Long hours, high work rates and potentially low sleeping hours will eventually take their toll, and if you keel over, so will your business. To stay sane at the very least, I recommend you take the time to do 3 things: be kind to yourself, surround yourself with the right people and wake-up with a fresh mindset.
Be kind to yourself
“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.”
– Jean Vanier
Stuffing your face with chocolate when times are getting tough is not what I mean by being kind to yourself (although, that is perfectly acceptable behaviour). Being kind to yourself means looking after your mind and body.
Make sure you do get enough hours sleep and do things that you enjoy. Huge work loads are normal, especially in the early days, but not taking the time to do things that relax you or have a bit of ‘you’ time will lead to high stress levels. Stress leads to sickness which turns into inefficiency and will eventually negatively impact your company. Your personal well-being should be a priority at all times. If you aren’t doing it for yourself, just remember that if you can’t perform well, you’re letting your team and investors down.
Let go of the feeling of guilt. You will inevitably make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, pick yourself up and learn from them. The more you dwell on them, the less you’ll step up and fix them.
You need to get out and smell the fresh air. Don’t be attached to your laptop all day. Exercise daily – even if it’s walking to your favourite cafe for lunch. Most importantly, eat well. It is so easy to grab fast food when you’re permanently on the go. Take the time to sit down and eat a meal that is going to power you through the day. You’re obviously entitled to that piece of chocolate, but don’t fuel your body on junk.
Surround yourself with the right people
“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”
It sounds silly, but you need to surround yourself with good people. These are your co-workers, friends, families, mentors or whomever you spend time with. They need to be motivating and supportive. When you’re surrounded by negativity, you become negative. But if you have those that can lift you up and see the positive or even just be a shoulder to cry on (we all need that sometimes), then you know you’ve got a pal worth hanging on to.
Don’t reconsider who your friends are, but think about who makes you the best that you can be. Who motivates you? Who inspires you? Who will stick by you when you’re stress levels are through the roof? And most importantly, who will be patient with you? Sometimes, even having someone tell you that you need to slow down is good too. These are the people you need to surround yourself with.
When you’re starting your own business, you may have a tendency of neglecting people and your social life will take on a different shape. Make some time to see the people you care about.
Remember, your co-workers, mentors and investors are just as important as your friendships outside the workplace. Nurture those relationships.
Wake-up with a fresh mindset
“Your morning routine is sacred”
Starting your morning the right way can genuinely set the course of your day. As a startup, you need to realise that you’ll make mistakes and that not every day is going to be successful. When you wake up, you need to remember that whatever happened yesterday is in the past and today will be a better day. Today, you can deal with any challenge that will inevitably be thrown at you.
Go about your morning routine calmly and do not touch your phone. Make a list of priorities for today’s work and then, and only then, go through your emails. This is the chance to rearrange your list to see what needs to be dealt with quickly.
Waking up without the stress of the day before will set you up for a day of productivity and resilience.
We all need time to unwind, collect our thoughts and support one another. Make sure that, through it all, you find the space to breathe.