Being a startup founder can be a tough job. Things may look rosy on the outside; but smart entrepreneurs know that while running a business and being your own boss can be highly fulfilling and exhilarating, entrepreneurship can also be excruciatingly stressful.
That doesn't mean entrepreneurs should give up. Most entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do; they would not trade their situations for an ordinary 9-to-5 job. Nor should they brush off their maddening work schedules and the demands they face from a young, buzzing-with-activity ecosystem. Such factors, however, can gradually take their toll on mental and physical health.
So, what to do? The Zen advice to strike the perfect work-life balance seems to hold true only on paper; most entrepreneurs cannot catch a break. And while a few have successfully managed to maintain the balance, taking a vacation seems like a distant dream.
Yet there are several strategies available to escape the rigors of a busy work schedule and gear up for another challenging day:
Be specific about how you’ll use downtime.
If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are probably a compulsive planner and scheduler of your entire day. But, the way things are in a dynamic startup environment, it is highly unlikely that you'll get even 15 minutes of free time. You may have also lined up several business tasks for the day and planned on doing them in your "open time" but will find yourself at a loss to actually find it.
As a result, you'll end up wasting precious minutes trying to figure out what to do.
To avoid this, plan for unanticipated free time. When drawing up your schedule for the day, take an extra five minutes to list the enjoyable things you would want to do in your extra time -- and then do them.
Your schedule might include “Read that article on growth hacking while enjoying a cup of coffee"; “Run down to the corner coffee shop to get a quick shot of espresso”'; or “Watch an episode of (your favorite TV show) on the PC.” Such specific scheduling will motivate you to make time for activities that you can actually enjoy.
Pursue a hobby.
Whether it is trekking, painting, singing, building the Taj Mahal with matchsticks or even making origami, the time spent pursuing a hobby can be rejuvenating and rewarding. Cultivate one and set time aside for it. Even Warren Buffet plays the ukulele in his spare time!
Exercising not only keeps your body healthy, but also relaxes your mind. You need not go to the gym to exercise. Simple exercises can be performed at home and even in your office during free time. Running can be thrilling, and a short sprint around the block or across your work campus can relax your body and mind.
Yoga and meditation do not require any special equipment and should be made part of a regular healthy routine. Practicing yoga or meditation for half an hour to 45 minutes in the morning focuses the mind and prepares you to take the day by the horns.
Socialize and meet new people.
While socializing can be a great way to network and find new business opportunities, it is also necessary for entrepreneurs to interact with friends and family. Such meetings should devoid of business-related talk and can be a great source of relaxation.
Try to make meaningful connections with your friends and be open to making new ones. You can use technology to meet new people. For instance, Connexion is an app that focuses on cultivating lasting and meaningful relationships between people. Depending on your profile, the app finds you like-minded individuals through your social network. Simply using the app to find a meaningful match can, in itself, be a great way to relax and enjoy.
Delegate and automate.
The inclination to do everything by yourself can be very strong when you start a business. Doing so can not only be physically and mentally demanding, but also affect your business adversely. You may not be adept at tackling every business activity, and you need to realize this as an entrepreneur. So, find people whom you can delegate tasks to. Trust their abilities and focus your time and energy to find new ways to enhance your business.
At the same time, embrace technology to make your life easier. There are tons of tools you can use to ease accounting, scheduling, content creation, marketing automation, CRM and so on. Use these tools to make your business activities seamless and effortless.