Top five ways to avoid co-founder burnout
One of the most common ways startup founders lose their way and burnout is a simple fact that most of the time working for yourself on an interesting company or product usually doesn't feel like work. At all. So we trick ourselves into thinking that juggling multiple projects by crushing through 18 hours days, for months at a time is ok. It isn't. Without taking out the time to reflect on successes, failures and the opportunities in front of us, it's easy to break ourselves. One minute you are closing deals like a hero. The next you fall asleep, while speaking to a potential investor. Standing up.
What can we do? Of course two weeks on a beach cures all ills but beyond that?
1) Fitness. A reasonable level of health and fitness is necessary when working on a startup. Running multiple projects and companies simultaneously is going to require stamina and a good level of physical and mental strength. Working out also helps keep energy levels high and combined with eating healthily means you will be less likely to get sick or rundown. It's hard to get consistent but working out at home rather than relying on going to the gym is the easiest way for a co-founder to keep on top and not flame out too soon.
2) Nature. Get to a forest. Or mountains. Mountain ranges are good but if you don't live near one, find the highest rooftop you can and go and watch a sunset or sunrise. Take yourself out of the world of business and investment, tune out the digital noise and break out. It's amazing what as little as an hour surrounded by nature can do for your frame of mind. Find a hidden gem near you and make it 'your place'. Mine is a forgotten Victorian house with lakes and grounds which were overgrown and lost for a hundred years.
3) Go to the movies. As a film producer I have a real passion for cinema and everything about it and am a big fan of going to watch a few movies in a day, spaced out with a great lunch and some time out to relax. Most cinema chains offer a discount ticket deal one or two days a week. Sign up and go see two or three movies in a day. Switch off and enter another world, it will help take you out of things for a day.
*This can backfire if you choose three movies that suck.
4) Be social. Take time out for friends and family and don't skimp on that. Working towards huge goals is great but nothing is as important as the personal relationships you have. Along with sharing success as you build your company, they will be essential to helping you survive the lean years along with helping to cope with inevitable setbacks along the road.
5) Alone time. We all know about the need to take 20 minutes a day of time to reflect and process what has happened in your day but I believe that taking time for yourself should go beyond that. One of the best ways I find to take that time is to go swimming. Without any phones or distractions it's a surefire way to disconnect from the matrix and a good two hours out to take time to recharge and reflect.
Fundsurfer is the tech startup my co-founder and I launched in May 2014. Dodging burnout is an daily battle.
Let me know the best ways you take time out of the grind!
You can follow me on twitter here: @OllyMochizuki
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