Being an entrepreneur is endless hard work with rewarding highs and devastating lows. The trend over the last few years has seemed to push working extended hours, bragging about constantly packed schedules, and living off liquid diets. This is not a healthy way to live and countless studies highlight the mental health stress and problems that entrepreneurs face. My favorite quote from a local entrepreneur, Rachel Kelly of Make Lemonade, is “You didn’t leave a nine to five to work a twenty-four-seven.” Let’s make sure you’re on track for a successful 2020 by giving you the advice you need to maintain a healthy balance during your entrepreneurial journey.
Entrepreneur Trend #1: Mindfulness and Meditation
Have you stumbled across any piece of content that hasn’t mentioned the importance of mindfulness and meditation in the past year? Mindfulness is important for reducing stress and anxiety as well as improving focus and creativity. You need to carve time out of your day to step back and gain a new perspective on your business and yourself. Mindfulness doesn’t need to be some dedicated spot on a yoga mat, surrounded by candles, with calming music playing (though it can be!). Mindfulness is simply about giving full attention to what it is at hand and not letting other distractions take away from your focus. You can apply mindfulness by taking a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Entrepreneur Trend #2: Fewer Hours
You do not need to work more hours to accomplish more tasks. Work in 2020 is shaped around productivity and effectiveness, rather than simply being available twenty-four hours a day. In an oft-quoted study, Microsoft saw a 40% boost in productivity when they transitioned one of their offices to the four day work week. Though flex hours have been a legally mandated part of the country for a while, Finland’s Prime Minister wants to make the four day work week or six-hour work day the norm. Shopify’s CEO took to Twitter to discourage long work weeks and skipping sleep.
You can work for fewer hours if you schedule your focus and creative work (see our third trend!). If you find yourself distracted or unable to concentrate on a task, take a break and come back to it.
Entrepreneur Trend #3: Schedule Creative Time & Focus Work
Whether or not you’re working fewer hours, you need to structure your time to make the most out of it. There are lots of ideas out there, from time blocking to power napping, but you need to find the routine that helps you maximize accomplishments. Establishing morning rituals and habits is one way to start yourself off on the right path. You need a morning ritual for yourself and personal care, as well as for work. Begin every day the same by handling those tedious must-dos, such as responding to emails, answering customer inquiries on social media, and scheduling meetings. Get things done that you’re not that keen to complete out of the way. From there, you’ll have the time to focus on the things you want to do and that grow your business.
Using a task manager or your calendar, block out times in your day for specific tasks. If you need to write a piece of content a week to promote your SEO strategy, then block off a section, for example, two hours every Tuesday, to write that piece. Allot yourself only the time in there. The habit and routine will soon make it easier to focus immediately when you begin the task anew each week. Block off time to be creative or to focus. For creativity, try exploring new places, meeting new people, or doing something different.
Entrepreneur Trend #4: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
This tip, though important, is more applicable to entrepreneurs who are fortunate enough to have a team accessible to them. Delegation is so important to prevent burnout and have a successful business. You may be entirely solo in your venture and if that’s the case, nothing beats listing out and choosing the most important task(s) of the day to tackle. You need to be meticulous about where your focus and attention goes if you’re the only person involved. Be wary of tasks that seem like you’re accomplishing something but are actually distracting.
If you do have any type of support system – that’s your team! Perhaps you have an advisory board who can handle an enterprise marketing strategy. Maybe you have a parent who can sew the prototype of your new fashion line. Your best friend could be new to web development and willing to build her portfolio by creating your website. Sometimes, you may give a percent of your company to these individuals for their help or treat these amazing contributors to dinner. Either way, make sure you appreciate and, at the very least, return that favor by providing your own skills to their endeavors.
Being an entrepreneur comes with challenges and you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your business. Dedicate time towards self-care, mental health, and healthy lifestyle habits. Focus on the work that is most pressing and delegate or leave other tasks for another day. Take on 2020 as a healthy and happy entrepreneur! We know you’ll succeed.