As an entrepreneur, you invest a great deal of yourself into your business. That's why it's important to continually learn and grow, even when you're off the clock.
Putting in the effort to grow yourself and your business can reap huge benefits for both, so it's important to make time for these types of activities in your schedule. We asked eight successful entrepreneurs what they do in their down time for personal and professional development. Here's what they recommend doing and why.
1. Physical activity
A healthy business starts with a healthy leader -- and that means both mentally and physically. Jinny Hyojin Oh, founder of WANDR, recommends making time for physical activity as a regular part of your work week.
"I enjoy surfing when I can, not just for the great workout, but because it allows me to clear my mind," Oh says. "Some of the best ideas that got implemented in my business have come to me while paddling out to the waters."
Many entrepreneurs recommend keeping a journal to reflect on daily thoughts and focus on the "big picture." As Richard Fong, founder and CEO of Bliss Drive, puts it, founders tend to run all over the place, doing a million things at once, which can often create tunnel vision.
"One of the most powerful methods for keeping your eyes on the big picture is through journaling," Fong says. "Revisit your weeks in a journal. Review your previous entries. Grow the masterplan and the ways to get there."
3. Spending time with other entrepreneurs
Networking with others, especially fellow entrepreneurs, is the key to staying inspired in your business. Andy Karuza, CEO of FenSens, says he spends time with other founders socially, since they're all interested in building and growing companies.
"It's common to want to hang out with people that you share similar interests with," Karuza adds. "It just so happens that entrepreneurs have a lot of great relevant insights, ideas and just plain fun stories to share."
4. Solo travel
Many professionals find that breaking the routine and traveling to new places helps spark creativity and innovation. Daisy Jing, founder of Banish, recommends solo trips for this very reason.
"It's nice to stay in your hotel room for an entire day while traveling because there is nowhere you need to be, no errands to run -- just relax and recharge!" says Jing. "Just pause and rest, clear your head. I am most energized and recharged when I am alone in a hotel room, away from all the distractions. Then, creativity and ideas come in."
5. Pursuing outside hobbies
Rana Gujral, CEO of Behavioral Signals, believes that being a well-rounded person with interests outside of your business makes you a better entrepreneur.
"I have found that having a hobby that has no relation to what I do professionally has helped me grow tremendously," explains Gujral. "It gives me an outlet to be passionate about, to meet new people and give my brain a rest from the daily grind."
6. Continual learning
A good entrepreneur knows they are never done learning, and Jared Weitz, CEO of United Capital Source Inc., recommends pursuing knowledge in any way you can.
"Make sure you are staying present in the industry and what your competition is doing," Weitz says. "Listen to podcasts, read books and subscribe to blogs and articles that cover your area of expertise. The more you know, the more you can do."
7. Connecting with friends and family
When you have a healthy mindset, you're better at your job, says Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights -- and what better way to improve your mindset than by spending time with the people who care about you?
"Spending time with loved ones is a great way to recharge and refocus for the upcoming workweek so you don't feel lethargic, overwhelmed or overworked," Christoff adds.
8. Self-care activities
Chelsea Rivera, co-founder of Honest Paws, acknowledges that learning is essential to self-development. However, one thing that is also vital -- and often not talked about -- is rest and relaxation.
"It is important to practice good self-care so as to not burn out," Rivera says. "You'll be surprised at how simply spending some time with your own thoughts, without any 'noise,' can spark creativity and innovation."