April 17, 2020
As an entrepreneur, your daily life and routine can be an everchanging cycle of adaptation as new tasks and problems arise. While you may be tempted to put in long hours or feel anxiety about new challenges that may emerge, practicing mindfulness can have great benefits not only for your health, but also for your business.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and not be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. As Dr. Barrie Litsky, a professor at The Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, states, “Life, in general, is stressful. But too much stress can result in devastating emotional and physical consequences including anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure…mindfulness, like physical exercise, is a practice that entrepreneurs can adopt not only to mitigate negativity but also to induce positive feelings and overall well being.”
Many of us only focus on the physical but, as Dr. Litzky states, our mental health is just as important. We’ve collected 3 tips to help you achieve focus and increase your resilience for whatever you may face ahead. Learn to plan in advance and work on what matters most – You.
STAYING FOCUSED – PLAN FOR PRODUCTIVITY
When trialing mindfulness techniques, planning can be one of the most effective practices you choose to adopt. A day without planning can lead to disorganization, and disorganization leads to stress. Creating a routine will keep you concentrated as you go about your day.
Taking five minutes out of your day to plan can have enormous benefits to both your daily and long-term goals. Setting aside time to make sure you are able to tackle your priorities will transform the pace at which you reach your achievements. Some of the best strategies to plan and stick to a routine, include:
- Preparing for your morning the night before
- Writing down your goals for the following day
- Having and sticking to a sleep schedule
- Getting your day started with a healthy breakfast
- Exercising your mind by meditating
- Organizing and catching up with your team
A simple schedule may seem like a small change but following a routine will help free up a lot more time than you think. Utilize planning to increase your efficiency and reduce your daily stress levels as you tackle future projects.
SLEEP – ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?
Staying up late and waking up early is the new norm amongst entrepreneurs in the age of “hustling”. Even Elon Musk has been quoted to say, “Work like hell… put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. This improves the odds of success.” While hard work is vital, and there will inevitably be some late nights required, entrepreneurs in the modern era erroneously believe that no one has time for sleep in the pursuit of success.
The bottom line is – sleep is important. As stated in a study by the American Psychological Association, adults with high stress are more likely, than those with low stress, to say that they feel the effects of getting too little sleep, such as:
- 68% say they feel sluggish or lazy versus 36% of adults with low stress
- 59% say they are irritable versus 20% of adults with low stress
- 45% say they have trouble concentrating versus 12% of adults with low stress
- 45% say they feel more stressed versus 5% of adults with low stress
- 27% say they feel sad or depressed versus 2% of adults with low stress
The facts don’t lie, sleeping less is not equal to working harder. It’s very important to get a good 7-9 hours of sleep each night both for your mental health and performance capabilities. As stated by Dr. Thanuja Hamilton, MD, a Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialist, during the Women’s Empowerment Summit at Drexel, “there is enough time in the day, you just have to make sure it’s quality time.” If you think sleeping less is helping you work more, you’re wrong. Stop being busy, start being effective.
RESILIENCE – COPING WITH ADVERSITY AND DEALING WITH PROBLEMS
There are so many obstacles to overcome when running your own business that staying continuously resilient may seem like a daunting task. Resilient people know how to effectively handle tough situations, can spot the silver lining in negative situations, see failures as a learning opportunity, and find ways to prioritize the things that truly matter. Luckily, with a little practice, you can train yourself to become more resilient. Here are some steps you can start to use in your daily life to grow your resilience:
- Asses yourself: when or where do you struggle? And what you do to cope with it?
- Build on your strengths: take a look at where you’re already resilient
- Be proactive: don’t wait for a problem to fix itself!
- Ask for help: it’s ok to need help. Surround yourself with good people willing to invest in you
- Be flexible: learn from your past mistakes and turn them into opportunities
- Find balance: stay social, but know when to step back and take some time for yourself
As entrepreneur Gever Tulley said, “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” Building your resilience will not only decrease anxiety but also unlock your creativity and focus. Learning to work through difficult problems will give you the ability to think critically with a clear mind and, ultimately, help you overcome any difficult situation that will arise in the future.
Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to manage your stress, as well as boost your productivity, patience, and overall happiness. Even if you’re just getting started, taking small steps toward mindfulness in your life and entrepreneurial ventures will make a big difference in how you seize the most out of your day.