20 Secrets to Avoiding Burnout…


Staff Writer. Covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

We all know the feeling when we reach our outer limit.

Exhaustion, lack of focus and irritability takes a hold of us. And it always seems to creep up at the least opportune moments.

There is no one way to prevent feeling burned out. It takes trial and error before we can figure out what works best for us.

We spoke to 20 entrepreneurs and they shared their top tips for keeping stress at bay.



Name: Whitney Wolfe
Company: Bumble
De-stressing strategy: Go to bed an extra hour early or go to a movie. Do things you haven’t had time for. Go for a run. It’s about allowing yourself to focus on yourself outside of work.

Read more about Wolfe: The Founder of Bumble Reveals How the ‘Question of Nine’ Can Help You Stay Focused

Name: John Zimmer
Company: Lyft
De-stressing strategy: Exercise four to five days a week and then spending quality time as much as possible with family.

Read more about Zimmer: Lyft Co-Founder John Zimmer: ‘You Should Never Veer Off the Path of Your Own Values’

Name: Shan-Lyn Ma
Company: Zola
De-stressing strategy: I am a big fan of sleep. I think of weekends as a prime time to catch up on sleep. It’s a luxury that helps me stay sane.

Read more about Ma: This Founder Has a 5-Minute Secret Weapon That Helps Her Focus Every Day

Name: Aaron Levie
Company: Box
De-stressing strategy: It’s not the easiest advice for anybody to take, but I am constantly tracking the things I’m doing that I don’t think I am good at. I try to delegate those things as frequently as possible, and get better people to solve those problems.

Read more about Levie: Why This Founder Says You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Go Big

Name: Jen Rubio
Company: Away
De-stressing strategy: Being aware of the world around me. I’m passionate about Away and all the things we’re doing here, but having perspective and talking to friends about things that aren’t work is so important.

It’s easy to burn yourself out if you’re in a bubble of what you’re doing, and you’re not aware of the world around you. I used to think things were life and death, but I realized, we’re selling suitcases. We’re good at it, and we love it but getting perspective is really important.

Read more about Rubio: Use This Founder’s Top Tip To Make Your Meetings Work For You

Name: Luis von Ahn
Company: Duolingo
De-stressing strategy: I am a workaholic, but I have learned to cap the number of hours a day that I spend working. My biggest strategy is no matter what I am doing at around 8:00 pm I stop working.

Read more about von Ahn: Why This Founder Says the Worst Advice He Ever Got Was to Listen to His Users

Name: Amber Venz
Company: RewardStyle
De-stressing strategy: Blocking out time in both my work and my private life. The second thing is vacation time. I wasn’t taking any of my vacation daysl, so that’s something that I’ve actually planned out in my calendars as well.

The next thing comes back to delegation, and it’s focusing on my strength. I’m doing things I love, that I’m really good at and I’m making an impact.

Read more about Venz: This Founder Shares the Mindset That Helps Her Stay On Track

Name: Brit Morin
Company: Brit + Co
De-stressing strategy: Always make time to unplug and take breaks. It is about being present when I am with my family and keeping up with hobbies that I’ve always been drawn to help me recharge and be productive at work. There’s a reason that “adult coloring books” have become so popular — creativity is one of the top stress relievers out there.

Read more about Morin: This Founder Shares the Secret to How to Make Your Business Last

Name: Carrie Dorr
Company: Pure Barre
De-stressing strategy: I get outside. I’m fortunate enough to live in Colorado so that makes it easy. Also, it’s accepting that it can be done in an hour. You don’t need a week away or a plane ride. I love the saying “happiness is an inside job.” I don’t like to rely on outside factors to make that happen.

Read more about Dorr: This Founder Shares How to Tailor Your Schedule to Fit Your Brain

Name: Bastian Lehmann
Company: Postmates
De-stressing strategy: When I feel that I’m running on low flames, spending time by myself sets my compass straight. Personal reflection is so important.

Read more about Lehmann: This Founder Shares the One Trait He Looks for in Every Hire

Name: Julia Hartz
Company: Eventbrite
De-stressing strategy: The best way to do that is through exercise. I alternate between yoga, pilates and barre in the mornings. I also try to take time to step away during the day, even if it’s for a quick walk around the office. Disconnecting for a bit during the day allows me to clear my mind and be more productive throughout the day.

Read more about Hartz: The Day This Eventbrite Co-Founder Learned When to Speak Up

Name: Gavin Armstrong
Company: Lucky Iron Fish
De-stressing strategy: I’m a huge dog person. I have friends with dogs, so I help with them, go on dog trails and explore with them.

To de-stress I also love to cook at home. I get so caught up in the meal prep — all the other stuff washes away.

Read more about Armstrong: This CEO Has Helped Thousands — and He’s Just Getting Started

Name: David Bladow
Company: BloomThat
De-stressing strategy: I’ve become stricter on protecting my time and putting hard stops when I have to get out of the office. Every three to four months, I also give myself a weekend away.

Read more about Bladow: This Founder Has 3 Simple Tips to Achieve Maximum Productivity

Name: Randi Zuckerberg
Company: Zuckerberg Media
De-stressing strategy : I have two toddlers, and I’m on the road over 100 days a year for work. It’s really easy to put yourself last. So self care was at the bottom of my priority list. If you don’t carve out time for yourself, you’re not going to be good to anyone else in your life.

Now I block out those do not schedule chunks. I’m the only one that is going to create those boundaries for myself and my time, not anyone else.

Read more about Zuckerberg: Why Everyone Can Use Randi Zuckerberg’s Number One Focus Tip

Name: Tim Chen
Company: Nerdwallet
De-stressing strategy: Burnout is never about the hours of work, but how deterministic the work is. If you have to accomplish some kind of goal and you’re excited about the outcome, the key to avoiding burnout is staying somewhere in the middle, out of your comfort zone, but not doing things that are so out of reach.

Read more about Chen: Nerdwallet’s Founder Shares the Worst Advice He Ever Got

Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Company: BaubleBar
De-stressing strategy: I love sensory deprivation. You get into a small closed pool of water that has high salt content so you float and there is no light and no sound. It really clears your head. It is this wonderful and peaceful moment.

Read more about Yacobovsky: This Co-Founder of BaubleBar’s Secret for Inspiration?

Name: Chris Wanstrath
Company: GitHub
De-stressing strategy: Change is the answer. What burns me out the most is the repetitiveness of something. If I feel uninspired, I just try to switch it up a bit.

Read more about Wanstrath: This Founder Believes He Found the Answer for Burnout

Name: Heidi Zak
Company: ThirdLove
De-stressing strategy: It goes back to exercise and being outdoors. In the winter that might be snowboarding or going on a trail run, or maybe surfing, being outside and getting away from technology. Those activities really energize me.

Read more about Zak: What This Founder Learned at a Farmstand Helped Her Bra Startup

Name: Jordana Kier
Company: Lola
De-stressing strategy: No plans Wednesday. Every Wednesday night there are just no plans to be had, and it’s a great break. Now we have no-meetings Wednesday. We may need to meet with vendors, but as far as internal meetings go, we don’t do any on Wednesday, except for one all-hands team meeting. It lets people focus on what they need to work on. We get to check-in informally as a team, enjoy food and catch up with colleagues.

Read more about Kier: How You Can Use Your Computer Password to Make Your Aspirations a Reality

Name: Jenny Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
De-stressing strategy: I find there’s always so much to do and that excites me. In a way that helps me prevent burn out.

For instance, if I’m working on some sales outreach, and I begin to get burned out, I’ll take a time out to think about something big picture that’s bothering me, or I’ll try to tackle something that’s very challenging.

I tend to switch around what I’m thinking about and how I’m thinking about things to prevent burnout.

Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive

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