Starting a business is all-consuming. With limited resources and support, particularly at the outset, you have to be prepared to plough all your time and energy into making it a success. That usually means long hours, takeaways, boozy networking events, not to mention plenty of sleepless nights fretting about your 'to do' list.
Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking that the business has to come before everything, with every waking minute dedicated to its success. But in reality, if you continue on this road for too long, you're likely to reach the point of no return - stressed out, wiped out and burnt out. And that's not going to do your business any favours.
That's why it's so important to find and maintain a healthy routine, to ensure you can thrive along with your business. And by doing so, you'll find your time in the office is more productive, creative and less stressful as a result. Here's a few tips:
Good food habits
We all know the drill. You're working late and your stomach's rumbling. And all your brain can think about is pizza – the perfect solution! But while it may be a quick fix, opting for the fast-food option too frequently will leave your brain, energy levels and your waste-line suffering. Instead, try to plan and pre-make meals at the weekend so you have them ready for the week, while making sure your office is stocked up with healthy snacks, such as fruit, nuts and cereals. And for late night, last minute meals, try a healthy delivery company such as Deliveroo or Gousto for easy, yet nutritious and tasty options.
Cut out the coffee
You might think you can't get through the day without it, but in the long-term coffee is an energy sapper. The short-term high is inevitably followed by an almighty low and you'll need more and more to keep you going over time. Plus, it dehydrates you, further sapping your concentration. Instead, try good old-fashioned tea or even better green tea, which still contains caffeine but with milder and longer lasting effects.
Make exercise part of your routine
We all know exercise is a good thing – for our bodies and our minds – but it's often the first thing to go when we get busy or stressed, just the time when we need it most! To avoid this happening, try to fit exercise naturally into your routine, whether that means walking to work, or organising active meetings with colleague or clients. And don't think you need to spend hours in the gym – just 30 minutes a day can make the world of difference, while short bursts of high intensity activity can also be hugely effective, whether that means 15 minutes of strength training on your lunch break, or a quick sprint round the block. So book the time out in your diary - and stick to it.
Take time to switch off
There are times when sitting for hours in front of the computer, or constantly checking your emails can do more harm than good, frazzling your brain so you can no longer think straight. It's crucial to take time away and unplug from technology at least once a day, so try going for a walk, doing some yoga, or a few minutes' meditation with a mindfulness app such as Headspace. You'll be amazed by the benefits of switching your brain off for a short while. You'll come back feeling refreshed, reenergised and ready to take on your next challenge.
Don't sacrifice sleep
It's inevitable that as an entrepreneur you're going to work late nights every now and again, missing out on your eight hours of shut-eye in the process. But don't make a habit of it, or you could find you're doing more harm than good. Sleep is critical for cognitive processes related to attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving – all skills that you'll be needing to get that business off the ground. So if you catch yourself dozing off at your desk, make sure you spend a few days catching up on your snooze time!
Make time for your loved ones
Spending time with your family and friends is one of the biggest stress relievers, helping you put things into perspective and forget about your problems. So if you find yourself cancelling social plans too often, both you and your business could be losing out. Quality time at home and with your network will help you stay positive, inspired and motivated – which can only be a good thing!