As entrepreneurs, we naturally put ourselves in high pressure situations which can ultimately cause a high amount of stress, if we allow it.
Waking up in the morning, checking social media and scanning through your emails, while still lying in bed is quite normal for most of us.
This habitual obsession is the anti-good morning routine that can, in fact, be detrimental to our productivity and could be a primary cause of elevated stress levels, lack of focus and take away from a general sense of calmness and wellbeing.
What is a work life balance?
That being said, I question if there is there such a thing as having a balanced, healthy lifestyle, being the COO in a high-growth, fast-paced tech startup in South Africa. Amidst the ever growing priority lists and 25 hour work days, there are several “quick fixes” one can do to boost ones daily productivity, increase energy levels and achieve a more positive and generally happier state of mind.
In the many motivation, autobiographies, business and self-development books I’ve read, or rather, listened to (I’m a huge fan of Audible), we can deduce that having a mindfulness-based morning routine can truly change and improve every aspect of your day. My typical morning starts off slow, waking up at around 5:15. I enjoy a very large cup of coffee, slot in a 15-20 minute meditation, followed by a 30 – 40 minute gym session and sauna.
I get into the office at 8:30 am and seldom eat breakfast. This for me, has been a routine that I’ve managed to keep up for around 2 years and as a result, I really find myself to be significantly more focused, less reactive and more aware throughout the day. “Meditation creates awareness, awareness creates choice”.
I’m not suggesting that you must exercise and meditate every morning (although it does help). What I am suggesting is that you find a routine that allows you to spend time on yourself, energize and recharge your mind before the day starts.
Don’t browse through Instagram first thing for your daily dopamine hit, which is actually proven to induce negative emotions, but rather focus on yourself, listen to music, go to a yoga class, run or make breakfast, and give yourself some time to be grateful for the day ahead.
Knowing when to rest
Being physically and mentally fit also means knowing when your body is telling you to stop. Not getting enough quality sleep, not supplementing, over training and overworking is so common that we often don’t even realise it, and only accept it once we’ve reached a level of fatigue that can lead us down a dangerous rabbit hole.
I know this from my own experiences, and I have the blood, sweat and scars to prove it. Understand and listen to your body, avoid over training, and follow a nutrient-rich lifestyle that works for you.
Proper sleep is the ultimate productivity hack. I call it a hack, because so many of us don’t do it right. Our brains are constantly bombarded with information from multiple screens, coupled with the light emitted from them, this is an artificial recipe for disaster. Try blocking out all light and sleeping in total darkness and see how you feel in the morning. Sleeping in a very dark environment contributes to a more restful sleep.
Essentially, this article is about finding your balance, so that when you wake up in the morning after a deep and satisfying sleep; every challenge will feel like an opportunity, and every decision made will cultivate a sense of growth and progress for you as an entrepreneur.