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Tips to cool down burnout

Entrepreneurs look at their businesses as babies, and rightfully so. They’ve built them from nothing and work tirelessly to grow and develop them. But in the midst of fast-paced lifestyles, almost non-stop hustle and never-ending to-do lists comes a very real problem for women entrepreneurs: burnout.

A Harvard Business Review study on entrepreneurs and burnout — not specific to women — found that the average entrepreneur experienced some level of burnout. Some felt it more than others. About 25% of respondents said they felt moderately burned out, while 3% felt strongly burned out.

The biggest reasons revolved around passions and mindsets. There is a dark side to passionate work, and that is it can be hard to detach, both emotionally and physically. Harvard Business Review said many of the burned-out entrepreneurs felt emotionally dependent on their work.

Here are some ways you can de-stress and perhaps avoid that burnout feeling that can hurt your business.

Follow a consistent work schedule

We know, this is easier said than done. But that’s perhaps why it’s so important. Business owners are prone to working around the clock, and the constant stream of work is one of the biggest reasons for burnout in entrepreneurs. You need to detach every once in a while.

A consistent work schedule essentially means capping the number of hours you work each day, and then trying to unplug to spend time on yourself or your family. This extends to your business as well. Set boundaries as to what kind of work you do when, and try to get your bigger projects/to-do tasks finished at a reasonable time.

Prioritize health

When you’re busy concentrating on your business, sometimes there isn’t time to take care of yourself. It’s essential to block out time for self-care, like exercise, reading a book, meditating or whatever task helps you destress. Sleep and eating balanced meals are of the utmost importance as well.

If you don’t prioritize your health, it could actually lead to loss of energy, anxiety and other issues that could directly affect your business.  

Make a day ‘un-bookable’

Sometimes you’ve just got to put your head down and work, without the interruption of meetings or phone calls. Set a day aside every week or every other week for you to plow through your to-do list. Studies actually show that isolating yourself can actually improve productivity.

You’ll have time to be alone, avoid distraction and knock out those high-priority tasks, making you feel better about yourself.  


One person can’t do it all. In fact, they shouldn’t do it all. Delegating your tasks is a hard skill to master, but one that will help you avoid burnout and actually be more productive. This can extend beyond business, too. Delegate your tasks at home to significant others or children.

For example: If you hate cleaning your house or office, hire a cleaning person once a month.

Always re-evaluate

Inevitably, you’ll get off track. Some big project will come up that sucks up all your time and energy. Or a problem will arise that you’ll need to squash. Every quarter, re-evaluate how you are managing your time and take stock of your mindset. Do you feel like your passion is waning? Are you feeing burned out?

Take that time to get back to what was working. Take care of yourself and improve time management. You, your health and your business will be better off for it.

NAWBO Member Q&A: Loraine Hardin

Loraine Hardin is the founder of Hardin & Associates, a leadership development and training company that implements the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). The EOS uses simple, practical tools to help companies accomplish what it calls vision, traction and healthy.

Hardin is a dedicated community member who serves on boards for the Young Women's Resource Center, NAWBO Iowa and CultureALL.

Can you take me through your personal background?

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family on a farm until I was 6. When my dad passed away, we moved to Webster City, Iowa. He passed away at an early age leaving my mom to raise two girls on her own without a high school education. She was amazing in that she showed me the value of hard work and taught me to believe anything is possible. I attended Iowa Central Community College for two years and then transferred to the University of Iowa, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance. I spent about 23 years at Principal Financial in various leadership roles and business lines. I also worked at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Freedom Mortgage. All of these roles provided the background and experiences that allow me to serve my clients well today.  

What is your profession/business

In 2018, I decided to go back to my entrepreneurial roots and started my business, Hardin & Associates. I am an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) Professional Implementer. I work with companies that have anywhere from 10 to 250 employees and where the leadership team is more afraid of the status quo than they are of change. I help teams get what they want from their businesses by:

  • Getting everyone 100% on the same page with where the company is going and how it will get there.
  • Helping leaders become more disciplined and accountable, improving execution.
  • Helping leaders become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team. As goes the leadership team, so will go the rest of the organization. 


What is the favorite part of what you do?

Seeing leaders grow and be successful.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

The best piece of advice I have received was from my mom. She would always say, "Everything happens for a reason.”  What she was telling me was, "Have faith and be strong.”

Who do you consider a mentor and why? 

One of my lifelong friends is a mentor to me. I think of her as a mentor because she knows me so well that she is always completely open and honest with me. It is hard to find that honesty. If we don't know the truth, we are unable to positively change.