Dealing with Startup Burnout


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You’ve been working hard at your business for a year now. Coworkers are happy, customers are pleased…but you are feeling fatigued. No matter the industry you are breaking into, running a startup is taxing. The long hours and commitment is stressful as well as rewarding.

The fledgling startup you have been nurturing for a significant chunk of time is beginning to drain your energy and spirit. As much as you love your endeavors, it is completely natural to get startup burnout.

It is tempting to take a vacation, but you can’t lose steam now. How do you stay productive, and get a refresher without taking time off?

Have more fun

It may seem counter-productive to take a break for fun at work, but sometimes you need that. All work and no play can be the worst thing you can do.  If you find you just can’t break through a mental block, take some time to enjoy yourself in a game room. Even adding a simple basketball hoop could spruce up your environment.

Revisit original goals

If you find yourself at a stagnant plateau after a year, it may be time to look back at the goals you set for yourself at the birth of the company. Take this time to finish smaller projects you had set aside in order to get the big goals accomplished (such as funding, website, etc). Finishing the projects that were put by the wayside could be just the thing you need to get your creative juices flowing again.

Create new goals

Lock yourself in a room with nothing but a pen and your ideas. Write the craziest, out-of-this-world fantasies you have about the company. Purge every thought, and then read them over. Once you look them over in a more realistic way, you’ll find that a lot of your ideas are achievable. By dissecting the ideas you think are too “wild”, “expensive”, “unattainable”, you’ll begin to see a plan develop to make it reality.

Change your patterns

Perhaps you are the type to get up at the crack of dawn, work all day, and continue working at home in the evenings. This type of behavior can begin to suck your energy out. If you have the freedom to do so, break your typical patterns and schedules. Work at a coffee shop one day. Leave your work at the office. Do something, anything, to break the strain of a startup working schedule.

How do you deal with burnout? Any tips or advice? Let us know in the comments!


Elena Mosko June 14, 2013

Super helpful! The burnout hit me like a ton of bricks and was a total surprise.  I guess we are only human, no matter how motivated.  I know it won’t stop me, but getting educated about it will make a difference.  My team needs it too.

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