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Stress and Burnout for Small Business Owners

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Small business owners frequently experience stress and burnout – and I have to admit that I’m no different.  Last week was a very bad week – in reality it wasn’t any different than any other week, but it did effect me differently.  By rights it should have been a great week because our company celebrated 11 years of being in business on August 16, 2011.

Last week I read a really great blog post from blogging painters called Summer Blues or Burnout? (I really suggest that you pop on over and read it to).  As I read it, I felt that John (the author) was talking about me instead of painting contractor when he mentioned:

lack of enthusiasm he was feeling about his business, his chosen profession, and life in general.  So what are the symptoms of burn-out? Stress is the main culprit to causing burn-out. Another contributor is boredom. Do you see yourself unable to get excited about your business? Are you doing the same thing day in and day out expecting different results? Perhaps it’s time to step back, take a break and re-evaluate your situation from a fresh perspective.

Pretty much all of these thing describe me perfectly at the moment.  I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m crabby and quite frankly I have way to many things on my plate at the moment and feel totally overwhelmed.

So, I’m going to take John’s advice and step back and re-evaluate until I get some of these things off my plate.  If you are wondering what some of these things are, well here is the short list:

  • finish installing software and then move all my data to a new computer (my main computer has been displaying that not so wonderful “blue screen of death” followed by crash dumps more frequently – so I ordered a new computer last week and it arrived on Monday and I’ve been an installing fool every since).  With luck I’ll be cutting over to that by Monday or Tuesday.
  • get the theme for the blog straightened out – I’ve been playing with it quite a bit.
  • move our existing website from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 1.7 – this is a huge project and I don’t expect to have that finished until the end of the year.
  • I have 2 other brand new websites that aren’t mine that I’m working on.
  • I’m testing, debugging, and documenting 2 new software programs – one of which is a rewrite of our existing AIA Billing program which we want to release later this year.
  • the garden is going wild and canning season is about to start!  Anyone want cucumbers, zucchini or yellow squash?
  • the 3 cords of firewood that we ordered in April will arrive next week, so we need to get that stacked in the greenhouse.
  • speaking of our greenhouse, it currently doesn’t have any plastic on it – that’s tomorrow’s project!
  • and then we need to prepare for hurricane “Irene” —- oh boy!

It’s very difficult to spend any time on any of the above during normal business hours – so it’s all done before and after my normal workday and on the weekends.

As a small business owner I need to remember the Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule, it should serve as a daily reminder for all of us to focus 80 percent of our time and energy on the 20 percent of your work that is really important. Don’t just “work smart”, work smart on the right things.

Until things are more under control, I’ll be cutting back blog posts to just Tuesday and Thursday.

How are you managing stress and burnout in your business?  Are you like me and beginning to “freak out”?

3 Responses to Stress and Burnout for Small Business Owners

  • Hi John, it was a great article that you wrote. Burnout is something that every business owner has to be on the look out for.

  • Thanks for the mention. Glad to hear you liked the article. My passion is the help small businesses grow.

  • So glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for the mention, John Stahl will be writing more, so check back. You have a nice blog here, and it looks like a lot of work! Don’t forget to smell the roses…

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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