These things are non-negotiable, but they’re probably getting knocked to the bottom of your to-do list.
A healthy life is often viewed as a mere side-effect of success. But those who don’t take their health into account often rely on money to sustain them, and money by itself is simply not enough.
The right strategy for sustainable growth isn’t only about your business. It’s about you. Investing in your health is not just imperative for your life, it’s good for your business. When you take the time to replenish, refuel, and re-center yourself, you gain energy and focus, you increase creativity, and you protect against burnout.
It’s not easy to make room on your to-do list for these three vital things, and they’re often the first to go when things get crazy busy (read: every single day in the life of an entrepreneur). Are you taking care of these essentials?
1. Make time for fun.
Laugh! It’s said that children laugh about three hundred times a day. The average adult? Five times a day. We get sucked into our work, and we forget to play. And to miss out on play in your life is to cut out an incredibly valuable means of developing and strengthening creative thinking.
One of the best things I ever did for my professional career was to take a class in stand-up comedy. My routine was, shall we say, a little risque, so I ultimately had to censor myself, but it helped teach me to think on my feet, to re-think potential problems creatively, and to connect with a wide audience. The ability to make a joke out of a universal experience helps to create intuitive connections and bridge differences.
I am constantly looking for lighthearted ways to frame finance in real-world terms that people actually relate to. While I find the financial markets absolutely fascinating, I am told that many find them anywhere from dull to daunting. My ultimate goal is to inspire people to take charge of their financial lives: handling people’s hard-earned money is no joke, but infusing humor at times helps me show that finance, while serious, doesn’t have to be boring or scary.
Entrepreneurs need laughter more than anyone else. It’s called the best medicine for a reason: laughter releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good hormones, and in the stressful life of an entrepreneur, endorphins can be in short supply.
2. Invest in your health.
Sleep, sex, and exercise: You may not have time for all three every day, but do two of them. When you invest in your health, you reap long-term rewards. All three activities make you sharper, give you more your energy and boost your mood. It’s a triple-threat cocktail that not only makes you happier, but yields real return in terms of your ability to work more efficiently and effectively.
Every night I share my bedroom with another gal (that would be my pup Magic). I’ve learned a lot by watching her sleep: At a certain time every night, she walks to her bed, curls up, and promptly passes out. This routine doesn’t waver, even if I have yet to take her out for her last walk of the day. We can all learn a lesson here: certain activities, for the sake of your health, cannot be skipped.
3. Break to be better.
It’s when you step away from your work and do something completely different–even a totally mundane chore–that the most brilliant ideas often emerge. Your subconscious can surprise you, but if you don’t make time to disengage and allow for some downtime, you aren’t allowing your inner creative genius the chance to thrive.
As my team can attest from the strange time stamps on my emails, my inspiration comes at all hours and frequently stems from the most esoteric of events. One recent brainstorm for my upcoming book was sparked by a conversation I had at a cocktail party on the Lower East Side. I was laughing over some popcorn and beers when an a-ha moment struck.
I know, I know: an entrepreneur’s workday never ends. But you owe it to yourself, and your business, to schedule a fun evening with friends or at least a brisk walk that gets you out of the office for a bit. Whether you email yourself, carry a recorder with you, or prefer good old-fashioned notepad and pen, be sure that you’re ready to take advantage of the inspiration that flows once you take that much-needed break.
Allocate your most precious resource, your time, with a mind to nurturing and protecting your well-being. When you do, you unleash your full potential to thrive as a creative thinker, innovator, and leader.