How I came out of entrepreneur burnout and turned my life aroundPrateek Saxena
Here is a question for all you entrepreneurs reading this - Are you Living a Dream or Is it All a Nightmare in Making?
The 40 - 45 working hours a week while a norm for the sea full of employees extends to over 100 hours a week for the entrepreneurs. Even in a tight schedule of over 100 hours, entrepreneurs usually find satisfaction in the fact that they are achieving great returns in terms of profits and satisfaction that they are getting from helping the team under them reach their potential.
But are the profit graphs enough for you? Haven’t burnout started making an appearance in your life?
When I launched Appinventiv with 3 of my other friends, for a year straight I found myself working for over 100 hours a week, which was not an easy time for me on the family front. I was spending minimal time with my family and even when I was at home, I was constantly checking my phone to see the prospect I had mailed replied or not.
Eventually, the work I was doing at the office started coming back home with me and consuming my time and above all, my mind space.
This wouldn’t have stopped even today had an incident not happened, which brought the overworking to a halt.
After talking about what was happening to me with a few of my Entrepreneur friends who weren’t as new in this as I was and researching on it as well, I found the root cause. And the surprising part of it all was that I was not the first person facing this issue, nearly 80% of the Entrepreneurs around the world face the same issue.
It was the case of Mental Burnout and because it was underlying my ‘passion to achieve’ I didn’t even realize when it started affecting my work, satisfaction level, family life, and even my health.
Now that I knew what was causing this heightened level of dissatisfaction and constant irritability, it was time to act on it.
Here is what I did to change my 100 hours a week schedule to 50 hours a week without letting my company profits suffer.
1. Burned Down all my to-do Lists
The first thing I did was to burn down the to-do lists and added the items in there in my calendar. So now my things to do became my schedule, which ultimately led to the ability to do things that were getting sidetracked.
The next thing I did was to blend my personal and professional calendar to stop my family from taking a back seat. Now my calendar had both - client call at 5 pm and buy milk at 8:30 pm.
2. Limited checking my phone on Sunday to only two times
This one took some perseverance since checking my phone every two hours had become a habit but after much control, the old habit died and the new got developed.
3. Started leaving the office premises at 8:00 pm
I consciously brought a stop to my illusion that everything I had worked hard for will break down to nothing if I don’t stay in office till 12 am.
I hired a team to work in the US shift to hold the grounds while I was home with family.
4. Enrolled in gym
I had read that exercising releases endorphins into the body, a chemical that reduces stress and makes you happy. It was a week of gymming that I realized the truth in the fact.
The level of irritability lowered to a great extent and now I was feeling a lot less physically tired.
5. Started giving off control
Earlier, the belief that I have to manage everything, I have to be on top of every team was taking up a major part of my day, making it difficult for me to shorten my to-do lists and the Big Picture soon started blurring in front of my eyes.
What I did was let go.
I gave space to my Managers to handle their team and take decisions in my place, while I only came into the picture only twice a month to overlook the direction in which the process was headed.
Taking these 5 steps were not easy. It took A LOT of perseverance and conscious reminders to self to let go and relax a bit. But in the end of it all, when I now look back at how things have turned out, I stare into an event where things turned out just fine from both business and family front and had I not identified that I was facing burnout when I did, things would have turned in a very troubling situation for everyone involved with me.