Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How to Avoid Business Burn Out

At some point or another, anyone who owns their own business will face some degree of burn out. Instead of learning to cope with such burn out it is better to learn how to avoid it in the first place. Below are several ways you can avoid business burn out.

1. Organization
Staying organized is one of the first steps in avoiding burn out. Utilize all the resources at your disposal such as filing systems for tax information, payables, receivables, advertising, marketing, etc. This will help you keep your paperwork in order and easily accessible.Additionally, make sure you have a work place that is also organized. This could be your home office, studio or any other type of work place depending on the type of business you have. Making sure everything is organized and can be easily located will help you tremendously.

2. Time Management
Time management is probably the biggest challenge for most people. When you work from home it can be especially easy to get distracted from your work. While working from home allows you a lot of flexibility which is a good thing, it can also present challenges in regards to remaining focused. To help you, consider setting up a daily schedule for your self. Utilize calendars and tasks list to keep yourself on track. At the beginning of each week write out what you need to accomplish for the week. Keep the list handy in case you need to add to it throughout the week. It is also important to allow for those unexpected interruptions such as last minute doctors appointments or a trip to the office supply store. Additionally, consider setting up your weekly schedule based on what tasks you need to do on particular days. For example, Tuesdays may be a day you set aside as a marketing day. Every Tuesday your focus should be on tasks that have to do with marketing your business.

3. Hire Help
If you find that you are overwhelmed most of the time or getting close to being overwhelmed, it may be time to hire some help. Help can come in the form of a virtual assistant, marketing manager, mailing list manager or simply from setting up a auto responder. Anytime you can automate certain tasks, the better. But for those times you can’t, consider hiring someone to do those tasks for you. You may find that even the small, menial tasks like sending out an email to your mailing list, is a task that you could hire someone else to do. Even all the small tasks that seem relatively simple add up and before you know it, you are spending a great deal of time on these things.

4. Joint Ventures and Partnerships
If you have a large project or new business idea, consider looking into establishing a joint venture with another business owner in a similar niche. The benefits of sharing the work load can be enormous. Also consider partnerships with other similar businesses in the areas of cross promotion and marketing. This could be in the form of exchanging web site links, mailing list advertising or other types of partnerships where the results benefit both of you.

5. Work Ahead
It is so much better to be ahead then to be behind. The pressure you begin to feel when due dates for finished work is upon you can be stress inducers. Avoid this by working ahead if you can. One example of work that can be completed in advance is article writing. When you have completed your daily tasks, consider taking a few moments to work on an article your writing. Another one would be blog posts. The nice thing about blogs is you can write a post in advance and save it for later. This is very true for several of the blog programs out there today. If you host your own blog, you can always save the post as a word document and post it later when your ready. Think of some of the other things you could work on in advance.

6. Take a Break.
One of the best things you can do to avoid burn out, is to take breaks. Don’t wait until your in desperate need of one either. Take breaks regularly. Each day you should take breaks throughout the day. Also you need to set aside breaks that consist of either an actual planned vacation, day trip or a certain day of the week that you set aside for some needed “me” time. During this time, work is not allowed. I know it can be difficult but you have to learn to allow yourself to take these breaks. You will find you are better focused and refreshed when you do return to your work.

© 2007 Kelle Arvay is the owner of Pattern Mart with offers customers access to thousands of craft patterns that they can purchase and download instantly. In addition to running several other online businesses, she is the co-publisher of a online magazine called Creative Times. She utilizes her own advice that she has gained over the years in her businesses.

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