Let’s face it, while launching your own business can be incredibly rewarding, it can be also be just plain stressful. We had the opportunity to speak with Charlie Hoehn, best-selling author and launch strategist, about some of his tips for combating startup burnout.
Charlie graduated in 2008 from Colorado state with a degree in Marketing and Media Studies. Like many of us, he didn’t know exactly what he what he wanted to do right off the bat. What he did know was that he didn’t want to work for a big corporation for the rest of his life. Since graduation, he has worked with bestselling authors like Seth Godin, Tucker Max, and Tim Ferriss, and wrote Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety. His work has been featured by NPR, The New York Times, CBS News, TEDx, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and many others.
When working a high-stress job, like most startups, Hoehn insists that people are the most important thing. It is so easy to get caught up on your computer all day long and completely miss out on human interaction – and no, messaging your co-workers from across the room doesn’t count!
Take it one step further, and seek real relationships. It is great to have business acquaintances and co-workers, but it’s extremely important to have people in your life that you can go to if and when things start to fall apart. If you isolate yourself mentally by having the mindset that no one understands what you are going through, you will find yourself quite lonely and unhappy. Three of the keys to real friendships are proximity to one another (you can easily run into each other and hang out), common interests, and the ability to be vulnerable with one another.
This one may sound cliche, but sleep is important! Sleep deprivation is the most common problem for people with depression or anxiety. Just because you run a startup doesn’t mean your body can function well with less sleep than the rest of us.
Another way to avoid burnout is changing up your everyday meetings. Try walking alongside someone during a meeting rather than a face-to-face meeting over coffee. Research proves that this lets you be less combative with one another. Steve Jobs was a huge proponent of it!
Do what you want because you like it. You may be thinking, “Why would I do something if I didn’t like it?” But so many people do things for the prestige or status associated with them. So next time you’re thinking about writing a novel, take a step back and make sure it’s not just because you want to be the next bestseller.
The last and most important thing for you to do in order to avoid startup burnout is to play. Revisit the guilt-free things you did as a kid, whether it was drawing, playing catch, walking around in the park, or even pulling pranks. These things are required for you to grow and bond with others. Yes – we just said that pulling pranks is required! If you come into work feeling playful, it is like hitting the “reset” button. You come in fresh, decompressed, and end up being more productive. This is why so many companies allow you to work from home, and why places like Google allow you to work on your own projects throughout the week. Having trouble working this into your schedule? Plan it! Studies show that signing up for things like a weekly yoga class or intramural volleyball team keeps you accountable and committed.