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Ask The Entrepreneurs: 15 Signs You’re Working Too Much and Burning Out

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 15 Signs You’re Working Too Much and Burning Out


    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What are some telltale signs that you’re starting to experience burnout and need to hit the Pause button?

    1. Input vs. Output

      Are you working very hard, draining your batteries, but seeing very little concrete evidence of the time you’re spending? This means that your input/output is out of balance. You should be working efficiently and effectively, producing more than you invest, so if that’s flip-flopped, take some time to recalibrate.

      Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle


      2. Entrepreneurship Is Fun, Remember?

        When you’re loving what you’re doing, the “fun to not-fun” ratio is heavily in favor of the fun side. You are excited to get up and get to work, full of energy and new ideas. You get stuff done fast and you’re in the flow. But once things start to shift to where the majority of your days aren’t enjoyable at all,you need to start looking for a break to get that passion, energy and fun back.

        Trevor Mauch, Automize, LLC

        3. Blurry Focus

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          If you’re having trouble focusing because you’ve taken on too many different things, your work will suffer. You’ll notice a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of interest, and overall, a lack of quality output. If you’re not able to deliver what your client expects, you’re probably taking on too much. Focus on what you can and should be doing, and find a way to cut out the rest.

          Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding

          4. Voicemail’s Full!

            If you begin dreading calls with clients, it’s a sign that something is out of balance. Use that warning to evaluate if you’re working too many hours or on tasks that can be easily outsourced, so you can fully enjoy every client conversation and network without feeling tired or burned out.

            Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems


            5. Unnecessary Insomnia

              If you’re tossing and turning at night and having trouble getting those restful Zzz’s, it’s a sign you may have too much on your plate. It’s a dangerous self-fulfilling cycle too; if you can’t get to sleep because your mind is too active, you’ll be even more tired the following day. Look for ways to delegate your to-do’s and make R&R part of your routine.

              Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

              6. Where Do I Start?

                A disorganized list of tasks is the busy entrepreneur’s kryptonite. Without some sort of method to your daily madness, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. I recommend spending ten minutes every night reviewing your task list for the next day and creating a hierarchy that you will be excited about tomorrow.

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                Logan Lenz, Endagon

                7. Social Surfing

                  One sign that I knew I was getting burned out was that I’d spend way too much time on Facebook, Twitter, message boards, blogs, ESPN, news sites, anything to put off doing work. In the beginning, I was incredibly excited to get to work each day and crush my tasks. As I got burned out, I started to procrastinate and surf the net, tweeting more and commenting on Facebook posts and blogs.

                  Nathan Lustig, Entrustet

                  8. Steering Clear of Your Own Office

                    Whenever I am experiencing burnout, the last place I head is my office. I’d rather do laundry, scrub bathrooms or go for a walk on a frigid day than sit and do work. If you are experiencing similar feelings, take a few hours or an entire day to just set the work down and go do something totally fun and frivolous. Your brain and body will thank you immensely!

                    Erin BlaskieBSETC

                    9. Is This Annoying?

                      You know you’re starting to experience burnout when become very irritable and have a hard time keeping your emotions in check. You will tend to lash out at people that are undeserving of the outburst. Then you know it is time to take a break!

                      Justin Nowak, Mobile Business Advisors


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                      10. No Time for the Best Friend?

                        This might sound corny, but for me, if I’m too tired to play with our dog for at least a few minutes when I get home from work, it’s not a good sign.

                        Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net




                        11. When You Can’t See the Light

                          Personally, I don’t live to work, I work to live. Being outdoors is an extremely important part of my life and if I realize I haven’t seen sunlight in 18 hours, I know I’m headed straight for burnout. Even if I have to sadly supplement going skiing with taking a quick walk to get coffee, it’s better than not getting any vitamin D at all. Know what’s important to you and don’t neglect it.

                          Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

                          12. Overwhelmed with Apathy

                            The biggest sign I have found time and time again is when you become apathetic to your business. You stop responding to emails immediately, you spend more time on websites like Facebook and “fun” sites, and you feel like things can wait.

                            Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr


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                            13. What Is Burnout?

                              If you get to the point where you’re asking yourself what constitutes burnout, you’re probably already at a point where you need to take some away from work. It’s easy to push harder, but taking an “unplugged” day away from email and phone calls does wonders to the body and mind!

                              Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media


                              14. Didn’t I Go to Work Already?

                                If you are “at the office” even when you are at home asleep, it is time to take a breather.

                                Peter Minton, Minton Law Group, P.C.



                                15. I Love Email!

                                  Managing email is one of the most inefficient tasks of the day, but when you start loving receiving and answering emails as an excuse for not doing real work, that becomes a problem. If you live for that nice little update in your inbox when you have a new message, you probably need to take a break to figure out how you can fall in love with your real job again.

                                  Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

                                  (Photo credit: Burnt Out Match via Shutterstock)

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                                  Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                                  Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                                  Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                                  Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

                                  So what changed?

                                  I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

                                  My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

                                  Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

                                  But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

                                  1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

                                  Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

                                  If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

                                  Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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                                  How to Tackle It?

                                  Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

                                  For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

                                  Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

                                  2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

                                  This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

                                  The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

                                  How to Tackle It?

                                  Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

                                  If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

                                  Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

                                  3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

                                  This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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                                  The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

                                  The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

                                  How to Tackle It?

                                  Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

                                  For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

                                  A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

                                  If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

                                  4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

                                  Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

                                  Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

                                  How to Tackle It?

                                  It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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                                  Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

                                  For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

                                  Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

                                  In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                  5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

                                  This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

                                  Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

                                  However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

                                  How to Tackle It?

                                  Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

                                  Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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                                  Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

                                  If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                  Bottom Line

                                  I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

                                  You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

                                  I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

                                  I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                                  Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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