“I’m burnt out. I can’t do this. I want to take a break − only a short vacation − but I just don’t have the time. But I know I can’t sustain this for much longer. ”
It’s all too common among business owners of startups that they suffer from burnout. That is the emotional exhaustion of feeling totally drained, just not able to cope, and dead beat. You will also, in most cases, lack the energy to do your work. Besides the impact of reduced performance, this can also negatively impact your private life, your family, and your relationships.
The question is whether a vacation will suffice, or whether you need to do something a bit more dramatic, such as to deploy a hard reset? As an experienced, professional company, we understand that your long-term wellness will benefit from a hard reset. But what is a hard reset, and what is the benefit for business owners?
It’s simple − as simple as pressing the reset button to start on a brand new page. The benefit is allowing you to step back from the chaos. More so, it’s about re-evaluating your life and the direction it is taking; then starting afresh with a new perspective and tools to ensure you have a better work balance. Remember, in most cases, entrepreneurs start a venture with the goal of becoming independent. Working as a slave, feeling broken, is not independence. Moreover, for some, a vacation is just not enough. They need a hard reset.
Founders of startups can reap great success if they upscale this business idea. Upscaling is accompanied by some mental, emotional, and physical stress; however, this should not negatively affect your well-being. Otherwise, it would be counterproductive and lead to severe problems such as health issues and mental illnesses. It is vital that you not toy with your well-being. There are solutions to help you ease the pressure. Taking a sabbatical is one way of resetting your life: this is much more effective than a vacation.
What does a startup sabbatical look like?
A sabbatical need not incur a massive amount of time away from work. However, it should give you sufficient time to feel that you are not on vacation. Meaning, if you wake up in the morning and your first thought is not to work, then you have reset your priorities.
Vacations are simply too short to be effective. You will still not have switched off the business concerns at the back of your mind, still pondering your work. In contrast, a sabbatical is designed to break your focus entirely.
Just note, your personal recovery time can differ from someone else’s, as we are all different. However, you will still have some habits that intrude, such as checking emails. Therefore, you need to get to the point of delegating those habits.
How does a business owner of a startup take a sabbatical?
You might be keen on taking a sabbatical, but would you? Most would say no since they just can’t afford to leave their businesses. This indicates a deeper problem, centering on a lack of proper delegation, and not trusting that you have employed the right people to do their jobs.
To overcome this, start by delegating or at least learning this important skill. With proper delegation, you can free up your time and become independent, thereby focusing on what truly matters the most. You can temporarily promote staff who can step in to act more independently. You should stop micromanaging − this is a counter-productive technique, adding to you feeling drained. Also, if you hired the right people to do the work, you should not need to micromanage anyone. However, no one will be able to do your job. The goal is to have people who can actively assist you and help you to do more.
As you build your team, you will also be building trust.
Do note that you need to inform your team why you are taking a sabbatical. Be open, honest − inform your team of your challenges. You will be surprised at how many of them might empathize with you. They may well have struggled likewise, and could tell you how they overcame their challenges.
What can you do to enable your team?
If a total break is just not going to work, then be honest with yourself, and rather limit your interaction to one-to-one catch-ups, ensuring that the business is moving in the right direction, calming your fears. You will be surprised at how your team members will pull their weight and do more.
There are also courses you can send your team on, such as learning the skill of effective management. Also, you can outsource time-consuming and mundane tasks to a remote worker. If you hire a virtual assistant, those remote workers will handle any excruciatingly mundane chores at a much lower cost than if you or any of your team members did the work.
The main point is that you can’t keep working on a flat battery. You need to recharge it. In most cases, it is the way you are working that is the cause of your problems: you need to learn how to hire, fire, and manage people effectively. However, it is possible to reset your focus, and you will be glad if you do this – you and your team will be much more productive. Once you experience renewed energy, you will be better able to grow your start-up in the shortest possible time.