It takes plenty of hard work as well as vision to forge a successful entrepreneurial career. But although working long hours has a certain heroic quality, it’s easy for a driven entrepreneur to take it too far.
Pushing yourself so hard that you risk burnout is self-defeating, and will drastically limit your business potential in the longer term. If you spot any of the following warning signs, it might be time to ease off on the gas a little before it’s too late and your ventures start to suffer.
1. Sleep Disturbance
Whether you develop insomnia or start to have difficulty getting up in the morning, sleep disturbance is a sure sign that your mind isn’t coping with the stresses you’ve placed on it. As well as restoring physical strength, sleep plays a vital role in clearing out mental fog. Changes in sleep patterns can be both a cause and effect of stress, and are a warning to take seriously before a dangerous spiral can set in.
2. Changes in Appetite
Similarly, a sudden loss of appetite or a constant desire to eat show that your energy reserves are out of balance. If your brain is overloaded with business concerns, it often shows itself in neglect for your nutritional needs, or alternatively, overindulgence as a comfort and distraction.
3. Excessive and Unexplained Anxiety
Running a business is always stressful and there’s usually plenty to worry about even when things are going well. But if feelings of anxiety start to creep over into unrelated areas of life, then don’t ignore them. The issue is especially serious if the anxiety seems out of proportion to the problem behind it, or even worse if it’s without an obvious cause.
4. Lack of Focus
A concern that’s related to anxiety is a difficulty in focusing on a single task. You might simply have too much to think about to give an issue your entire attention. A lack of focus is a sure sign you’ve taken on too much and need to find some simplicity.
5. Lack of Motivation
And when you can’t concentrate properly on a single thing, it’s often hard to get started on any activity at all. If you find you’re procrastinating more often than normal, it shows your mind is becoming overwhelmed and you need a pause to get your priorities in a clearer order.
6. Lack of Sociability
If you find your work has taken over life so much that you’re neglecting friends or even family, do something about it. You need balance in life or you’ll start to lose all perspective over work issues.
7. Increasing Mood Swings
If you’re irritated with people more than usual, or are more easily upset or angered, it shows that you’re starting to lose equilibrium. You need to maintain a certain amount of calmness to deal with the ups and downs of everyday life, never mind the often extreme stresses of business.
8. Losing Enthusiasm
Lastly, if you’re starting to wonder why you’re following the entrepreneurial life at all, taking a break is urgent. Variations in enthusiasm and energy are normal, but if you’re questioning the whole basis of your career then you need to quickly find a better balance.
None of these signs say anything at all about your entrepreneurial talent or character. However, taken together they’re serious warnings that you need to get back on a more even keel to continue onward with business success.
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.