Work at breakneck speed for 12 hours, exercise, feed, kids, bed!
I was once chatting to an entrepreneur who runs 3 successful businesses. He told me his biggest fear was to be left doing nothing, on his own. That even the thought of doing this for 5 minutes, seemed a mammoth undertaking. This maybe an extreme example but it’s a common response by many entrepreneurs. The usual remedy for balancing a fast paced life, is some sort of exercise, sport or the gym.
This approach is ok, if everything else is in order; healthy food, plenty of water, low alcohol intake, and at least 7 hours sleep. But let’s face it, time is an entrepreneur’s commodity and more often than not, many of these important things are left out, during a busy day.
In 2009, Ranjan Das, the CEO/MD of SAP India, had just returned home from his gym after a workout when he collapsed and died from a massive heart attack. Ranjan was only 42, he was a regular runner and by all accounts healthy person. However, he was on the go continuously and rarely got more than 4 hours sleep a night. Doing exercise after such a little amount of sleep caused a rise in his pulse rate that his heart couldn’t handle. This was probably the main cause of his death. A tragic and sad story, with consequences that could possibly have been avoided.
There is a ton of research out there about the importance of down time, but if you are in the early stages of building a business, there is little chance for breaks or holidays and the thought of taking time out can often seem counter productive. So what are some of the ways in which to integrate activities in to the day that will help improve mental wellbeing, without reducing the progress you are striving for.
Turn the Phone Off: if your day has finished, turn off the phone. It’s simple but many of us do not do it. IPhones have now become our surrogate partners and if your phone is on, there is an unconscious connection. It’s much easier to relax, if the technology in your life is disconnected for a while. Even better, leave it at home when you head out for an evening. When you turn it back on and get stuck back into your work you might find you are more productive.
Drink Plenty of Water: It’s an obvious suggestion but still many of us do not drink enough water. Swap out a coffee or two, for a glass of water at meetings. Carry a reusable water bottle, so you can refill it. If you drink high sugar drinks with lunch replace them with water. What ever it takes to get 2 to 3 litres or more a day, make that change! It will help your body to flush out toxins, increase your energy levels and boost your immune system, keeping you healthy, alert and in the game.
Spend time with nature: Unfortunately not all of us have access to natural surroundings, and with The UN predicting the urban population in the developing world to nearly double in the next 30 years, that’s not looking likely to change anytime soon. But we can all get access to nature, for an hour or two a week. Many café’s have outdoor areas and Internet access, providing a space to work. There is also a growing trend for running retreats for entrepreneurs to slow down and refocus. Many of these are in Bali and provide an ideal space to recharge. Nature restores and revitalizes, spending time close to nature will keep your mind, body and business balanced.
Try Yoga: When people think about yoga they think of flexibility, posture and strength but actually there are many other benefits to practicing yoga. Yoga increases oxygen flow to your brain and other cells as well as enhancing your body’s own power of detoxification. A big part of yoga also includes breathing work, which helps to focus the mind and retain mental stability. All of these things help you to keep healthy, whilst properly unwinding. Yoga studios are common in most cities these days, and it’s worth taking an hour out, to take part.
Walk more: Walking is one of the safest and healthiest forms of exercise but many people do not go for long walks because of the amount of time it takes. But there are ample opportunities to walk during the day. If you work in a city, walk from meeting to meeting, rather than taking a taxi. Avoid escalators and take the stairs. Start looking for opportunities to walk whenever you can. Walking is the most accessible form of exercise there is and it’s great for your heart.
What ever you choose as your way to unwind, it’s a vital part of staying productive and should be considered part of the working lifestyle and part of a daily routine, not something that is extra to work.
A healthy body means nothing without a healthy mind and integrating the two is the remedy for long-term survival as an entrepreneur.balanceentrepreneurhealthhealthy mindlifestyleproductiveslow downunwindwellbeing