Good morning, entrepreneur! Time to put on your slippers, robe and kick up your feet while you watch daytime television, right? Hardly. Most of us find the opposite to be true. Waking up and working all day and through the night with little time for ourselves or a break. With limitless options in front of you, it’s even more important to take control of your time and structure your day. Being a stress-mess at the end of the week with no time with loved ones or friends is not the life you’ve set out to create for yourself. Personal experience has taught me a few things about self-care and how to start the day as an entrepreneur.
Your health is your most important possession
As Jenn stated in an earlier post, “…good health is something we value to keep it top of mind everyday”. Poor sleep, eating a less-than-stellar diet or skipping out on your workouts can drain your energy reserves. When you feel energized, you’re more productive, thinking clearly and motivated to do all you have to do in day. Create reminders to get up, stretch or take a mid-day break on your calendar or find an app that keeps you on track with your health and wellness. Take care of your body and mind by creating time in your day for essential self-care practices.
Begin the day with an activity you love
Part of being an entrepreneur is the joy of creating life on your own terms. Starting the day by checking your email within 30 seconds of waking (okay, 5 minutes might be a little more realistic) creates a tone for the day of “work, work, work”. Yes, work is important, but you could also spend the first hour of the day engaging in writing, painting, going for a walk, cooking a breakfast, sipping on tea, meditating or any other activities that don’t put you online and in work mode within moments of waking. Ease your way into your day and create and agenda that reflects a healthy balance.
Prioritize your tasks
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often we open our email and become sidetracked. Hours later, we wonder where the day went. Guilty as charged here! I’ve had to learn to ignore my inbox, opening it at intervals throughout the day instead being vigilant and immediately responding to incoming emails. We need at least 15 minutes find a focused zone when working on a project. Responding to emails, checking Facebook or Twitter take you out of your zone. End or start your day by creating a list of the high-priority items and tackle those first. If you need tools to help you stay focused, this is a great round up of tools to keep you attuned to and focused on your priorities.
Stop multitasking – immediately
When you worked in the corporate or office environment, multitasking was a valued trait. You know – the employee that can take calls, send emails, finish tomorrow’s report and sip away from their coffee cup simultaneously. Unlearning all those behaviors when you have your own business will benefit you. Renowned strategic advisor Peter Bregman says multitasking creates the illusion of productivity. “It’s very easy to multitask and jump from one thing to another without completing anything – that leaves us busy all day but unaccomplished.” He recommends finishing one thing at a time, giving the appropriate attention to detail and taking breaks as needed until a project is completed.
These are just a sampling of ways to find balance and a sense of achievement in your day as an entrepreneur. I’d love to hear from each of you. What are your tips and strategies for managing time, priorities and balancing work and life?
Erin Haslag, board-certified wellness coach and lifestyle consultant, can be found at WELL in L.A. where she shares simple, integrated ways to add more WELLness to your day. Follow along on Twitter @WELLinLA.