Health Is Wealth: How to Move Away From Hustle Culture
Three simple ways to start prioritizing your health and have a healthier business.
We all open social media and are reminded of others' successful lives: a picture perfect viewpoint of a struggle-free life. We know it's not an accurate representation of the ups and downs, yet we still compare that "lookbook" to our actual lives.
That feeling you get while comparing yourself to them? Yeah, we all feel it. As business owners, it's even further drilled into our hearts and minds by the sharing of Gary Vaynerchuk-esque motivational videos and other meme-formatted graphics that portray the path to success is a constant grind and long-term sacrifice.
Hustle culture is an extremely dangerous trend that's got entrepreneurs (especially young ones) turning off the outside world to build a business. Not sleeping well or exercising, pausing any form of a personal life and not creating financial security is traded in for 100-hour work weeks and an addiction to caffeine.
I know this, because I lived it. For the first three or four years of building Innovo, I let myself go into debt, gain weight, pick up vices and barely sleep all for a misguided pursuit of needing to out-work to out-innovate. The quick drive-thru meal in between meetings quickly turns into a lifestyle formed on bad habits.
Health is wealth: A simple yet powerful sentiment. Three words that until a few years ago, I — like many others — heard but didn't listen. Burnout is 100% real and can be the catalyst to businesses failing. I've found that thinking about the people who rely on you (such as clients and employees) is a strong reminder to prioritize being the best you that you can be. This is not to say there isn't sacrifice or a grind that's necessary, because there is. But there's a line, and if you're disregarding the other parts of your life, they will eventually boomerang to cripple your focus.
Bedros Keuilian wrote about this and attributed the three main pillars of a healthy and well rounded balance to getting sleep, working out and eating right.
I wanted to expand on that with some more specific initiatives you as a business owner can implement today to be clear headed, focused and efficient.
Limit your caffeine intake
As someone who bounces from coffee shop to coffee shop (and whose office has one as well), this is my biggest detriment as an entrepreneur. Monitoring my coffee intake is paramount to my daily efficiency.
As Travis Bradberry put it, "When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state, your emotions overrun your behavior. Irritability and anxiety are the most commonly seen emotional effects of caffeine, but caffeine enables all of your emotions to take charge." Being over-caffeinated leads to anxiety, irritability and creates a viscious cycle where you crash and become reliant on coffee to bring you back to normal.
Idea: Supplement those extra cups of coffee with walks outside.
Go on walks
This sounds self explanatory, but the benefits are so huge. In a Cognition study, University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras noted that taking brief breaks heightens people's abilities to focus longer. Walking is a great tool for resetting while simultenously getting some exercise. I know you're looking at your Apple Watch reminding you to stand up. Maybe it's a sign?
To further cement this thought, a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that people who walked three times a week during their lunch break felt a lot better after walking for just half an hour. Creativity comes from states of calmness and clarity, walking helps with staying calm and can keep you focused and on track.
Idea: Take a 15-20 minute walk before work to ease into the day. If you feel stress throughout, take a break and go for a stroll.
Write down your daily to-dos
Whether writing them down on paper or inputting them into your CRM/project management software, digesting what you have to accomplish in bite size broken out items makes working smarter not harder easier. We've all had those times where there's so much to do you struggle to do anything. Creating realistic and manageable to-do's can fix this. Not to mention the seratonin boost you get when checking the complete box on a task! Keep them concise, organized and realistic.
These are just a couple daily items you can quickly implement to improve your mental and physical health. It's okay to over-hustle sometimes, just don't lose focus of what's needed to be at optimal performance. You got this!
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