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8 Things small business owners must do to prevent burnout

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Have you noticed yourself feeling more anxious, exhausted, susceptible to mood swings, or unable to sleep at night? If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you may be a small business owner on the brink of burnout.

According to a 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics report, managers are the occupation group most likely to experience burnout, with over a third of them suffering work-induced fatigue. This is on top of findings by Safe Work Australia in 2012 that half of the workplace injury bill, a staggering $30 billion a year, is due to overwork and stress. In addition to negatively impacting the sufferer’s individual work performance burnout can quickly snowball into secondhand stress for other employees. Consequently, small business owners have a responsibility to themselves as well as to their employees to stay physically and mentally healthy.

If you are passionate about your business and wish to be at the helm of a happy and thriving workplace then you need to have a plan of action for avoiding burnout. The following 8 tips will help you.

1. Take control of your emotions

Realise that you have 100% control over your thoughts and that it is your thoughts – the way you interpret a situation, the importance you attach to an outcome, and the expectations you place upon yourself – which determine your feelings. So, choose to find a benefit from every situation and cut yourself some slack when things don’t go according to plan.

2. Be goal-focused

To maximise your own efficiency and to remain focused on your key business objectives stay goal-oriented rather than time-oriented. Delegate any monotonous tasks to skilled employees or suitable vendors. Also, to prevent the business taking on a life of its own, regularly revisit your reasons for starting the business. Is the business still aligned with your initial professional and lifestyle goals?

3. Set boundaries

The latest Gallup polls reveal that 67% of workers will stay at a company because of its work-life balance practices. This affects you as well as your employees so try not to work beyond a set number of hours each week, unplug from technology once you get home, have lunch every day, spend quality uninterrupted time with your family on the weekends, and take holidays during the year.

4. Change it up

One of the causes of burnout is monotonous work practices. Keep yourself physically and mentally fresh by changing things up. Find innovative ways to do mundane tasks, change your work routine, have walking meetings, and take a 2-minute break every 40 minutes to stretch and connect face-to-face with employees.

5. Hire the right people

To allow your business to run efficiently hire people whose personal values reflect those of your business – hire for attitude and train for skill. Then link employees with jobs that match their strengths as they will be more engaged, more productive, and more loyal. To encourage innovation and greater responsibility from your staff involve them in the direction of the business.

6. Promote single-tasking

Studies have shown that multitasking actually reduces productivity by as much as 20-40% and makes us more susceptible to making errors, lengthens task time, and increases stress. Instead, develop the habit of single-tasking throughout the day when driving to work, booting up your computer, eating lunch, or listening to employees.

7. Cultivate a supportive environment

Develop relationships with your employees. Surveys reveal that people with 5 or more close friends are 60% more likely to be very happy. Also, happier workers help their colleagues 33% more than those who aren’t happy. So, cultivate an environment where staff are always on the lookout for opportunities to show gratitude and to help one another.

8. Cherish your health

Good health acts as a buffer against stress and improves resiliency. Cherish your health through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep each night. Include exercise at work by taking the stairs, parking far away from the office, and walking to the water cooler. Remember – if you lose your health, all of your business objectives and life goals are in jeopardy.


About the author:

Dr. Bruce Wells is a happiness and wellness consultant. He works with companies, community groups, and individuals committed to improving performance, wellbeing, and happiness. He is the author of Happiness Anywhere Anytime. For more information visit Bruce at www.drbruce.com.au