The latest research appearing in Small Business Economics shows that increased job autonomy and job satisfaction can reduce the likelihood of entrepreneurial burnout.
Other articles of interest:
Said another way, entrepreneurs can lower the probability of experiencing burnout by using job autonomy as an insurance policy against burnout.
Another combatant that can help the self employed fight against burnout? If you feel the onslaught of burnout about to hit, try positive thinking. Studies have revealed that entrepreneurs who are least likely to express negative emotions are also less likely to experience burnout (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011). We can take that to the bank!
Precipitators of Burnout
Let’s back up for a minute. What are the causes of burnout among independent contractors, entrepreneurs, remote and onsire freelancers and gig workers?
Another interesting article:
Researchers have identified a number of issues that can cause burnout among this special group of working professionals, many of whom work from home:
- stress and frustration (Boyd & Gumpert, 1983; Shepherd et al., 2010; Lechat & Torrès, 2017; Wach et al., 2020);
- uncertainty and the associated risk of business survival as well as obtaining new business, contracts and clients to keep the business and/or freelance gig going (Jamal, 2007; Lee et al., 2020; Rauch et al., 2018; Torrès et al., 2021);
- fear and anxious feelings when a steady paycheck isn’t in the cards (Boyd & Gumpert, 1983; Jamal, 2007; Lee et al., 2020);
- heavy workload that can’t be delegated to others and unconventional work hours (Lechat & Torrès, 2016);
- limited time for leisure, fun activities and entertainment (van der Zwan & Hessels, 2019); and
- isolation and loneliness (Morris et al., 2012; Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011).
We’ve talked about some of the reasons why self employed, gig workers and remote freelancers succumb to burnout. Are there a few resilience factors (in addition to job autonomy) that can ward off burnout? Sure.
Other articles you may find helpful:
Resiliency Factors to Buffer Burnout
Here are the traits necessary for a resilient small business owner or self employed freelancer according to Baronet al. (2013):
- self-efficacy (confidence in one’s ability to control one’s own motivation, behavior and environment)
- optimism (confidence about the future),
- hope (desire for something to happen), and
- resilience (the ability to overcome a difficult situation or circumstance).
Having a good work/life balance and avoiding burnout can be hard enough when you work a 9-5, but when you run your own business from your home, it gets even more complicated. You often feel like you always need to be working, and might get caught in the trap of treating your entire home like your office. This can quickly lead to burnout, and you might miss the signs before it’s too late.
Another interesting article:
Specific Causes of Burnout among Self employed
The self-employed, or remote job freelancer may experience burnout when the following happens:
- a resource has been lost (money, contract, client, gig work or an actual asset like land, employee, totaled car)
- a threat of potential resource loss (IRS audit, unhappy client, unethical competitor, dissatisfied or disgruntled employee)
- a condition in which available resources are inadequate to meet work demands (staff shortages, lack of business expertise in changing environment, inventory slippage, supply chain holdups), and
- the expected rate of return in relation to the amount of resources invested is not forthcoming (Hobfoll, 1989).
Here’s another helpful article:
As we have discussed a critical resource factor to beat back burnout, issues that can cause burnout, and specific conditions that can bring about burnout for the small business owner, we will offer tips for burnout prevention. Here are some tips for recognizing the signs of burnout, and hopefully avoiding it in the future.
Warning Signs of Burnout
Burnout can sometimes be hard to spot, especially if you tend to overwork yourself and not give yourself much time for a personal life. But this is also why it is so important to pay attention to how you choose to spend your time, and how your emotions and energy levels might shift.
When you are facing burnout, you might experience:
- Extreme exhaustion – The exhaustion associated with burnout is not just physical, but mental as well. It can take over your life and affect just about anything you do. This exhaustion is with both your personal and professional life.
- Social isolation – Social isolation is a very common sign of burnout. Socializing with friends and colleagues becomes your lowest priority, where you to try to stay by yourself most of the time and have no interest in seeing or talking to anyone else. It feels like you just don’t have the energy for it.
- Never feeling relaxed – Even though you might be fatigued and exhausted, burnout can you make you feel like you aren’t ever able to rest or relax. Even during moments when you take a break, there is just a part of you that feels uneasy and like you should be doing something.
- No sense of satisfaction – Similar to depression, burnout can cause feelings of unhappiness, lack of contentment, and never feeling satisfied with anything you do.
Specific ways to prevent burnout when working
You’ve read this entire article. Now you’re looking for specific suggestions and tips for preventing burnout when working on a demanding job, seeking to appease a scrupulous client, or keeping your head above water and your company afloat during economic and business uncertainty.
Another helpful article:
You probably used to hear the benefits of multi-tasking so that you could get more done in a shorter period of time, but it can actually hurt your productivity and your mindset more than help it. If you are focused on just one task, your full attention is on that one thing. But if you’re trying to do 3 or 4 different things at once, only a small amount of focus goes to each task, which can be really overwhelming and also lower your quality of work.
Another great article:
Multi-tasking is one of the most common ways to get burnout because you feel like you not only are always working but always have to do multiple things at once. It is a really overwhelming and stressful feeling.
Schedule Your Time and Have a Routine
If you want to avoid burnout, you really need to be aware of how you spend your time. This goes back to your work/life balance as having a good balance between your personal and professional life helps you to spread your energy and ensure you get enough rest and downtime.
Here’s another fine article:
Practice better time management, have a schedule with your routines, and break up your time between work and personal obligations.
Be Very Clear About Work and Home Boundaries
Sometimes, burnout doesn’t happen because you are purposely trying to do too much or the result of stress in your life, but because you spread yourself too thin in order to help others. This is why it is essential that you have firm boundaries and you communicate them to other people.
If you are struggling with how often your personal problems are following you to work and it is negatively affecting your productivity, then you need to have a talk with friends or family and ask that they not bother you when you are working.
Prioritize and Delegate
Lastly, if you run a business or even work in management, it is important that you are aware of what needs to be done first and by you, and what you can delegate. Business owners often struggle with this, especially if you began as a one-person operation. But you need to understand your own limits and give yourself enough rest for different areas of your life.