Entrepreneurs are hard-working by nature -- that's how they build companies from the ground up, raise capital for exciting new projects and manage teams of hundreds. But when you spend too much time behind your desk, you run the risk of experiencing burnout and losing your valuable energy to stress.
Get out of cellphone range.
When you have access to email in the palm of your hand, it can be difficult to escape the always-on pace of the business world. That's why Jonathan Steiman, founder and CEO of outsourced customer service provider Peak Support, gets away from it all by quite literally getting out of touch.
"It's so hard for business owners to unplug, even when they're on vacation. Once a year, I try to take a vacation where I am forced to unplug. I go into the woods where my cell phone doesn't work," he says. "It's tough to do, because I have to plan carefully and trust my team to manage the company while I'm gone, but it's worth it."
Leverage your mental prime time.
Doug Bend, founder and managing partner of law firm Bend Law Group, PC, knows that being productive at work means you are less likely to fall victim to burnout. By blocking out time to focus, you can work hard now in order to take a break later.
"The key to avoiding burnout is to be extremely productive with your work time. Identify when you are the most productive and complete the highest-priority tasks during that time," he says. "To do so, eliminate distractions -- such as calls and emails -- and use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks."
"Instead of an all-or-nothing approach, add balance to your day," says Shawn Schulze, co-founder of name meaning search engine Names.org. By doing at least one thing outside of the office each day, you will have more mental energy when you return to work.
"Find non-business things to do every day -- having lunch with family and friends, working out, etc. Do something non-work related and talk to people who won't talk about your business," he says. "After years of grinding, I started golfing to get outside and away from work for a bit, and I became more productive."
Take care of yourself physically.
A healthy body is a healthy mind. No matter how busy it is at work, Kristin Marquet, founder and creative director of PR firm Creative Development Agency, LLC, hits the pavement for daily runs to clear her head.
"As someone who worked 80+ hours a week to get my first business off the ground, I let my daily workouts go because I worked from early morning to late evening. But after a few months of not exercising, I felt sluggish and burnt out because I was more stressed," she says. "Now, I make my morning runs non-negotiable to avoid burnout."
Commit to your favorite activity.
Douglas Baldasare, founder and CEO of cell phone charging provider ChargeItSpot, holds himself accountable to doing the things he loves. Promising to make time for the activities you enjoy gives you something to look forward to when work feels overwhelming.
"Find one or two things that you really enjoy, and make a promise to yourself that you're going to participate in those activities a certain number of times over a certain period," he says. "I love international travel and, despite my heavy workload, I made a promise to myself years ago that I'd leave the country at least three times a year."
Delegate what you don't enjoy.
"I have experienced burnout while working on projects that I don't love. I have never experienced burnout while working on a project that I'm extremely excited about," says Brandon Stapper, partner at entrepreneurial growth platform Crown Growth. If you focus on what you love and delegate the rest, you'll never dread the hard work you have to put in.
"Don't get stuck on the tasks you don't want to do. Hire someone who will love to take on those tasks and have them do the work," he says. "This will keep you fired up to work on fun projects."