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7 Warning Signs You're Heading for Burnout (and What to Do About It)

If you're a victim of your own success, you're working too hard. As a business owner, it means you've created a high-paying job for yourself.
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A victim of your own success.

That's not pretty, is it?

If you're a victim of your own success, you're working too hard. As a business owner, it means you've created a high-paying job for yourself.

What you should be doing is crafting a business and a life you love.

Savvy business owners know they need boundaries. They work out what they're prepared to do, and what they're not prepared to do.

And it depends on where your business is up to. If you're in the start-up phase or going through a period of rapid growth or change it's normal to burn the midnight oil a little.

But it's not sustainable.

Keep it up and it will lead to burnout. What does that look like?

Well, let's see. Here are seven signs of burnout.

1. Exhaustion

I don't just mean tired, I mean really, really tired. All the time. Exhaustion can be mental, emotional or physical, and it's the feeling that you're totally spent.

2. Motivation

Lack of motivation can manifest in a couple of different ways. You might not feel enthusiastic about anything anymore. Or you might just find you have to drag yourself out of bed every day.

3. Frustration

You may find yourself generally more pessimistic, but also more short-tempered. It's easy to get frustrated. We all have the occasional bad day, but when this happens regularly it's a red flag.

4. Cognition

Burnout interferes with our ability to concentrate and pay attention, so you may find it hard to focus. This is because you've focused so intently for so long.

You may find you have trouble remembering things, or that you have difficulty focusing on anything other than work.

5. Satisfaction

You're likely to feel far less satisfied with your business and your work life, but you may also feel less happy at home.

6. Agitation

You're so focused on work that you can't think about anything else. You worry or think about work problems almost all of the time.

7. Condition

You're not taking care of yourself physically. You're not eating well, or exercising, or taking the time to nurture your body and mind.

Now, you may not be experiencing all of these symptoms, or you may not be experiencing them intensely, but it's time to check in with yourself.

You're a business owner, so it's natural that you'll live and breathe your business. But if you're regularly exhausted, or you feel like your business is running you, it's time to make some changes.

Set some boundaries

I mean serious boundaries. Seeing patients all day and spending your evenings on administration or accounting is not sustainable. Start applying a reasonableness test to things. What would you reasonably expect someone else to do in this situation?

Work out what you can outsource, and what can be done better. I recommend my clients schedule admin time during the day. I know it reduces billable hours, but people who do this say it's a worthwhile investment. It actually makes them more productive.

Take Relaxation Seriously

Taking regular holidays is a great start, but you need to focus on your health.

Schedule time for regularly exercise and relaxation. You might take up meditation or yoga, or you might just schedule regular time to put your feet up and read a great book.

Whatever you do, take relaxation seriously. If you have a family or partner, commit yourself to spending regular time fostering those relationships. No matter how successful you are, it's not worth sacrificing your connection with the people you love.

Check Yourself

You know yourself better than anyone so take the time to check in with yourself. How are you doing? How do you feel?

Regular headaches, muscle tension and stomach upsets can be an indication you're under too much pressure, or you're over doing it.

Find A New Passion

Many business owners say their business is their passion -- or that business in general is their passion. And that's fine.

But try to find a passion outside of business. Take up ballroom dancing with your partner, join the local soccer team, or take up martial arts.

If you don't currently have a hidden interest you've been ignoring for years, start trying out some new things. You never know where you might find a new hobby that gives you a great reason to finish work early... or at least on time.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting insufficient sleep is detrimental to your health. It affects your mood, your memory and your focus. Getting enough sleep can improve your memory and help you recover from burnout and stress.

It won't counteract all of life's worries, but it will help you address them more reasonably and optimistically.

Find Your Equilibrium

Work-Life balance is an overused term.

What you need is your own personal recipe for success -- success in business, but also success in life.

If you're working long hours ask yourself "why?" and "how long can I sustain this" and "what am I risking?"

Your life and your health and your relationships are invaluable. No one can put a price on them.

And only you can preserve them.

So take the time. Invest the energy in self-conservation. Make sure you're able to bring your A-Game every day.

To everything you do. Work. Life. Love. Health. Wealth.

Work. Life. Love. Health. Wealth.

Put boundaries on your time. Work fewer hours, but make them count.

Invest the time in family and friends.

Look after yourself.

Because at the end of the day, if you don't, who will?

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