Just a quick note: This has been the most read blog post of the last few years - I think a lot of people are feeling 'pressure' in their professional and personal lives. I'm not the only one who has been emotionally exhausted! So, I've updated it and reposted it-
I'm a 'Type A' personality.
If you’re not familiar with the term, it simply means that people like me tend to work ourselves into an early grave, having suffered from these ‘fine’ qualities:
being competitive, work-obsessed,
rushed, and continuously stressed-out.
The result? Emotionally exhausted - go to bed tired, wake up tired, live tired.
It's not a pleasant way to live and it was rough on my wife and kids. So, since I would prefer to live long and prosper, I’ve had to learn to pace myself, both in work and in life.
Here are 10 things I’ve done that seem to work:
1. Get some sleep.
Most of my life I have run on pure adrenaline (I’ll sleep when I’m dead!). I’ve been overflowing with excitement and thinking that there are a million things to get done. Eventually my emotional and physical gas tank ran out, making even the slightest task seem impossible.
We need to be full of energy and ready to take on the day when we wake up. Personally, I perform much better on 7 - 8 hours of deep sleep, SO, we installed ‘blackout’ blinds on our bedroom windows to minimize any light entering the room. It did make a difference. I also take an 'encapsulated' 10 mg melatonin tablet and valerian root about 30 minutes before bedtime.
2. Get active.
Sitting at a desk all day is not healthy. We both know that. There are several health studies that show that sitting all day is actually killing us!!
Unfortunately, we entrepreneurs are so focused on reaching our goals that sometimes the blinders go on and everything else is ignored -- including health and well-being. Get some physical exercise daily (walk and listen to inspiring podcasts to encourage you!) and also get up out of your chair and walk around multiple times throughout the day. Rich and dead is not being successful!
3. Take time off.
Many people say they want to be an entrepreneur and own their own business to have the freedom to take time off whenever they want. It sounds good, but the reality is that starting and growing a business can consume every ounce of energy and time you have (been there – done that).
Before you find yourself on the verge of complete burnout, take some time off. The time away will recharge your energy, making you more productive when you return to work.
4. Occupy free time with hobbies or meaningful activities.
When you aren’t submerged in your business, it is important to keep your time structured. After all, if you don’t have hobbies or activities planned, guess what you are going to do? Work on your business! A quick, “let me just check my emails real quick” or ‘I’ll just check the latest news” on a day off can easily turn into a full day of activity. Spend your time off doing some things you enjoy. We NEED to take a break.
5. Have a comfortable workspace.
Many people will drop several hundred dollars on the newest smartphone but won’t spend a penny for their office. A comfortable and supportive chair, (maybe a standing desk?), appropriate light, etc., can create a pleasant and comfortable area to work in.
6. Eliminate 24/7 communication.
With modern technology you can be connected to your business 24/7. While smartphones, mobile email and business apps are convenient, the pressure to stay connected around the clock can destroy the business/personal life balance. Set limits -- for example, I refuse to check emails on Sunday.
7. Remain social.
Getting together with friends can help take your mind off the pressures of business and help to keep you connected with the outside world. Don’t pass up the occasional night out with friends because you feel like you have a full plate of work. That plate is always going to be full and it can often wait until tomorrow.
8. Establish a clearly defined cut off time for your day and week.
Most budding entrepreneurs feel that they need to work around the clock to keep their dream and business above water. This results in leaving them mentally and physically exhausted, severely impacting your productivity. Establish a time that you will stop working each day along with when your work week ends -- and stick to it. You will notice that you start each day refreshed and become more productive.
9. Eat well.
When strapped for time, fast food is extremely convenient. The combination of sitting a lot and eating horrible food can result in you putting on extra pounds and increasing your risk of heart disease. I’ve made a point of eating salads (if available) when I have to eat out.
10. Finally. Remain optimistic.
You will encounter problems on a regular basis as a business owner. Regardless of the situation you need to remain optimistic and know in your mind that everything can be worked out. Negative thoughts never breed positive results, and your business becomes vulnerable the moment you start to have doubts.
Remaining sane as an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but using the above strategies can help to improve your mental and physical health, eliminating emotional exhaustion!
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