One of the biggest issues that you may face as a budding dot com mogul is that of burnout. Because it is possible to work just about every waking hour, many of us feel obligated to do so. When you’re at home and the computer is just in the other room, it’s awfully tempting to go over there and try to make a few extra bucks. At the same time, when you are not working on the computer, a sense of guilt can overcome you.

Burnout is one of those things that sneaks up on you. It’s not like you are perfectly happy one day and absolutely exhausted from burnout the next. It’s more of a slippery slope that leads you into burnout and it’s one of things you have to be wary of before you freelance or embark in any other entrepreneurial venture.

So, how can you tell if you’re suffering from burnout? Here are five telltale signs.

1. Problems with Sleep
This applies both ways. Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Do you find yourself lying awake in bed obsessing over some work-related matter or project? There’s a good chance that you’re suffering from burnout if that’s the case. On the flip side, if you find that you’re sleeping too much and you have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning, there’s a possibility that burnout is the cause and you may be subconsciously avoiding work by staying in bed.

2. Lack of Motivation or Energy
The motivation deficit related to burnout should not be confused with other matters like seasonal affective disorder. We all go through our slumps, but if you consistently have a problem with energy or motivation, burnout could be the cause. Taking breaks and having adequate rest are absolutely critical.

3. No Life Outside Work
This is an issue that is all too prevalent among people who make their living at home, because the lines between what is considered work and what is considered “home” are significantly blurred. It is especially under these circumstances that you should strive to find a healthy life-work balance. Some may say that you don’t need to separate work and play completely, but be sure to give yourself enough of a life that is completely unrelated to your work.

4. Begging For Vacation
This is largely related to the previous point. When your entire life revolves around work — whether it be trying to run a successful blog or having a more conventional kind of job — it’s only natural that you’re looking for an escape. Vacations are great for giving your brain a break. That said, you should not confuse burnout with unhappiness. Is it that you have too much work to do or is it that the work itself is no longer enjoyable?

5. Out of Fresh Ideas
Graphic designers and other creative types will probably suffer from this problem the most. Although I outlined 5 proven methods to beat writer’s block, people suffering burnout will have a particularly difficult time thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. Your brain needs time to recover, just like any other muscle.

Overcoming Burnout
Ambition, drive, and determination are great traits to have for any entrepreneur, but it is far too easy to fall into the pit of burnout. This is not healthy in the long run, so be sure to take care of yourself. Later this week, I plan on doing a post with strategies to overcome burnout. Feel free to provide any suggestions through the comment form too.