It's Time to Recharge Your Batteries — How to Positively Prevent Small Business Burnout Your well-being is just as important as your business's success, and addressing one positively impacts the other.

By Ashley Hubka

Key Takeaways

  • The primary characteristics of burnout are feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from work and decreased professional efficiency.
  • Delegating tasks can significantly help combat burnout.
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Running a small business is an exciting journey filled with opportunities and challenges. Although this journey might sometimes feel like a 24/7 solo commitment, it's important to remember that you're not alone, and it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Recognizing these feelings is the first step towards addressing them positively, ultimately enhancing your business's health and your personal well-being.

The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. Its primary characteristics are feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from work and decreased professional efficiency. While this may sound daunting, it's more common than you might think, and there are effective strategies to manage it.

Related: How to Spot Entrepreneurial Burnout (Before It's Too Late)

A recent Walmart Business survey found that 62% of 500 small business owners experienced burnout at least once a month. The primary reason cited was the difficulty in disconnecting from work, often due to the blurred lines between personal and professional life. Notably, many of these business owners rarely took vacations, and when they did, work still consumed significant portions of their time. As one survey respondent aptly stated, "Sometimes there is so much work to do it is hard to accomplish it all as one person."

The keys to overcoming this challenge are acknowledging it and taking proactive steps to address it. Recognizing that trying to do everything single-handedly is neither effective nor beneficial for your health or business is a significant step in the right direction.

Related: How I Pulled Myself Out of Burnout and Turn My Ambitions Into Reality

A solution to this lies in the power of delegation. Assigning routine tasks to your team, such as ordering supplies or analyzing spending patterns, will help you reduce your workload and alleviate feelings of burnout. A promising 81% of our survey respondents were open to the concept of delegation. If you're a solo entrepreneur, consider leveraging technology to automate repetitive tasks.

In addition to delegation, setting boundaries is another key strategy for managing burnout. As a small business owner, working around the clock and constantly being available to clients or customers is tempting. However, this can quickly lead to burnout and a lack of work-life balance. As the old saying goes, you must take time to "sharpen the saw," or you'll end up with a dull and ineffective blade.

Setting clear boundaries by designating specific times for work and making sure to take breaks throughout the day will help prevent burnout and improve your overall well-being. It's important to communicate these boundaries to your team, clients and customers so they understand when you are available and when you are not.

Related: 7 Rules for Entrepreneurs to Delegate Effectively

Use this time to prioritize your personal well-being. Mayo Clinic experts recommend engaging in relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation or tai chi to relieve tension and reduce stress. Regular exercise, balanced nutrition, quality sleep, and mindfulness are crucial ingredients for optimal health.

If you're wondering how to fit these activities into your busy schedule, some of the business owners we surveyed have found the answer by integrating leisure activities into their calendars. This could be spending time with loved ones, picking up a hobby, or adding a personal day to business trips. While it might seem counterintuitive to add more activities when you're already swamped, these leisure moments can help create a healthy work-life balance.

Related: 6 Ways Successful People Manage Their Time

And celebrate your successes along the way. As a small business owner, it's easy to get caught up in the never-ending to-do list and forget to acknowledge your accomplishments. Taking time to celebrate milestones, big or small, will boost morale, provide motivation and remind you of your progress. Whether it's treating yourself to a nice meal, taking a day off to relax or simply reflecting on your achievements, celebrating success helps combat burnout and keep you motivated in your entrepreneurial journey.

A relentless drive and commitment to the business characterize the entrepreneurial spirit. However, it's essential to remember that this dedication should not compromise your health and well-being. Burnout is more than a temporary stress spike; it's a serious condition that warrants immediate attention. You can effectively combat burnout by acknowledging its signs, delegating tasks, and investing time in self-care. Remember, your well-being is just as important as your business's success, and addressing one positively impacts the other.

Ashley Hubka

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Senior Vice President & General Manager, Walmart Business

Walmart Business SVP & GM, Ashley Hubka, oversees the retailer’s eCommerce experience built to empower SMBs and nonprofits. She oversees strategy, operations and growth drivers. Prior, she served as SVP, Enterprise Strategy, Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships for Walmart.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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