You might have seen the entrepreneur with the blood-shot eyes that answers every question with one, four-letter word: work.
Person 1: Larry, how have you been?
Person 1: (puzzled look) Okay, but I haven’t seen you at the gym this past month, what have you been up to?
Person 2: (puzzled look) Hmmm. Larry, who do you think is going to win the game tonight?
Person 2: (sigh) Yea, that’s what I thought.
I’ll sleep when I’m dead. This might be the mantra for some entrepreneurs, but all entrepreneurs don't have to subscribe to this mentality. Every entrepreneur has a million tasks on their “To-Do List” and only 24 hours in a day. Often at the expense of personal health and wellness, entrepreneurs skip out on essential sleep time or skip over exercises all for the hope of getting extra time to devote to their business. Haralee Weintraub said, “The big thing about all work all the time is mistakes. Errors are made when you are not clear headed or well rested.”
Charge Card Living
While everyone may not endorse this mentality, there is a perception that entrepreneurs shouldn’t sleep and should have a 24/7 mindset to be successful. Dr. Elaine Wilkes calls this mentality “charge card living.” This is when entrepreneur “abuse their bodies now and their health pays later in compound interest.”
According to a WebMD article “10 Things To Hate About Sleep Loss”, a lack of sleep can result in car accidents, heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes. Also it can result in lack of sex drive, depression, skin aging, weight gain, increase risk of death, or impairment.
What Can You Do?
- Plan – It sounds so simple, but often times the stress that emerges from being an entrepreneur can often be a result of a lack of planning. Plan for everything including the number of hours that you will sleep, things you will do to unwind and if you have difficulty sleeping, try something like arranging your workouts before you go to sleep. If you are tired and exhausted from your workout, it might help you sleep better. Gia Ricci schedules her swims on a master’s team and says “if I miss it, I’m losing money.” She also bikes between appointments and suggested Yoga because it can be done anywhere.
- Organize – This goes hand to hand with planning, but relates more how you can keep your bedroom and house clean and organized to bring peace while you are working from home or when you come home after a long day.
- Eat regularly – Food is fuel for you and just like any vehicle you need it to stay keep going. Try eating 5-6 times a day. Ian Aronovich explained that his website has required more and more time, but he still finds time to “eats regularly and [he] stays away from processed foods.”
- Drink water – This seems like something small, but drinking 8 cups of water can have a huge impact on your health. Not drinking enough can lead to fatigue, migraine, constipation, dry skin and kidney problems.
- Exercise regularly – Something as small as doing a 15-20 minute workout or walk can have a huge impact on your health. Deborah Sweeney, keeps her TV on to watch the news, her BlackBerry close by for texting, and music up loud while she performs her daily spinning regime.
- Be social – Get your social life back. Spend time with your family or take the dog for a walk. Do something to get away from the 4 letter word. A study called “Entrepreneurs’ Self-reported Health, Social Life and Strategies for Maintaining Good Health conducted by The Journal of Occupational Health” found that there is “an association between self-reported good health and good social life for entrepreneurs in small-scale enterprises” and the entrepreneurs “emphasized strategies such as planning a control over work and physical exercise as important for maintaining good health.”
Your Healthy Business Plan
Author Dr. Marlene Caroselli tells herself everyday: “ ‘if you do nothing else today, do something good for your body.’ It gets me into and out of the gym before the craziness and chaos of the day begins to make demands on me.”
Just as your business has a long-term plan, be sure to take the same approach to your health. If you need to sit down and write a “long-term business-plan” for your health, then do what you should do to maintain your health. Karon Gibson said, “entrepreneurs need to force themselves to relax or they will have the repercussions and burn out later.”