Being a successful entrepreneur is a time-consuming job, but everyone knows the importance of striking a healthy work-life balance. Not every activity outside of the office needs to be work-related to have a profoundly positive effect on job performance, either.
These seven entrepreneurs discuss the hobbies they enjoy outside of work, and how these extracurriculars have helped them be better at what they do when they're on the clock.
It's no secret that exercise has been proven extremely valuable to both physical and mental well-being, but it can be hard for busy entrepreneurs to make the time. "Exercise is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health and often gets ignored," notes Solomon Thimothy, co-founder of marketing agency OneIMS.
"It's a great way to keep a flowing schedule, build muscle and relieve stress. Relieving stress through exercise has helped me become a happier person, inside and outside of work, and has increased my passion to accomplish career and personal goals," he adds.
Mark Krassner, founder and CEO of pregnancy meditation company Expectful, extols the virtues of making time for a calmer, clearer mind. "Meditation is a practice that I started four years ago and it has entirely transformed my life," he says.
"I grew up struggling with ADHD, which made academics challenging. Meditation helped me feel more calm, focused and energized. Starting my morning by meditating helps me carry these feelings through the day and can be especially powerful to prepare for important meetings."
Stay in touch with people.
"It's easy to put your nose down and build your company. It's equally important to take time away from your business to refresh," says Darrah Brustein, founder of networking event specialist Network Under 40. Making time for people you care about -- and those you don't see in the office every day -- is crucial to building and maintaining relationships.
Brustein adds: "My favorite hobby is spending time with people in my network, friends or otherwise. If you're attracting people who give you energy, you'll walk away feeling alive and deepen ties that can open important trust-based doors for you."
Krish Chopra, founder of nurse practitioner placement service Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations, emphasizes the importance of getting a change of scenery. "I love running my own business, and I love entrepreneurship, but it's a bubble. If you stay in it for too long, you lose perspective," he says.
"Traveling and connecting with new folks outside of entrepreneurship has been the most rewarding experience for me in 2017. It lets me forget about my obligations and be a normal, goofy oddball."
"As entrepreneurs, we all created something out of nothing and none of us did it alone," notes Zev Herman, sales manager at online retailer Superior Lighting. Taking on a mentorship role allows you to pass it forward and help the next generations of leaders grow.
"We owe it to our communities to help other people influence the places we live and work in positive ways," adds Herman. "It's in our power to give to others what was not given to us. That's why I think mentoring is something every entrepreneur should do."
Mentoring isn't the only way business leaders can give back. "Volunteering is the best thing an entrepreneur can do outside of work," says Abhilash Patel, co-founder of addiction treatment resource Recovery Brands.
"Whether you put in some hours at a food bank or guest lecture at a school, getting out of your daily routine to help those in need is always beneficial. It helps me communicate with people from all walks of life and keeps me grounded in all situations I come across."
Justin Blanchard, CMO of data storage solution ServerMania Inc., recommends a simple way to get away from the stress of business and everyday life. "Most entrepreneurs read, but they often stick to a narrow range of business, management and self-help books," he notes.
"I used to be the same, but many years ago a mentor suggested that I read literary fiction. Fiction helps readers develop empathy and an understanding of how others think: an invaluable skill for anyone who manages people," he says.