people hate going to team meetings. That's why so many of us were motivated to be entrepreneurs. But when you start your own company, it's necessary for you always to be the one who keeps the energy level up. You can find tons of information online about how to make company meetings more effective and fun. At the end of the day, though, if the leader comes in the meeting with a negative attitude, the rest of the company will, too.
Do you secretly love the team meetings you have? Are you the one who keeps the energy going? If so, that means you still have fire in your belly.
3. When You Wake up on Monday, You're Still Excited.
We became entrepreneurs so we no longer had to dread the workweek. One of the easiest ways to detect burnout is how you feel on Monday morning. Next Monday, try this exercise: When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and ask yourself how you feel. Surprisingly, entrepreneurs rarely do this. Instead, we make our lives as busy as possible so we never have to think about whether we're starting to burn out.
Over time, this will come back to hurt us. Instead, just take a few minutes and scan how the body and mind feel. Warren Buffett says he tap-dances to work every day. If your mind and body still have a feeling similar to Buffett's, you're not burning out. You're probably just getting started.