Edema wrote recently about how staying healthy can impact employee productivity, and this is equally applicable to aspiring entrepreneurs.
When starting a business it is all too easy to get caught up in the day to day running of things and start to overlook other important parts of your life.
When you have deadlines looming and bills to pay, skipping meals and working all night seems like the logical thing to do. But working in this way is counterintuitive and certainly not sustainable over the long term.
To give your business the best chance of success you need to be on your best form, and this means taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.
Many popular self-improvement writers have spoken of the impact of finding balance across the different areas of life.
For example Stephen R Covey’s best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about the importance of Sharpening the Saw, “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have, you”.
Many entrepreneurs will tell you that they simply don’t have the time to worry about these things, but keep in mind that some of the most powerful and successful people in the world see health and wellbeing as an important part of their routine.
Even President Obama takes time out from his busy schedule to keep fit by playing basketball.
Build Powerful Habits
Building powerful habits in the important areas of your life will put you on the fast track to success. In the words of American author and philosopher WIll Durant; “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So it is really important that you allow adequate time for these things:
- Nutrition– Skipping lunch, or picking up junk food on the go is not how successful people fuel their bodies. Research has shown that “Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.” The trick is to plan your food in advance and make sure you always have plenty of healthy snacks to hand. Similarly, a simple intermittent fast, or 500 calorie diet can be an effective way to balance periods of excess with periods of greater control. It is advisable to consult your doctor before you embark on either.
- Exercise– Keeping fit doesn’t mean that you have to stick to a strict gym routine. Simply raising your baseline level of exercise can have enormous positive benefits. Walking more regularly, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or committing to a few press ups in the morning are simple changes that will help to keep you in shape.
- Sleep– The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that on average US workers lose over 11 days of productivity each year due to poor sleep. So over the long term, burning the candle at both ends can only have a negative impact on your business. Even in the short term, the quality of your work deteriorates rapidly when you’re tired, so if you’re pushing hard to meet a deadline you may find it better to get some sleep and resume work in the morning.
- Play– As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Make time for fun, creativity and silliness in your life. It helps to put your hard work in perspective. Spending time outside of your usual day to day routine increases your chances of encountering new things, inspiring new ideas that you can take back into your business.
- Visualise / meditate– Meditation is a centuries old practice that is once again growing in popularity. In a world that seems to be constantly on the go, mindfulness and meditation is a refreshing break for the soul. You can also use this time to think about the future and build a clear picture of what you’d like to achieve and how you are going to get there.
The Benefits Speak for Themselves…
Having the strength and discipline to carve out this time for yourself will have a number of profound benefits:
- You will be more productive– Better diet and exercise, combined with more rest will give you a boost in energy that carries through to your work.
- You will feel less stress– Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress, and your improved levels of productivity will help you to feel more on top of things.
- You will be more confident– With a clearer picture of where you want to go, clarity over what is important, and peak physical conditioning, you’ll have a sense of confidence that carries through everything you do.
Take Deliberate Action to Achieve Success
The key to building these elements into your lifestyle is to make conscious decisions, don’t run on autopilot, picking up food on the go, or taking the elevator by default.
Success breeds success and once your start to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle it’ll make it far easier to stick with the positive habits.
Remember, don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself, it could turn out to be one of the key ingredients to your long term success.