As an entrepreneur, there’s an urgency about the work we do. Between client work, the sales process, and all the peripheral work that’s necessary to keep the business running (think contracts and accounting) you may imagine that there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done, even with a team in place. In an effort to create a semblance of work / life balance and maintain excitement about work here are three ways to ensure you don’t get burned out. The goal, ultimately, is to maintain the excitement and urgency about this work day in and day out. While it may seem like working harder is the best way to go, or working more hours is the key to getting it all done, working smarter is the way to make it all happen.
Getting to the gym, running, swimming, cycling and even walking are all great activities. In addition to maintaining physical fitness, exercise generates endorphins, and endorphins make you feel good. If you are just starting on your exercise regimen those endorphins may take a few days to show, but when they do you’ll notice them after your workout. Regardless of your workload and the urgency of your work, daily exercise will leave you feeling excited about the day and refreshed for the hard work ahead. During the day get out for a 10-15 minute walk. Maybe even take some phone calls while you are on that walk. The bit of exercise will boost your metabolism and get you thinking quicker.
This is not about eating a lot of food, but eating the right food to keep your head in the game at work and for your business. Start the day with whole grains, protein from eggs or yogurt, or some cereal. Definitely eat breakfast, because if you don’t by the time you get to lunch you’ll be famished. During the day have snacks available including nuts, whole grain bars and fruits. If you are going to have a big meal in the day make it lunch. This way you will eat a more sensible dinner, which is better than eating a massive meal before you go to bed.
For lunch eat a salad with light dressing and a protein, or a whole grain packed dish and protein. So, try some salmon and whole grain rice, some tacos, or some chicken teriyaki. Maintain balance, and throughout the afternoon ensure you don’t let yourself get hungry. If you eat a sensible lunch you’ll avoid the food coma that comes on when you eat a heavy lunch. Snack when you need to so you can keep the business conversations sharp. For dinner eat something that fills you up, but that isn’t going to pack on the pounds
For dinner eat something that fills you up, but that isn’t going to pack on the pounds over night. The goal of eating a meal is to fuel your day, so eating a big meal at the end of your day is counter productive if you are going to sleep in a few hours. Fish and salad are good to eat at dinner, though smaller portions of any protein is good. If you attend lots of business dinners or lunches, use salad as your go-to dish.
While I wish I were a person who could be functional on four hours of sleep that is certainly not the case. Get to bed by 10pm and get a good night’s sleep. Ensure that you have time to decompress from a day of looking at the computer screen, and spend an hour before bed time ideally not in front of a screen. At least don’t be on your phone. Read a good book and create an opportunity for your brain to wind down for the day. Get your 6-8 hours of sleep and start your day fresh.
Maintain a schedule. Wildly changing the times you wake up, eat and sleep will have substantial and negative effects on you as you go about your day. If you sleep too little you are likley to eat more, and less healthy options. You are also more likely to make bad decisions if you are regularly working tired.
If you notice that your mindset is negative, or you are feeling tired, or sluggish think about the way you live and work. Alcohol and drugs are stimulants, so pay attention to how you feel when you imbibe, and how you feel the next day. If you notice a pattern that doesn’t suit you, change it. Form healthy living habits to enjoy time with your family and friends, to maintain excitement about your business and to ensure your business goals are met.