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As a Facebook Certified Community Manager & marketing consultant working with businesses to build thriving communities that generate leads and sales – I’m privileged to speak to many passionate community leaders. Alongside the nuts and bolts questions of community growth and monetizing, one question comes up again and again.

“How do I keep my group growing and engaged when there’s only so much “me” to go around?”

As much as any of us would love to have a Fairy Godmother magically appear wave a magic wand and double the number of hours we’ve got in a week, it simply isn’t going to happen.

Time is limited and so is the energy we have.

Combine limited time and energy with an entrepreneurial drive to succeed plus real passion for the community you are building and you have the perfect recipe for burnout.

A recent study discovered the following…

Due to the entrepreneur’s immersion in their jobs and a blurred line between work and social life, an entrepreneur’s social life quality is compromised. Their desire to be part of a social network is essential to relieving entrepreneurial jobs’ pressure. Further, as their work and social lives become intertwined, the quality of social life suffers compared to the entrepreneurs’ perceived social life.

Arshi, T.; Kamal, Q.; Burns, P.; Tewari, V.; Rao, V. Examining Perceived Entrepreneurial Stress: A Causal Interpretation through Cross-Lagged Panel Study. J. Open Innov. Technol. Mark. Complex. 20217, 1.

This is a truth that echoes through the experiences of so many entrepreneurs and community managers.

Work and social become intertwined. Online activity revolves around service. There’s always something else to do, and check, and manage. We joke with each other “What’s a day off?” & “What’s sleep?” knowing that it’s funny because all of us aren’t getting enough of either of those things.

After so long – it catches up on us. Slowly but surely creeping up without us even noticing at the start. Litlle clues such as it getting a little harder to think of new content to create or shifting into heavy use of memes and simple posts are easily missed.

Then it hits like a tonne of bricks. Sometimes with a bout of illness and always with heavy doses of lethargy, apathy, stress, negative thoughts and above all else guilt.

Because when we are hit with burnout – we can’t show up and serve.

The irony being that putting our communities first 24/7 is the reason why we can’t show up and serve them.

It’s crucial to take action to prevent burnout before it inevitably rears its head because you can’t be your best for your business and your community if you are forever drained from being constantly on the go. Here are 7 smart ways to prevent burnout so you can be the best community leader you can be.

1 – Keep up at least one hobby outside of your business – A hobby that you have outside of what you do for business can fuel you. It gives you something that is just for you where you don’t have to be showing up for other people or looking after anyone. It’s often a great source of inspiration that tops up creative tanks and perfect chance to unwind.

2 – Set cut-off times for social media – When you run an online community, there’s always activity going on. There’s always things to check, share and manage. It’s easy to find yourself doing so 24/7. If your mind is going right up until the moment you fall asleep at night, your sleep will be impacted and you never take a moment to process your day.

3 – Get offline and off screen – Take some time to do something completely offline. Read a book. Walk the dog. Dig out a board game. Anything to give your brain a break from screen time.

4 – Effective delegation – When you build a team, they can only help you as much as you allow. `If you lean on them trust them, and give them opportunity to step up – they will thrive. Keep all the taks to yourself because you know how best to do them and you keep all of the weight on your shoulders.

5 – Eat, drink, sleep, repeat – Make sure you’re looking after your physical health too. It’s so easy to go all day and forget to eat till late and find yourself diving onto snacks and junk food out of hunger and ease or work late into the night so you’re forever short of sleep. These things sap your energy, motivation, creativiey, and your confidence.

6 – Get some accountability – Taking care of everyone else is easy. Putting yourself first? Not so much. A little accountability from a coach, peer or friend can go a long way to making sure you’re looking after you as much as you look after everyone else.

7 – Get to know yourself and your habits – when we head for a crash, there are often warning signs. Posts will drop or suddenly go manic. You might find yourself getting more irritable or lethargic. Things you usually enjoy become a drag or your eating habits suddenly shift as you crave or reject foods. If you pay attention, you’ll pick up on what the signs are for you. That way you can catch yourself before it’s too late.

These 7 strategies can make all the difference when it comes to staying sane and operating at your best.

Do you have any more suggestions? Drop a comment below with your top tips for bypassing burnout.