4 Life Hack to Help Avoid Burnout This Month

The Shaker
Fri 02 Aug

As entrepreneurs, we had a vision, we realised it and now we're running our own companies. But the dream can suck the life out of our "work-life balance". 

When the success of the company rests on your shoulders, you've always got a reasonable (-sounding) excuse to put everything else on hold - "Let me just get through the new product launch and then I'll get around to...."  And then something causes you take stock of your life (and don't worry, it will). 

With the start to a new month upon us we seek entrepreneurial leadership expert to Fiona Macaulay to explains how these 4 changes can lead to a healthy and more balanced life.

1. Work from home one day a week, or whatever you can swing 
Few things give you a more grounded, in-control feeling than getting things done in your own space at your own pace without kids, or colleagues, underfoot. Instead of leaving the office to clear my head over a Starbucks coffee, I can tune out while folding the laundry, and cut back on evening housework.

Not to mention, working in pajamas is one of life's underrated pleasures.

2. Pencil in time for exercise 
It really bugged me that with the demands of company and family, my tennis game was going down the drain. OK, that may sound trivial, but it wasn't to me, because it was a meaningful part of my life outside of work. 

To get some balance back in my life, I re-arranged my schedule and two mornings a week, I woke up an hour earlier to work out with a tennis coach. If sweating on the court or the jogging track isn't your path to mind/body equanimity, try yoga or meditation or that hobby that you always loved but let go of after starting your business.

3. Learn something new, outside the office
It can be draining to always be the person who's supposed to have the answers as a business leader. It's surprisingly liberating to be on the other side, absorbing knowledge without the pressure to perform or to always be right.

I make it a point to regularly attend talks or take workshops with high-profile entrepreneurs and leaders -- which does have an obvious work pay-off. 

But don't be afraid to go farther afield -- check out classes and lectures at your local university or job incubator. One of my favorite stories from Sam Horn's book is about an orthodontist who staved off mid-career malaise by taking a weekly astronomy class. See who's speaking (at no cost) at your local university. 

4. Put socializing on the schedule
It's shocking how easily old friends can fall off the map, and how hard it is to make new ones. Whenever possible, build bonding into the calendar ... or let someone else do it. A friend who is a Managing Director at a leading global consulting firm organizes a monthly lunch for women leaders. For me, it's a great opportunity to catch up and, for once, I don't have to be in charge.

Full disclosure: Sometimes small changes aren't enough and you need to be willing to shake things up in a more radical way to forestall burn-out - check out Inc. for more tips!