If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll have your work cut out for you, no doubt. Your business will be your number one priority, pushing other matters to the bottom of the list – including your own well-being, perhaps. But a business is only as good as its leader, so you’ll need to keep yourself in tip-top form to give it your all, and that means putting your own needs first sometimes. Are you making time for quality exercise and proper meals, for instance? Are you allowing yourself enough chill-out time at the end of the day, and enough sleep at night? Chances are you’re falling short in at least some of these crucial areas of self-preservation, so here are a few tips for fitting your own needs around your work commitments:
You may not feel you have time to go the gym regularly, but you can keep fit in your own workspace, just by standing up now and again and running on the spot for five minutes, or doing press-ups on the floor three times a day. These interludes can be taken while you’re thinking what to do next or awaiting a call from a client, or while the microwave is heating up your lunch. If you take the car or public transport to your office, consider walking or cycling instead, to get your heart pumping and your lungs full of air. You might even beat the traffic.
Ready-made meals from the grocery store are handy for stopgaps, but they’re not as nutritious as fresh food, prepared on the spot. Cooking takes up precious time, of course, but one solution is to cook in bulk, once or twice a week, storing portions for the intervening days.
Another is to take turns with your partner, flatmate, colleague or family member, to halve your cooking time. Keep a stock of fresh and dried fruit on your desk, too, for healthy nibbles. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, reduce the caffeine strength or number of cups per day. Sugary drinks are also best avoided, medical experts confirm, however handy they may be as energy-boosters. Try refreshing yourself with herbal tea or unsweetened juice instead.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to keep a firm grip on your enterprise at all times, but that doesn’t mean working all the time. Everyone needs to stop and rest now and again, so schedule a few pauses into your working day, even if they’re only ten minutes long, so you can sit back and shut your eyes – or wander about in a dream, if you prefer. Relax and enjoy your drinks and snacks, have a chat with a colleague or phone a friend to swap notes on your day. Then you can snap back into action and work twice as well for the revitalizing break.
However many breaks you grant yourself, they won’t compensate for lack of sleep, so make sure you get however many hours you need each night. Most people need at least seven hours, and reliable studies suggest the average need is eight, so schedule those vital sleep hours into your routine, and allow for unwinding time first, to help you drop off. If you need to work into the night, just adjust the next day’s plans to allow for a lie-in, or take an official day off and sleep on.
You may feel you don’t have time for a social life, now that you have your business to tend to, but too much solitude can be unhealthy, potentially generating stress and depression. You’ll want to keep up valuable friendships for the sake of future years, too, and your friends will be glad to see you, so allocate an evening a week, or per month if that’s really all you can spare, for get-togethers and fun times. You’ll feel ten times better afterward for having turned your back on your business for a few hours and had a laugh with your mates.
Freeing up time, even for brief interludes, may be difficult, but where your health and well-being are concerned, ways must be found. If you have colleagues or staff, perhaps delegate more work and responsibility to them. You may also be able to arrange your meetings and events more time-effectively. Check your diary each week to see if any commitments can be omitted or combined. Keep your entrepreneurial vision clear, prioritize everything you do, and accept that you may not always achieve quite as much as you hoped.
You’ll run your business all the better for being in top form yourself, so put your personal well-being at the top of your list, alongside that of your career. Once you get started on this healthy-living plan, you won’t look back.
Read more articles on entrepreneurship