ICS Magazine

Building Profitable Business: Priorities, Balance, and Burnout

February 1, 2007
One of the dangers of being an owner or manger of a growing business is getting immersed in the many day-to-day challenges and exciting future plans to the point of total saturation. It’s easy to be so “busy” that every waking moment is focused on the business and every drop of energy goes toward keeping it on track.

Keeping a consistent balance is key to your success.


It is at times like this that it is very important to step back and remember the personal reasons behind being in business in the first place. In reviewing the written goals in your business plan, remember that behind every growth projection and profit goal there is a personal motivation. The reason you want to build your business is more than just the feeling of accomplishment you receive in doing it. For some, the personal reason is family, for others it might be retirement, and for some it could be financial freedom. We all have different motivations giving us the energy and drive to build a successful business. The challenge is to keep those personal reasons in mind and not lose the “burn” that got you going in the first place. Failure to do this often results in “burnout,” running the business becomes a “have to” instead of a “want to,” and you lose the edge needed to be successful.

Another important aspect of keeping excitement in your business is taking time to recharge. Schedule vacations and relaxation, and don’t let daily pressures force you to ignore those plans. An hour of personal time several times a week set aside for a workout at the gym or quiet time to read something you enjoy can help your work time be much more productive. Sometimes the occasional three-day weekend away from the business allows you to approach the daily challenges with fresh ideas and renewed energy. Taking a family vacation for a week can do more for keeping you focused than you could ever imagine. In all my conversations with folks in every stage of life, I have never heard of anyone on their deathbed commenting that they wish they had spent more time at the office.

Yes, the business is important and should get a high position on the priorities of you life, but balance is the key to true success. Financial success must be balanced with emotional, spiritual, family, physical, and relationship needs. When you are balanced, you can be efficient and full of drive. Without proper balance in your life, burnout is very likely to occur. When burnout begins to set in, business management becomes a burden and every day can be a real drag to just get through. One secret to building a successful business is to do everything you can to keep things fresh. Looking at challenges with a clear perspective can only happen if you are not feeling exhausted or trapped. Don’t be one of those people who are so busy chopping wood they don’t take time to stop and sharpen the ax.

Try to keep things in their proper perspective. What may appear to be a crisis of epic proportions in the heat of the moment is often is not quite as terrible when viewed as part of the whole scheme of things that serve to make up the universe. When you let yourself get uptight, there can be a tendency to over react and actually make difficult situations worse. Sometimes a mini-vacation of an hour away can work wonders at clearing the haze of emotion.

In short, pause to review your goals and priorities on a regular basis, make time for personal relationships, and strive to maintain balance in your life. Your business experience will be more enjoyable and you can avoid the burnout monster. If you liked this article, circle 147 on the Reader Inquiry Card.