How Billionaires Warren Buffett, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey Strike the Balance Between Life and Leadership Over long and lucrative careers, they've learned how to avoid burnout on their quests for success.

By Dr. Colleen Batchelder

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you feeling burned out? You're not alone. In fact, you're part of the majority: 77% of employees report being burned out most days of the week, and six in 10 business owners haven't taken a week off in two years. Yikes.

It hasn't been easy to be an entrepreneur lately. The market is saturated, the competition is fierce, and it seems like there's a new thing to learn about running a business every day. Throw in family obligations, a global health crisis and a never-ending to-do list, and it's no wonder so many entrepreneurs feel ready to give up.

Running your own company can be exciting, but it also comes with low points and lots of stress. And it's a lot for one person to handle. But it doesn't have to be that way; it's possible to chase those ambitious goals without sacrificing your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Consider how some of the entrepreneurial greats have made it happen for themselves.

Over long and lucrative careers, billionaire business leaders Warren Buffett, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey have had to strike the critical balance between life and leadership — keeping sane as they continue to strive for ever-more success. Give this trio's strategies a try, and you might just be in for your most pleasant and profitable entrepreneurial year yet.

Related: Why Setting Boundaries Is the Secret to Preserving Energy and Focusing on What Matters

Schedule unstructured thinking time

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, often spends several hours reading and thinking without any specific goal in mind. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates reportedly do the same. These entrepreneurs recognize the importance of contemplation. It allows them to step back from their day-to-day work and see the bigger picture, which helps them avoid burnout and make better decisions about their business.

One of the best ways to stay balanced and avoid burnout while running a business is to schedule unstructured thinking time and reflection. This means setting aside time each day or week to sit and think without pressure or stress. You can use this time to reflect on your business, think about what's working and what isn't or simply relax. The key is not to pressure yourself to do anything during this time and let your mind wander where it wants.

You don't need hours each day to do this. You can schedule unstructured thinking time for as little as 10 minutes each day. Just find a quiet place to focus on your thoughts without any distractions and let yourself relax and reflect.

Related: The 4 Stages of Burnout, and How to Turn Them to Your Advantage

Take 60 minutes a day to focus on your health

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, starts every day with an hour of exercise –– and he attributes his success to his routine. Branson believes that healthy living helps him stay focused, productive and balanced throughout the day.

And the science backs up his theory. Exercising regularly has been shown to boost energy, reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, increase concentration and enhance moods.

It's no secret that entrepreneurs need good health to be successful. But it's often hard to find the time or energy to focus on our health when we're busy running a business and trying to juggle everything else in our personal life. But if you set aside just 30-60 minutes each day to focus on your health, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. You can do low-impact exercises like yoga, walking or swimming and still get the same benefits as people who spend an hour at the gym every day. The key is to find something that you enjoy and stick with it.

Related: 5 Ways Leaders Can Fight Burnout Culture

Surround yourself with support

Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, has also learned how to avoid burnout. She's been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years, but she still has low stress levels and a healthy work-life balance. The reason? She surrounds herself with a small circle of people who can support her. And she invests in those relationships.

This is something all entrepreneurs should do. You're going to be faced with stressful situations all the time. And it can quickly lead to burnout if you don't have a support system in place. But when you surround yourself with people who love and care about you, they can help you find balance. These people can be your friends, family members, business partners or even employees. The key is finding low-stress people you can turn to when things get tough.

If you want to stay balanced while building a business and avoid burnout, learn to prioritize unstructured thinking, create healthy habits and surround yourself with positive people. These low-stress habits will help you create a low-burnout environment so that you can be more productive, get more done in less time and enjoy your life as an entrepreneur to the fullest.

Wavy Line
Dr. Colleen Batchelder

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Leadership Strategist and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Dr. Colleen Batchelder approaches generational dissonance through different lenses, including anthropology, theology, sociology and ethnography. She has worked with multiple business leaders to develop corporate environments that resonate and represent the millennial and Generation Z workforce.

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