The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you avoid burnout? is written by Michael Keoni DeFranco, founder and CEO of Lua.
As I approach the six year anniversary of launching Lua, it seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on how I’ve dealt with avoiding burnout along the way. In the early days of Lua, we were working seven day a week, 24 hours a day. As we scaled and grew the team, we noticed that a team operates much differently than founders do. Although this meant shifting our business strategy, it was necessary and beneficial. Here’s how expanding our business helped prevent burnout:
It might sound obvious but most burn out is caused by trying to do too many things at once. You may feel motivated to conquer the world but your “to do” list never shrinks. You begin to rush through work — staying up late on weeknights and weekends — to the point where your personal life disappears and ultimately, impacting your mental health. It’s important to realize what you can and cannot do, and hire appropriately to delegate these tasks. I was once told by a my mentor, “As CEO, you should only do what only you can only do, delegate everything else”. Those words stuck with me and I began to realize I was wasting time on tasks I could easily hire experts to do.
On the sales side of the organization, we’ve implemented a “team selling” approach, where we pair outside regional sellers with a specific inside sales rep and customer support specialist. Each team is tied to the same quota with that support system. We found that having various perspectives of the business within a team is crucial to successfully closing a deal. Often times introducing a new concept and workflow to a company can lead to some frustrations as employees adjust to the learning curve. By having each team member delegate a task, it’s more organized for the customer and easier for the team.
Rotate engineers between platforms
This means allowing all of our engineers have an opportunity to work on iOS, Android, and the web regardless of their expertise or background. This not only benefits their careers, as it extend their skills and knowledge, but it also helps to improve your product when all the engineers understand how it works on a variety of platforms.
Find a hobby
Find a personal practice that has nothing to do with work and “walk that path” on a weekly basis. For me, I found traditional Hawaiian oli (chanting) to be my escape. I trained under a master chanter from the Big Island, weekly over Skype, for a year and a half. It was a great way to relieve myself from the stress of work and unwind. I’ve actually incorporated into our office culture, starting each Monday with a war chant to get us motivated for the week. This allows everyone to relax, destress, and refocus on that weeks priorities.