Starting a business can be all-consuming. With limited resources and support, particularly at the outset, you have to be prepared to plough a huge proportion of your time and energy into making it a success. This often translates to long hours, networking, and levels of persistence that can be utterly exhausting.
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 help you give yourself and your business your best. Here are 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.
Reduce your caffeine intake
You may think you can't get through the day without it, but in the long-term, caffeinated drinks such as coffee sap your energy. 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 a decaf version, or even good old-fashioned tea! Or just water.
Make exercise part of your routine
Exercise reaps benefits for our bodies and our minds, but it's often the first thing to go when we get busy or stressed - which is perversely just the time when we need it most!
To avoid this happening, try to make exercise a natural part of your routine, whether that means walking to work, or organising active meetings with colleagues or clients. And don't think you need to spend hours in the gym – just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference, while short bursts of high intensity activity can also be hugely effective. So whether you choose 15 minutes of strength training on your lunch break, or a quick sprint round the block, you're looking after yourself. Book the time out in your diary - and stick to it!
There are times when sitting for hours in front of the computer, or constantly checking your emails can do more harm than good, and while you may feel less guilty for being there, your productivity may render it a pointless act.
It's crucial to take time away and unplug from technology, so try going for a walk, doing some yoga, or even a few minutes of meditation. If you're not sure how to do this, there are apps to help, such as Headspace. You'll be amazed by the benefits of switching your brain off for a short while. You'll hopefully come back feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to tackle the next challenge.
Don't skip on 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 try not to 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 better approach 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!