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Avoiding Entrepreneur Burnout: Work Out of Rest

The third part of this Avoiding Entrepreneur Burnout series deals with resting. Yay! The funny thing about rest is that most people don’t see the benefits, even though they know the negative effects of not getting enough. And it’s real easy to blame just about everything on being tired. That’s why we’ve got all sorts of shmancy sports drinks with electrolytes, carbs and what-not. Everyone wants to be energized, but nobody wants to actually rest.

Unfortunately, this is especially true for entrepreneurs. We have a never-ending list of chores and things that only we can do, not to mention the fact that our projects are like babies to us, which require constant attention. It’s kind of like a mother letting her child go to day-care for the first time. It’s hard to let go.

But let go we must, lest we find ourselves burnt. Here’s how.

Schedule Around Your Breaks

This little trick works wonders. Instead of sitting down to your calendar and mapping out all the things you have to do, pencil in your breaks that you’re planning throughout the day, week and month FIRST. Except don’t use something that you can erase, you cheater. Use a pen, permanent marker, blood–anything that you can’t tempt yourself to scratch out later. Instead of fudging on your breaks, you’re going to have to schedule less.

While this might seem pretty anti-productive, the benefits outweight the costs in the long run. 

First of all, by doing less work during the day, you’re making yourself do something that benefits you and your organization like no other: You’re becoming focused in your planning and leading. You’re only doing the things that have to be done, and you’re delegating or even throwing away completely the things you don’t. This makes you really evaluate what’s important and why in all of your decisions. By doing this you’ll trim the fat from your workload, and you’ll get more accomplished.

Your Day Begins When You Go to Sleep

I don’t claim to be a sleep specialist, but if there’s one thing that most people suffer from is sleep. Lack of sleep is America’s top health problem, and studies have shown that lack of sleep can link to a variety of major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. (Looks like the individuals suing McDonalds may have found a new scapegoat for their added girth. Mr. Sandman better find a good lawyer.)

Yup, turns out having proper sleep is good for your health, just like your mother always told you. Why? Well one of the reasons is that your deepest REM sleep is between 10pm and 3am. Some of us don’t even go to bed until after that!

Here are some other benefits of sleep:

  • It makes you smarter
  • It boosts your immune system
  • It helps you look better
  • It makes you nicer
  • It increases concentration

So instead of staying up all hours of the night working, go to bed instead and get up earlier. By learning to cooperate with your body’s natural patterns, you’ll get more out of your day. You’ll be more efficient in and productive during your day, and you’ll feel better about yourself in the meantime. You’ll start getting more done in less time.

On the flip side, the costs of not properly resting throughout the week is critical. The long and short of it is this: If you don’t properly take breaks, your productivity will suffer, both sooner and later. We weren’t meant to spend 16 hours a day blinking at a computer screen, and your body will constantly remind you of that fact.