Robby Berthume hit a mid-life crisis just when he was nearing the mid-twenties. Spending day and night steeped in work and ensuring business grows took a toll on his first marriage and first business partnership.
Whether you're in your twenties or forties, there's always some struggle to manage your time between work, family, friends and personal life.
Spending countless nights and days with head down in work adds to the stress and could lead to a potential burnout, ruining not only your personal life and relationships, but also starts to have an impact on your work and business.
Robby's opinion after recovering successfully from a burnout is that burning the midnight oil isn't a necessity for entrepreneurial success. "Even if you can power through now, it may not always be so easy when you're older, have more obligations, etc. As a husband and father of two with another on the way, if I don't manage the balance between my business and family well, all the business success in the world is for nothing," he says.
If you want to avoid or mitigate that burnout, and remain interested in your work to continue to build a sustainable venture, try these strategies suggested by successful entrepreneurs who've lived through it to tell the story.
Meditate and Exercise
A friend, coach and fellow entrepreneur, S. Brian Smith, recommended the Headspace app and that's been very helpful to make meditation easy -- simply start with their 10 minutes x 10 days free program. Exercise has been proven to make us more productive. Just like when ducks have a lot of energy built-up, they flap their wings incessantly, sometimes (okay, more like everyday) we need to 'flap our wings.' By doing so, we're able to not only release endorphins, we're able to release some of the tension and anxiety of playing point all the time and is a great way to prevent spinning out.
- Robby Berthume, Co-founder and CEO, Bull & Beard
Embrace the Burnout
I say embrace the burnout! Identify it and live in it for as long as it is educating you. It's a flag that something is off. Then, use self-compassion tools to move through it, rather than avoid it, such as exercise, good sleep, a beer with a friend, or taking an afternoon off. I personally take a sauna, and after that, not a lot is that 'urgent.' As entrepreneurs, burnout is part of the game, but identifying and addressing it quickly is the true art, and a lifelong practice.
- Rebecca Devaney, CEO, Hunter Creative Labs
Having the right leadership team in place means you are able to delegate projects and elevate individuals. Ingraining core values throughout the organization and having the right people in the right seats to set clear accountability charts will help team leaders work together more effectively to execute the vision you have for your firm. Everyone will achieve more and you will get back to the projects you enjoy - reducing the risk of burnout.
Ismael Wrixen, CEO and Co-owner, FE International
The primary things that I have been doing to stay balanced include workout in the morning -- 30 min run or elliptical. However, recently my stress has been so high I have trouble mustering the energy to hit the gym. I turn the smartphone off at 9 PM -- for many months I worked from my phone in bed and as a result worked all night. I pray/meditate --- grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
- Gerald Wilmink, CEO and Founder, WiseWear
Hire Talented People
One key way I have found to prevent burnout is to hire talented people and instill faith in them to do their jobs. It is so common for an entrepreneur, founder or CEO to feel they 'have' to step in to make sure things get done, or big deals brought in. When surrounded by a group of talented, trusted, engaged people burnout can be transformed into excitement to see what this group you have assembled can do.
- Matthew Bernard, CEO, Darex
I try to get physical exercise at least 4 times a week. I make time for my true friends, and I find different ways to exercise my mind. Much like the body, a variety of exercises for your mind will do well for your brain. For instance, I took an intensive Chinese class in Taiwan for the first half of 2016, and while I was incredibly busy balancing work and class, the experience was very rewarding. I came back to the US recharged and ready to launch a new product.
- Timothy Maliyil, Founder and CEO, AlertBoot
A few vacations a year have me dying to come back for a while. Small projects and side-gigs keep me excited, but present a new challenge of keeping focus. So I have to later find a way to somehow kill them or roll them into the overall mission. And most of all, balancing creating with consuming. You can only give so much before you need to refuel on books, YouTube, blogs, etc.
- Corey Northcutt, CEO, Northcutt
Change the Scenery
Get away - even if it is just a matter of working at home or working at a coffee shop for a day or two. Change of scenery changes your thought process. If you can swing a vacation, even just a long weekend, it will make a huge difference. Time at the beach always helps me - my favorite here in NC is Sunset Beach, very very quiet, tiny beach, not much of anything to do besides think.
- Alisha Navarro, Founder, 2 Hounds Design
I work insanely hard for half the year than work abroad the other half. At the end of the day yes I could have made a lot more $$$ staying in the office 12 months out of the year but sometimes you have to sit back and remind yourself why you started a company in the first place.
- Phil LaBoon, CEO and Founder, Eyeflow Internet Marketing
I did a year of Strategic Coach, which was very valuable. Their tools and templates are super helpful. For many folks in the group, the idea of not working nights and weekends was blasphemy. But, once the started forcing themselves to reign in work schedules, they started producing better results.
- Jennifer Benz, CEO and Founder, Benz Communications
Get a Different Perspective
Consciously trying to improve emotional intelligence has helped me deal with stress and given a new outlook on what matters in career and life. By working on that, you start treating your life and work more as a journey instead of as a milestone you have to reach. It's almost like when you hike the Grind, and you want to get there and you want to get there fast, but also allowing yourself to look back and enjoy the view.
- Arash Asli, Founder, Yocale