As an entrepreneur, you have to act despite the fear, be relentless, be a visionary, and a risk taker. If you're anything like me, then you'll bottle all of this up. As you may be familiar with, keeping everything inside will only bring about more stress.
Nevertheless, being an entrepreneur has become highly romanticized. When you log onto any social platform, you'll see people speaking on stage, talking about their best-selling books, selling out live events, backed by massive followings, and plenty of financial success. However, what you don't see is the everyday realities.
Starting a business isn't a walk-in-the-park and enduring those lean years will test the strongest of mettle. The trajectory to success is messy and far from being glamorous.
So much so, that often times, you'll crumble under these circumstances. And of course, when life gets chaotic, one of the first things that slide is your health which only makes burnout more probable.
But, those that continue to move forward despite the flurry of punches and kicks that entrepreneurship throws their way every day do so because they manage their energy. Here are three under-the-radar habits to manage your energy levels.
1. Protect your mind from information overload.
Information overload was first introduced by Alvin Toffler back in 1970 from his book Future Shock. In that book, he accurately predicted that the increasing amounts of information being produced at a rapid rate would eventually cause problems for the population.
Information overload (i.e. cognitive overload) is when you're dealing with more information that you're able to process to make sound and sensible decisions.
With a never-ending supply of information available, it's easy to get lost "learning and planning", but not making any substantial progress. When most people think of energy, it's solely from a physical perspective. But mental energy is most definitely, an expensive source of energy.
Besides digestion, your brain is next in line in terms of energy consumption. Overloading yourself with information leads to analysis from paralysis which leads to you questioning yourself (along with potential feelings of overwhelm).
To manage and conserve energy, use the information, don't let it use you. Structure your information and have a purpose to everything you consume and engage with.
2. Form a community that suits you.
Building a business can often times feel very lonely which in and of itself leads to feelings of lethargy. You may not have an office yet, so it'll be you and your thoughts a large majority of the time. Luckily, thanks to the internet, co-working spaces, and a host of other tools, connecting with an ideal group of people has never been easier.
Having a group (or an individual) to confide with when you miss a deadline, fall short of a sales goal, or any other difficult moment could easily make the difference between giving up or continuing forward to your inevitable breakthrough.
A couple of people that I have in my circle is the trusted mentor (or grizzled veteran as I call them) who I can talk to when I feel uncertain, overwhelmed, or lost in the process of growing the business. Also of importance, I have someone who can give me an unbiased opinion of when I'm teetering on the stages of burnout.
3. Make downtime non-negotiable.
When I first started out in business, I was told that entrepreneurship is essentially signing up for another relationship. Running and growing a business requires a huge commitment and without a solid infrastructure in place, you can easily feel as if you're continually drinking from a water hose.
In fact, most entrepreneurs (including myself) have a hard time "turning off" from the business. Nearly two-thirds of business owners, even when on vacation, checked in with their businesses at least once per day according to an OnDeck study.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this if that's part of your principles that you've set up. The issue becomes when you're checking your emails and taking calls begrudgingly when you're supposed to be experiencing moments of downtime.
Downtime and breaks are essential because we'll all hit a regression point and start to trend downward on the bell curve. Not acknowledging this leads to a decrease in mental performance (and energy) which can affect perception and judgment.
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