As a business coach, I have helped thousands of entrepreneurs over the last twenty five years grow and scale their businesses. I have personally spoken to thousands of business owners across all industries and while many of their challenges are unique to their line of business, the majority of them struggle with anxiety, stress and finding time for self care.
I recently struggled with my own health challenges and I was having issues with my energy level and suffering from headaches. So I started my own line of inquiry. I started reading books and publications to help me try to solve my challenges. Turns out that the long hours I spent each day on my computer writing articles and books was causing me headaches and dampened energy. Based on an idea I picked up from Dave Asprey's bestseller, Head Strong, I fixed this issue with the simple fix of wearing blue light blocking reading glasses when I was on my computer.
This experience of a simple hack to improve how I physically felt prompted me to start asking high energy and successful business leaders for their "secrets" to greater energy and health which lead me to Daina Trout, the co-founder of Health-ade kombucha. She shared with her four top tips for staying healthy as a C-level executive.
1. Break a Sweat
If your schedule is crazy and you are traveling a lot, this is can be difficult to achieve. But whenever possible, try to do some physical activity each and every day - it's game changing.
Most of Daina's "healthy" C-suite friends end up working out before the rest of the household is even up. (Think five in the morning.) The C-suite life is extremely stressful and can quickly turn your brain into mush--the antidote to that is getting your physical body moving and getting fresh blood to your brain.
For me, I do most of my phone calls with a wireless headset while pacing around my office; I take notes and do light work at my standing desk; and I make sure that I get up and move a few times every hour.
2. Set Boundaries
We talk about this a lot here at Maui Mastermind. There is always a never ending to-do list of tasks and projects, and it's up to you to set hard boundaries on how much you will or won't work. I have a hard stop at working forty hours a week.
This has made me a better business person, as it pushed me to think about my limited inventory of time like a NASA astronaut-- as a precious consumable that I have to optimize to complete my mission.
When I approached time this way it became much easier to set firm boundaries about things I was no longer willing to do (e.g. low value email, taking calls without knowing clearly what the other party wanted to talk with me about, etc.) It also pushed me to prioritize my highest value activities early in the day when I was at my best, investing my best focus time on the things that made the biggest difference to my company. The other lower value items got my remnant time (or were simply left undone.)
3. Take a Break In the Middle Of the Day
As an executive, your brain is constantly "on." And after a long day of mind consuming tasks, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and exhausted. But you can't do a good job at anything if you're violating a very important fact of life--your brain needs a break.
So Daina makes it a point to have a break every day: a non-negotiable 30 min lunch every day, 1 hour of daily blocked time for emails, and one 2 hour block in the middle of the week that cannot be reserved in advance, available only for urgent/last-minute discussions that need to happen week of (think of it like walk-ins at a restaurant). She uses her executive assistant as a bodyguard to make sure that this time is protected.
4. Take Care Of Yourself Physically
This is the most known and annoying advice, but there is a kernel of truth here. Not eating lunch until 3pm, sleeping 5 hours a night and drinking a few glasses of wine before bed are a sure way to make you less than a hundred percent at your job.
You already know what's good for you, so it's just a matter of doing it.