How do successful entrepreneurs have the energy to keep going day after day? Jeff Bezos told me his trick at an event in Los Angeles last year: Choose "work-life harmony" over "work-life balance." Balance, he explained, implies there's a strict trade-off when there doesn't have to be.
Balance would tell you to set work aside when you're at home. But if your home life is great and you can get some work done while the kids are sleeping, you'll be less stressed and can sleep better--which will make you a better boss or employee.
For Bezos (and me), it's not about allocating your hours and minutes. It's about having the positive energy to be enthusiastic and get it done. After some trial and error, here are eight tips I've found that keep me energized and focused at work and home:
1. Surround yourself with great people.
You can't do everything yourself. If you micromanage, you'll burn out quickly.
For a healthy life, surround yourself with a diverse group of smart and dependable people who work just as hard as you do. Good people will not only decrease your stress by helping you, they will increase your energy with their great ideas. Moreover, all the research shows the most successful people have great people around them.
At our company, we consistently hire people who work to create new ideas and who can get the work done.
2. Spend more time with people you love.
Good relationships are the basis of our happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that after following a group of men for 75 years, participants with high-quality close relationships were happier, healthier, and more successful.
These people decrease your stress and help provide all our memories for what makes us happy. This is why I always make time for family, who rejuvenate me and give my success at work meaning.
3. Try Hypnotherapy
I've used hypnotherapy to get into my subconscious and clean up patterns, habits and other issues. I listen to hypnotherapy MP3s to help focus my mind and keep me in the zone. You can find trial downloads on focused mediation/hypnotherapy on the Internet--I use CHUNKYBrain.com.
4. Block out time for work--and fun.
If you want to get the things you want (and need to do) in life, you need to block out time--just as if it's a business meeting. I use Siri to help set alarms and set calendar events to block off time for family, exercise, and work. I also use the dictation feature for emails and texts, saving me time and keeping my fingers from wandering into other apps.
5. Exercise 3-4 times a week.
I prioritize to taking care of my body. For my exercise, I prefer a varied routine. I use yoga for balance and mindfulness, go for hikes outdoors (the benefits of living in Southern California), and the gym. I figure if I can get myself to the front door of the gym, the rest is easy.
6. Eat clean and organic.
The treats we give ourselves can sometimes be our worst enemies. I was never a caffeine addict, but sugar was my go-to boost for a long time. I've recently cut out added sugars and coffee from my diet and my energy level plus focus have skyrocketed.
I found it easier to give up the bad foods when I replaced them with clean and organic foods I liked. I still go to the local burger place to get lunch, but now I get a lettuce wrap and a black bean burger patty with guacamole. Delicious. Oh, and two words: Raw Milk (trust me).
7. Stretch during work hours.
Stress builds up in your muscles during the day, and we weren't designed to sit in front of computers. In addition to having a standing desk to be more active, our office has a wood staff and a rolling pad for stretches. I do "life extension" stretches every ninety minutes.
Here's how: Stand up tall, lift your arms all the way up, pointing your index fingers to the ceiling with your thumbs pointing back to the back wall. Start with the I. With your arms straight up, count to 10, arch back, and imagine touching the back wall with your index fingers. Then do the same process four more times, taking the shape of a Y, T, L, and W.
8. Hire a professional coach.
Sometimes we can't see how we're holding ourselves back or we don't know how to overcome obstacles. A professional coach can help get you on the right track.
I've used coaches in the past to help with confidence, getting over rejection, being more professional, public speaking, sales, and dealing with employees. Find an amazing coach--the cost is negligible, and it's a major needle mover.