6 Powerful Ways to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout as an Agency Owner

Oct 10, 2023

Are burnout, overwhelm, and exhaustion getting the better of you? You’re not alone. Entrepreneur burnout is no joke — and these days, burnout feels more common than ever.

Why You Need to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout as an Agency Owner

Burnout makes it harder to execute high-impact projects. You may struggle to deliver stellar services and find joy every day. And the lack of motivation that comes with burnout can throw a major wrench into your agency's trajectory.

A burnt-out agency owner is not an effective agency owner.

So, it’s time to put burnout in the backseat! Here are six of my BEST strategies for fending off entrepreneur burnout and recharging yourself every day.

#1: Focus on Deep Work Instead of Short Tasks

Responding to emails right away, pausing work to take a quick phone call, searching your playlist to find that perfect song — does this sound like you? Even these little tasks can break your focus, making it harder to get to work!

These little, disruptive habits are called context switching. Every time you switch to a new task, your brain must adjust and settle into a new flow. It eats up your valuable energy and makes your entrepreneur burnout worse!

Instead of putting tons of small tasks on your to-do list, focus on uninterrupted deep work. Use good time-management skills to help you block out the time you need to focus on your high-impact projects.

Make the most of the hours you feel most energized. If that’s the mornings, don’t waste that energy responding to emails! Set aside the first few hours of the day as your dedicated focus time for big projects. Reclaim your calendar by blocking off those hours for deep work. Plus, putting this time into your shared calendar lets your team know when you’re busy!

Related: 4 Business Productivity Traps to Avoid in Your PR Agency

#2: Let Your Flexible Schedule Actually Be Flexible

As an agency owner, you’re in control of your schedule. To make the most of that flexibility, you need to step away from your computer once in a while!

You can’t fend off entrepreneur burnout or recover from exhaustion if you constantly feel tied to your desk. If the thought of spontaneously stepping out for even a few minutes causes anxiety, you’re already on the path to burnout.

Take advantage of being an agency owner and make your days truly flexible. If you need to step out unexpectedly, let yourself do so without guilt. Scheduling off-time into your calendar can help make this mindset shift easier — plan a weekly lunch date with a friend at your favorite spot downtown or start a school pick-up carpool that gets you out of the house for an afternoon or two each week.

#3: Set Aside Rest Time

Repeat after me: resting does not equal laziness. Rest is essential for fending off entrepreneur burnout!

Weekends and nights are for resting, but taking a longer lunch break or doing a mid-morning pause is vital to beating burnout. 

Don’t forget holidays and vacations! When you’re out of the office, make sure you’re really out of the office. Keep your laptop closed and snooze all but the most urgent notifications.

Be intentional with your weekly rest time, though. Scrolling through your phone isn’t the mental break your brain needs! Instead, go for energizing (but still calming!) activities like walking around the neighborhood, doing yoga, or exploring a local park or zoo. Bringing a friend or family member along helps your brain get out of work mode, too! 

If you’d prefer to rest at home, pick a cozy activity that gives your mind a break. Some of my favorites are:

  • Reading a good book
  • Cooking a simple (and nutritious!) meal
  • Enjoying a self-care pampering day
  • Watching movies with friends and family

#4: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize! 

Entrepreneur burnout can hit hard when you’re staring down a mile-long to-do list. When you’re facing jam-packed days, prioritizing your tasks can limit overwhelm. Less overwhelm helps you tackle the day calmly and strategically.

High-impact tasks take a lot of time and mental energy. Try getting these done first! Then, move on to smaller jobs.

Also, consider making a list of things you choose not to do. Tasks that leave you drained take up too much time and mental energy. They make it harder to focus on those key responsibilities that move the needle in your agency. Writing down tasks you choose not to do makes it easier to delegate these duties to someone else on your team.

Prioritizing is easier when you have a clear vision for your agency. As a leader, knowing your goals and values lets you keep your eye on what’s most important. Your values and vision are filters for your to-do list. Remove anything that doesn’t align with your vision or shift them to another team member!

Honing in on your agency vision is a major part of my Elevate group coaching program.

#5: Cut Down on Communication

Don’t take this the wrong way — I’m not saying to cut all contact with your team or clients! But when you’re fighting off entrepreneur burnout, take time away from your phone, email, and Slack.

Those apps are constantly sending you notifications. Each ping pulls your attention away from work and snaps your brain out of focus mode. The more notifications you get, the harder it is to ignore them. It’s easy to get distracted and let time go by as you play catchup with all those messages.

Combat this by strategically snoozing notifications and silencing your phone throughout the day. Of course, if you’re waiting on an important call, don’t turn your devices off!

But closing out of your email or putting your phone on silent for an hour does wonders for your concentration. You can also set aside dedicated time daily to read your messages and respond to emails. You’ll be able to focus on communication (instead of just getting through everything quickly) and put thought into your responses.

Related: 6 Ways to Free Up Time in Your PR Agency

#6: Make Taking Care of Your Mental and Physical Health Part of Your Routine

Exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness practices all go a long way in fighting off entrepreneur burnout. 

Unfortunately, prioritizing you can be difficult when you’re already overwhelmed — but when you make healthy habits part of your daily routine, they’re way easier to maintain!

Here are a few healthy habits to try in your routine:

  • Start your mornings with a short guided meditation or journaling session. It doesn’t have to be longer than 10 to 15 minutes, but these practices can ground you and set you up for a successful day.
  • Incorporate exercise into your day by figuring out what gets you moving and lights you up! Whether it’s a walk around the block, a fitness class, or chasing your kids in the park — find what works for you.
  • Take a few nights a week to cook nutritious meals for yourself and your family. Cooking is a great way to decompress and fuel your body.
  • Celebrate what you’ve accomplished every day. Your win can be as big as landing a new client or as small as sending a complex email to a client.

Are you seriously struggling with feelings of defeat and hopelessness? Call on your community for support. Venting about your situation can help you put things into perspective. Your friends and family are always ready to remind you how talented, capable, and accomplished you are.

Entrepreneur burnout doesn’t have to be inevitable. Leading an agency you LOVE is your best defense! That’s why now’s the time to check in with yourself, make meaningful changes, and put burnout in the backseat.