The life of a typical entrepreneur is fast paced and full on.
Sleeping at the office, if at all, with the fate of the organisation (and the dream) resting in your hands. Every ounce of energy is poured into the business, into building your dreams, and sometimes it still feels like it’s not enough to take the next step on the journey. In fact, so much of yourself is so wholly and selflessly dedicated to the manifestation of your vision that there’s never anything left to look after the most important asset in your arsenal – YOU.
It is a simple and seemingly obvious fact to state that if your mind and body is run down and running on fumes then you will be a long way off performing at your best, and this has a direct impact on your ability to build out your vision and plough through the challenges inherent in such a journey. It’s like the mother run ragged after her kids, never taking any time to care for her own needs because she’s so selflessly focused on her pride and joy, and her constant challenge – her kids. She pushes and pushes herself, all along allowing her mind and body to suffer due to her own negligence, until one day she drops dead from a stroke or heart attack. It takes some direct honestly and humility to accept the lesson in this message – you’re no good to anyone dead.
As with the mother’s desire to give her children the best care possible, as an entrepreneur you are no different – everything you do is with the intention of it being in the best interests of your baby, the company. However, losing sight of looking after yourself is the biggest and most devastating mistake you can make – most entrepreneurs do not have companies that would thrive if they weren’t around anymore, and even if they do, they won’t be enjoying any of the benefits from a hospital bed… or even worse, the grave.
For this reason, the most important focus in anyone’s life – especially that of an entrepreneur – should be on their own health and wellbeing. We always find a way to make time for the things that are most important to us in life, and it’s time to escalate our health and personal wellbeing to the top of the priority list in recognition that when we’re firing on all cylinders and consistently provide the fuel our minds and body need to thrive, we exponentially increase our results in relation to the perceived expended effort.
Does a higher level of results for lower perceived effort sound good to anyone?
Good – I’m glad I have your attention.
Here are my top 5 tips tailored to entrepreneurs with fast paced lifestyles on how you can employ some simple and dynamic life hacks to maintain a level of health, fitness and wellbeing that allows you to consistently smash your targets and exceed even your own expectations on a daily basis:
- Get up early and exercise – Having the discipline to rise early each day in order to give yourself the gift of time is a massive factor in increasing your health and wellbeing. Getting up early gives you the time for yourself that you so desperately need, to look after your own needs mentally, physically and spiritually, before everyone else starts demanding a piece of you. At least 20 minutes of this time should be allocated to exercise as this gets all the bodily systems moving, including the respiratory, circulatory and lymph systems. When these systems are working at full capacity, the endocrine system starts pumping out great feel good hormones, the lymph system starts clearing out waste from the body and fresh oxygen is delivered to each an every organ in your body in abundance – it doesn’t matter how, but get moving every morning to start your day; it is important to sweat, and induce deep fast breathing. Recent scientific studies have shown that exercise improves brain function and cognition by actually stimulating the growth of new brain cells, with the new cells reaching maturity within weeks of the exercise session. Certain types of exercise such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) have also been shown to improve memory, with the effects measurable the same day of the exercise session. What to increase your brain power? Start the day with exercise!
- Follow a morning routine that is tailored to you – Every successful person you read about or hear interviewed will talk about the importance of their daily morning routine. Design yours to suit your needs, goals and schedule and complete it religiously. When you get into this habit, you will notice a drastic decrease in productivity on the days you miss, and this will prove to be a stark reminder of the benefits of this practice. Some suggestions for inclusion in your morning routine could be meditation (highly recommended), exercise (covered above), writing down your thoughts and planning your day, reading something educational that has the power to teach you something that when implemented has the potential to really move the needle in your life, and breath work. You can include as many or as few of these as suits your personality and goals, but I recommend at least trying all of them in one way or another, as they all have fantastic benefits for the dedicated practitioner. You can perform each for 1 minute, or 10 minutes – it’s totally up to you. The main thing is to make it a habit, and practice the discipline of performing your routine daily. The way to think about this daily practice is that it is weight lifting for your mind; whereas physical exercise is an important part of this routine, the mental exercise comes from the other elements of your morning routine – practices like planning your goals for the day and meditating train your mind and align both your conscious and subconscious thoughts to your desired outcomes. The power of this daily practice cannot be overstated – even meditating by visualising physical activity has been shown to improve muscle function, so just imagine the benefits of congruently focused thought when applied to your goals. Recent studies have also shown that the most potent peak alpha brainwave states can be achieved through meditating specifically on forgiveness and gratitude – forgiveness being the most potent for producing these peak alpha brainwave states. There’s no space for negativity when we foster a deep state of forgiveness and gratitude on a regular basis. Not at your best cognitively? Try a quick meditation in forgiveness to boost your mental state. You can read more on morning routines, and how to set yourself up for success HERE
- Drink loads of water throughout the day and minimise caffeine – Water is the key component utilised to flush waste products out of your body, and so it’s imperative that you make sure you’re drinking enough of it to facilitate this process. Typically, men are 60% water and women are 55% water, so it’s not hard to see how making sure we have enough of this key component in our bodies is so important. Dehydration is one of the main and most major causes of fatigue, and most of us are dehydrated before we are even aware of the symptoms – if your mouth is dry, you’re already deeply dehydrated. The best way to manage your water intake is to use as large a portable water bottle as is practicable for you, and to carry it with you wherever you go so you always have good quality water on hand – some people even find it useful to set alarms at regular intervals to remind them to take a drink of water, whether they are aware of feeling thirsty or not. Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day will not only improve your overall health and brain function, but it will help with weight management and improve fat loss when combined with the right diet and exercise programme. Limiting your caffeine intake is equally as important, as too much caffeine will mess with your endocrine system and is antidiuretic meaning that it causes you to lose more water than you get from the cup of coffee! Too much coffee will give you nervous jitters, scramble your concentration and leave you dehydrated – caffeine is an excellent tool with some great health and cognitive boosting benefits if used sparingly and diligently
- Eat power foods, with a focus on more fat and less carbs – Each of us is basically the same whilst being completely different, and this is particularly evident when it comes to how our bodies process different types of macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats. For me, I have found that my mind and body work best on a diet that is approximately 70-80% fat, with protein and carbohydrates making up the remainder. When my body is tuned to burning fat for fuel, I have more energy, more clarity and more consistent energy levels throughout the day. This is what’s known as operating in a state of ketosis, where they body shifts from burning glucose for fuel (sugars) to fat. Fuelling your body with clean fats, grass fed protein and healthy organic vegetables is the best way to provide your mind and body with the fuel it needs to thrive day in, day out. Organic vegetables are filled with the micronutrients our bodies need to thrive, the grass fed protein provides the proteins required for cell genesis and muscle building/maintenance, and the fat provides the fuel for long lasting energy. What happens to your car when you put the wrong fuel in? The same is true of your mind and body over time, as it can only ever perform as well as the building blocks you give it through your diet
- Build functional movement and conditioning into your activities of daily living (ADL’s) – Getting your daily dose of exercise each morning has a plethora of benefits as described in point 1, but that 20 minutes – or even an hour – each morning simply isn’t enough to deliver life long health and wellbeing; especially when you spend a lot of your working day being inactive sitting at a desk or behind the wheel of a car. The 8 hours that most people spend sitting down each working day is literally killing them, slowly but surely – don’t succumb to the same fate. The best way to avoid this is to think about how you can build exercise and general conditioning into your ADL’s – activities of daily living. For example, rather than taking the lift, take the stairs. Rather than parking outside the entrance to your office building in your executive parking space, park at the back of the car park and walk to the front door. Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you to get up from your desk and walk around the building at regular intervals – surprise your colleagues by taking a walk yo go and speak to them in person where you might otherwise have picked up the phone. There are lots of ways that functional movements and general conditioning can be incorporated into our everyday lives, and this is one of the things I focus on with my client’s as it’s a great way to get more out of the things they have to do anyway. Changing how you think about what you intend to get out of your everyday activities can deliver amazing results, and this is something I can help you with should we have the pleasure of working together. This is also a great hack to reset your mental state if you find yourself in a slump, stressed or angry at any point throughout your day – move. Whether it’s going for a walk or locking the door to your private office and dancing around like the village idiot to some of your favourite high energy tunes, movement is a great way to get the blood flowing, and the endorphins pumping which will work to elevate your state, and revitalise your energy levels. I use this a LOT (dancing around like the village idiot), and it never fails to amaze me how quick and effective it is
I hope you’ve found these tips and hacks interesting and useful, and I look forward to hearing about how incorporating some of these changes into your life makes a difference to your level of output and your results. If you would like to discuss any of the concepts mentioned here further, and are interested in my Peak Performance Coaching Programme for Entrepreneurs, then please drop me a line here: E-mail Jamie
I’d love to hear from you if these suggestions have made a difference for you – get involved and join the conversation by leaving a comment below!