How to avoid burnout whilst running your own franchise
Whether you are a franchisor, franchisee or employee everyone can experience burnout. The main thing is to notice the key signs when you are about to crash and how to avoid doing so.
What is a Burnout?
Burnout is a phrase used for when people begin to succumb to physical, psychological and emotional stress through work. This can then make people believe that they cannot continue and that the only way out is to quit. But, there are ways you can avoid the burnout and prevent yourself from becoming to far gone that there is no redemption.
How could I Burnout?
Firstly, we should look at why people become burned out. Running your own business or being employed is not exactly a new idea that we have decided to begin doing, so the question is how come it seems to be affecting us more now. Many research studies and theories believe there are several factors that contribute to people becoming too stressed.
Due to the ever-growing supply and demand for technology, we are increasingly becoming more “always on”. By this we mean, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you are always doing something with a device. After a long day of staring at a computer screen, people go home to look at another screen being their television, or their mobile phone. Even worse those who want to escape screens by reading, as more books these days are being made available as ‘eBooks’ which again is on screens!
Also, lots of people are staying to do longer hours, especially those who are involved in SMEs (Small/Medium Enterprises). This may only be a couple of hours a night, but when added up this soon becomes quite large numbers of hours that you are dedicating to work as oppose to play. This balance has become lost throughout recent years and has only been accentuated with lockdown as people will have access to laptops and computers at home, meaning they are checking emails later than if they were at the office. Although this has its ups and downs, for those who simply cannot shut down from work leads them to work longer and later than usual.
There are key symptoms to look out for when someone is heading for a burnout, things such as; lack of appetite, mood changes/swings, inability to concentrate, susceptible to illness, anxiety and depression being the later stages. All these cases are avoidable and can be prevented by stopping things before they get too far. However, once someone has hit the burnout, they will need an extended break from work in order to resume normal function.
How to Spot Burnout
Longer Hours – As mentioned above, the longer you work the less down time you are having. When there are deadlines or certain upcoming events that require the extra hours to get things over the line you can accept that things in your personal life may need to pause momentarily. What is not acceptable however is to let work take over your life and turn the momentary pause into a grinding halt. You should still be seeing your friends (at last!) and participating in your hobbies to ensure that you feel as normal as possible. If you are currently working from home, then when you finish for the day, get into the habit of closing your computer down and putting it away where possible, as this will prevent you from just ‘popping on to check your emails’.
Mistakes – Everyone prides themselves in being the best they can be at their job, but nobody is perfect. So, when you begin to make mistakes, it can become noticeable and a reason for alarm if they start to occur more regularly than normal. Mistakes can begin to creep in due to a lack of sleep, lack of concentration or just becoming too flustered with your workload, which then can result in a criticism for peers or managers which only adds fuel to the stress fire.
Overwhelmed – Going through your to-do list is important as it allows you to reflect on what needs to be done and normally in what order due to importance. However, when things are tough and there are multiple things going on at once, you can start to feel swamped and overburdened with work. That one-step forward and two-step back can feel more like eight massive leaps back when you are overwhelmed and beginning to burnout.
Who am I? – When you begin burnout you can start to become unrecognisable to others as well as yourself. You may start to feel different thoughts towards things and this perception can cloud your usually sound judgement. It does not just affect your work judgements, these thoughts can begin affecting your personal life and that can be increasingly detrimental to relationships with family, friends and loved ones.
How to Prevent Burnout
Sleep! – It is an obvious cure, but sleep is the bodies way of recharging your batteries. Getting the Zzz’s in can help you feel less stressed and allow you to think more clearly. You will not be as tired the following day, which helps with your mood and makes you feel more energetic towards the tasks at hand.
Time Management – Another obvious help tool is to manage your time better. Easier said than done of course but setting strict guidelines and timeframes for tasks allow you to better understand what is required of you. If you dedicate an hour for that presentation you have been asked to create, if it takes longer then you move onto something else and go back to it. If you finish another task quicker, then you can use that free time to go back to it. Being flexible allows you to chop and change so you never feel defeated.
Ask for Support – You should never be embarrassed about asking for help. In times of need, this is where work colleagues, family and friends can all step in to help you relax and overcome your issues. If you are struggling with workloads, then the first thing you should do is tell someone. Do not try and be a hero and overcome it as there will only be one loser, and that is you. A genuine employer will respond professionally and seek to help you where possible, so asking for assistance is not a crime.
Be Normal – The easiest thing to do when your mind starts to become cloudy with negative thoughts is to change the way you act. But do not be deceived, remain positive and do the things you love! Go for the walks you enjoy, watch those movies, play the games and see the people you love. All the positivity that helps balance you out will make the burnout issues seem far less giant, and they often help alleviate the anxiety surrounding them.
Burnout can happen to anyone and at any time. The important thing to do is to stop it in its tracks before it becomes a bigger issue than it needs to be. Certain stresses can help motivate or push people along, others can just wipe out people’s confidence and work ethic all together. Talking to your network around and seeking advice really helps shift the weight off your shoulders and will only make things easier for you in the future.