This Startup Survival Strategy Prevents Stress and Burnout

Here's a look at five tips to help you survive the startup lifestyle.

Startup life can be grueling. If you’re not careful, it can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. This is why everyone needs a startup survival strategy to help maintain work-life balance while juggling an ever-growing workload, excessively long days and a personal life. It can be a pretty daunting task. Those who aren’t careful may find themselves suffering from burnout.

Like me, I’m sure you are no stranger to the demands of startup life. For instance, in the tech industry, where leaving the office before 8 p.m. is often frowned upon, it’s no surprise that industry leaders like Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer brag about working 130-hour weeks from time to time. Then there’s the famous Apple slogan, which has also contributed to an industry precedent: “90 hours a week and loving it.” These increasing demands, coupled with the do-more-with-less mentality of such work environments, are having a detrimental effect on founders and employees.


Preventing Startup Stress and Burnout

There’s a good chance that everyone who works at a startup has or will experience bouts of stress and burnout from time to time. What’s important is that you knows how to deal with the demands of the startup workplace.

So, here’s a look at five tips to help you survive the startup lifestyle.


  1. Get a personal life.

    Your work, while demanding, shouldn’t be performed at the expense of your life. It’s important to spend time with loved ones and make time to do the things you enjoy. Don’t neglect your relationships. But more importantly, don’t neglect yourself. While this may feel like a waste of time, it will leave you feeling refreshed, energized and ready to tackle your to-do list head on.

  2. Accept your limitations.

    Launching a startup doesn’t have to mean overtime and impending burnout. If you’re an efficient, organized and productive person, you’ll be able to cram a decent amount of tasks into a full day of work. It’s essential that you understand your own needs. For some, perhaps an extended lunch break increases concentration and productivity, whereas others may benefit from short, frequent breaks throughout the day. Determine your needs and limitations to ensure you’re as efficient as you can be.

  3. Get moving.

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle often falls by the wayside as startup workload increases. Being active will not only help you keep in shape, but will increase your productivity in addition to making you happier and more energetic. So get moving and while you’re at it, pay attention to the foods you are consuming. Certain foods are linked to increased brain stimulation, while others cause steep energy declines. These are simple lifestyle changes that will greatly improve your quality of life and make you a more productive member of your startup team.

  4. Disconnect after hours.

    Just because you have a smartphone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t disengage from the office. Unless it’s something pressing, there’s no need to respond to emails outside office hours. And if you’re someone who has a tendency to obsessively check email, removing work email from your phone may be a good option. It’s important to take a break and make some time for yourself at the end of a long day.

  5. Write your manifesto.

    It’s important to be aware of what you stand for and what you want out of life. Do you know what your main life goals are? Is your startup getting you any closer to reaching them? Constantly evaluating your goals will help you see your work in a different light. For example, it may help you realize it’s time to find something that more closely matches your manifesto. Whatever it is that you discover, writing a personal manifesto will help you see the big picture.

This article has been edited and condensed.

Zach Cutler is a dynamic entrepreneur and marketing professional who formed Cutler Group, a Tech PR agency, in 2009. He specializes in crafting innovative communication campaigns to help emerging and established tech companies thrive. A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.


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