If you’re an entrepreneur, it is so important to stay consistently motivated and productive. For the most part, we only see a lot of the glamorous side of entrepreneurship; the Insta-worthy home offices, the live casts every week featuring a different guest and attending numerous events, all while still managing the time to go to the gym every morning and cook a home cooked dinner for the family. Seeing others do these things makes us feel as if we need to step up our game and do more and more. Suddenly what was only a 5 point daily to-do list has become 10 points, and keeps doubling every day. And even though we’re grinding and working hard, a part of our brain keeps telling us to do more and work harder.
Suddenly our bodies have had enough, the burnout sets in and our mental and physical health starts to spiral. For Karima Neghmouche this is all too common. The woman behind Karima Creative and host of the Creative Minds podcast, has experienced burnout multiple times on her own entrepreneurship journey. Here are her pointers on how to avoid dealing with overwhelm and burnout as an entrepreneur.
Celebrate The Wins
Firstly, it’s important to realise that each and every day we are doing incredible things that seem small, but amount to so much. We work full-time, take care of our families, keep up with paying the bills, making dinner, cleaning our houses, etc., all whilst trying to grow a business. One of the first things I did when I went into business was hire a coach. She stressed the importance of celebrating every single win, because as entrepreneurs, we are constantly in go-go-GO mode. In completing one task and going on to another without focusing on the wins (both big and small) leads to us forgetting our ‘why’. It makes us question if what we’re doing is even worth it.
When you find yourself celebrating the small wins, however, you find yourself wanting to achieve more! It’s like marking something off a to-do list, you know that rush you feel immediately after? Let yourself feel that rush for longer than the typical three seconds. When I get a new client, I literally stand up and dance. Then I go do something for myself; sometimes that is taking a bath, going to dinner, going to bed earlier, or booking a weekend trip I’ve been thinking about. Regardless of what it is, I always celebrate.
Figure out what recharges you
When most people talk about this, they tend to use the term ‘disconnect’. Now, disconnecting can be incredibly beneficial and an amazing way to recharge, but it’s not for everyone. You know how people identify with either being introverted or extroverted? They use those words, not to determine how ‘shy’ one is, or how ‘anti-social’ one may be, but to describe where they get their energy from. After a long work week, do you feel more energized when you go out with your friends? Or, do you feel more energized after spending an evening alone with minimal contact to others?
Introverts require some alone time to clear their minds, whereas extroverts generate energy by spending time with other people. Figure out which you identify with most, and go get your energy that way. Isolating yourself completely may not help you avoid burnout if you’re an extrovert, and vice versa if you are an introvert.
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good
Many entrepreneurs are perfectionists. We are constantly working hard to make our dreams come true and every little thing has to be perfect. Except it doesn’t. Nothing does.
Learn to let go of the idea of perfect and embrace the idea of momentum. Perseverance and momentum are what distinguishes those who are successful from those who are not. Don’t be wasting your precious time and energy trying to perfect something. Understand that when you wake up every single morning, you have a limited amount of energy, and you have to determine where that energy goes. Figure out what is important, what needs more time, and what you can do to just get by (and fix later!)
Forgiving yourself and accepting things that are not-so-perfect will save you so much time and energy, and will allow you to focus on the things and people that are really important. Just remember, ‘done is better than perfect’.
Remind Yourself of How Far You Have Come
As humans, we tend to take ourselves for granted a lot. Look back at yourself six months ago, a year ago, and five years ago. Look at the difference you’ve already made for yourself. Hold that pride close. Put it in a little bottle and get it out during the times you start to feel burnt out and when you begin to question yourself. It is energizing. It is an unexplainable feeling to actually focus on the fact that you took your dream, in circumstances that weren’t perfect, and you worked towards it anyway.
A lot of this comes back to practicing gratitude. At the end of each day grab a notebook, sit down and reflect on your wins of the day and what you have accomplished. Write them down so that you can flip back every few weeks and see the amazing things that you’ve done and the progress you’ve made in that short amount of time. When you realize how far you’ve already made it, it makes it incredibly hard to not believe that you will go further.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to practising self-care. By prioritising your sleep, eating well and implementing Karima’s advice, you will be well on your way to avoiding ever feeling overwhelmed and having to deal with burnout.