Getting on the Other Side of Burnout

Burnout is a serious problem that plagues many tobacco industry entrepreneurs but it is avoidable. Here are 5 tips for managing your workload so that you can improve your performance while avoiding burning out.

The Other Side of Burnout: 5 Tips for Tobacco Entrepreneurs

If you’re a working professional, you’re bound to experience something that can easily slow down progress and bring down the best entrepreneurs–burnout. Burn out is a serious problem, especially in a demanding product category like tobacco that often requires long hours, a lot of travel, tight deadlines, lofty goals and a constant hustle and grind to achieve success. In a 2016 survey conducted by Morar Consulting, 614 U.S. human resource professionals said burnout was responsible for sabotaging workforce retention. The top three reasons for burnout in the workplace? Unfair compensation (41 percent), working beyond the typical 8 hours (32 percent), and having an unreasonable workload (32 percent).

With the average work week now clocking in at 47 hours (according to Future Workplace), burnout is becoming more inevitable. Regardless of what part of the tobacco industry you work in, at some point in your career, burnout is something you will have to deal with at some point and probably more frequently as the demands of your position and product increase.

Matt Booth, owner of the Room101 brand, spoke to Tobacco Business recently on the topic of burn out. “I have burned out and come back several times,” he commented. “Burn out is inevitable when you grind as hard as we do–the challenge is how you sack up and push through to the other side. I promise if you push hard enough you will find there is another side to that burn.”

Robert Caldwell, another entrepreneur in the premium cigar industry, also linked the grind and hustle requirements that come with working in the tobacco industry with burning out. “I have learned to listen to myself and step back when I need to. A lot of people think that you have to keep pounding. You do, but you also need to know when you need to reset. I know that my productivity is at its best when my mind is clear and I can make the right decisions.”

Here are several ways you can identify the source of stress with your job and get to the other side of burnout to become a more successful entrepreneur.

1. Improve Your Workplace Relationships
Are you the type who feels you’re the only one who can properly do certain workplace tasks and thus take on more duties and responsibilities than your peers? You’re likely to experience burnout more than you are success. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to learn to become a team player and build a supportive network and team within your workplace.

“Great things happen with great people and great teams–you can’t do these things by yourself,” explains Michael Giannini, creative director at Ventura Cigar Company. “You’ve got to have a team that you trust. Trust their instincts, trust their perspective and listen to them. I try to have many people involved in my projects and I love for people to poke holes in stuff because I haven’t thought of everything and there are different experiences that always help make things better.”

2. Manage Expectations
When is the last time you’ve reviewed your job description? While job descriptions often evolve after your first day on the job, they are also often forgotten and rarely reviewed again–but this can be a mistake. Job descriptions typically don’t reflect the work you’re actually doing and this can lead to burnout. Make a list of what your daily and weekly tasks are and compare it to your job description–what are the discrepancies and what items are causing you the most stress? Present this information to your boss and work with him or her to figure out how to better manage your responsibilities so that you both are clearer on your job and the expectations attached to it.

3. Work Out
When we say work out we’re suggesting you work outside of your office (though working out and exercising can also help you manage stress). Changing your scenery can give your productivity and creativity a boost and cut down on the stress that often comes with working in a traditional office setting. Working in an office every day is no longer necessary to get your job done. Thanks to technology, apps, and mobile devices, you can be as connected to your office without actually sitting in the office each day. In the U.K., many entrepreneurs have a “third place” or a setting besides the traditional office and home office to work in. According to Real Business, 68 percent of businesses in the U.K. attributed increased productivity to this third working environment which could be anything from a coffee shop to a lounge of a library.

4. Disconnect
Are you tethered to your phone or your computer? Are you taking work-related calls at the dinner table or checking in at work when you’re on vacation or on the weekends? You’re likely to burnout. Though it seems counterproductive, disconnecting can be beneficial and restore some balance to your life.

In most cases, your family, peers and co-workers will tell you when you should disconnect and it’s your job to listen and consider taking a break. “In terms of burning out, it is a battle,” explains Jarrid Trudeau, vice president of sales at Kristoff Cigars. “I love what I do but I’m constantly working. I’m one of the only guys in the world who has is boss constantly telling me to go on vacation. It’s to the point where my girlfriend is keeping me from burning out and has kept me from burning out.”

Whether it means turning off the notifications on your phone or leaving the work laptop at home during the weekend, disconnecting and going off the grid is one way to combat an overworked, overwhelmed, burned out feeling.

5. Ditch The To-Do List
Multi-tasking has long been lauded a skill-set most working professionals should have, but it’s also a cause for burnout. In The One Thing, author Gary Keller recommends blocking out time to tackle specific work and personal projects. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that after being interrupted, it takes an individual anywhere from 15-20 minutes to get refocused on what they were working on before that interruption. Rather than making a list of all the things you have to do in a day, breakdown your day into increments of time and focus solely on one thing at a time.

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– Story by Antoine Reid, an editor and digital content director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid