You did it. You founded that startup, and that felt great in the heat of the moment. Maybe it still feels great, but who are you kidding? After a while, you finally had a taste of what it’s like to work nonstop from the moment you open your eyes until you finally shut them.
That, my friend, is when what we call “founder burnout” begins to fester. In medical terms one could call it “burnout syndrome”, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has coined as being “an occupational phenomenon”. Not a disease, but just as harmful as one.
How to recognise it? There comes a point when you’re exhausted. Bone-tired. Even the smallest tasks become unbearable until your body forces a break on you.
But wait—you’re a founder, aren’t you? You’re a badass. Not working for a week means everything will be lost. That board meeting won’t attend itself, will it? That campaign won’t market itself, WILL IT? You never get tired. You’re a firm believer in sayings such as “work while they’re sleeping”, or something of that nature.
Let me stop you there for a second. That pretentious “boss mindset” you were led to believe is digging your startup’s grave. And potentially yours, too.
That’s no terrorism, these are facts. Founder burnout is serious and could destroy your health in the long-term. How will you feel when the all the work, work, work you crave brings you:
• Decreased productivity.
• Wasted time.
• Poor-quality work.
Aren’t those just the things you’ve been running away from? It looks like you might be contributing to their success and you’re not even aware of it.
And as if that weren’t enough, working 24/7 could also bring a few more unwelcome surprises along the way. Such as:
• Sleep disorders.
• Digestive issues.
And the list goes on. The above topics aren’t even half of the list of potential health problems you could develop from burnout, by the way.
I’ll say this in a way that’ll hopefully convince you: vacations are a part of your business. An essential part, at that.
They may not look or feel right when you’re stuck in a workaholic spiral. But once you take a step back and view everything from a different standpoint, you’ll realise how much you actually needed that. Hopefully that standpoint is somewhere at a deserted beach or a scenic vista.
Now, let’s not forget you’re a founder. A vacation is supposed to be a breather, not a bad habit. No need to stay out of office for months—that could be just as bad as working yourself sick.
Take a week or two. Maybe four days. But you have to promise one thing: regardless of where you go, enjoy the moment. Let everyone know you’ll be off for a while. During this time, make “work” sound like a dirty word.
When you’re fully back into beast mode, you’ll see how much better it feels. How much more productive and full of energy you are. Give it a try.
Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash