When you're just launching a business, every moment counts. The crazy pace and frenzied momentum of each day leaves you with little time to spare. But it's crucial to take time out so that your brain can process what's happening and what needs to get done.
I've founded and led several companies, and I know that if I don't set aside this time for me to recharge, the entire business will suffer.
Here are the five best ways I've found to get a boost when I need to step away from the buzz of the office:
Working out in the morning sets the tone for my whole day.
When I start the day by getting my heart rate up to 160 beats per minute, I not only feel a sense of accomplishment for waking up and exercising, but it also gets my brain going.
Research has well-established that exercise improves cognitive function. One study even confirmed that burning 350 calories three times a week was roughly as effective as taking an antidepressant medication.
Even a walk can help improve your mood, so try spending your lunch out walking--or hold your one on one meetings on a trip around the block, rather than at your desk.
Meditation reduces anxiety. It also benefits the areas of the brain which are responsible for self-control and resilience.
I try to spend 15 minutes every day doing something to clear my mind. Whether it's guided meditation, mindfulness, or yoga, it recharges my brain so I can focus.
Steve Jobs encouraged employees to take 30 minutes for this at Apple, and Google has a similar initiative.
Besides boosting productivity, they can decrease stress, and possibly even heart disease. It is hard for me to take a vacation, but I force myself to do it.
I make it a priority to take trips to quiet locations once a year where I can spend several days not worrying about anything other than where to put my beach chair.
When I return, my productivity always increases significantly, my passion for the business is always greater, and my thinking & problem solving are much clearer.
Research confirms that in problem solving, although a solution may seem to suddenly present itself, it takes several "brain states," including rest, to arrive at that moment of insight.
4. Brainstorming with coworkers
Spend time with the team going over ideas to grow and improve the business; it may be just the spark everyone needs to keep moving forward.
However, don't confuse this with meditation or vacation time. When everyone has the chance to share ideas for improving and growing the company, there is a renewed sense of motivation and ownership of the business.
It's a great way for you (and your team) to recharge and get energy.
5. Chats with customers and other entrepreneurs
I am always inspired when I speak directly with our customers.
Our customers are also small business owners, so hearing their aspirations of building a business and their pain points of growing their business inspires me to push my team, and myself, harder to create a better product.
The feedback that we get from these calls is also a great way to gauge the effectiveness of our company. If you're a brick and mortar business, join the local chamber of commerce; if you're online-only, find a meetup in your area.
You can almost always get ideas and energy from socializing with people who have the same challenges and passions in life.
How do you recharge? Do you find it's really necessary for your business?