Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos is the first person in the world with a net worth surpassing $150 billion in the three decades since Forbes Magazine has tracked the richest Americans.
The struggling small business owners across the globe can only imagine the hours he must work to accomplish such a feat.
So it came as a bit of surprise when Bezos casually admitted that he must have eight hours of sleep every night. He does not wish to wake up to an alarm clock, never schedules a meeting before 10 a.m. if he can help it, and generally stops making business calls by 5 p.m. each day.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, felt so strongly that people needed to take better care of themselves and get sufficient sleep at night that she penned a well-researched book called The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
If titans of the business world like these are extolling the virtues of taking care of yourself in a world that tends to dismiss regular sleep, nutrition and exercise as time wasted when you should be working, it is a sign of a work/life revolution.
In fact, Huffington quotes one scientific study after another to prove that lack of personal care and sleep can actually compromise our ability to make good decisions and undermine our work goals. Worse still, failure to look after your health can cut short your years of productive work by increasing your susceptibility to serious illness issues.
It is enough to make you ask yourself if you are taking sufficient steps to give yourself the care that you need. In the midst of growing your business and contributing to your family and community, where is the “me” time?
Here are three steps you can take now that will help you focus more effectively on your business.
Initiate change by starting with a good morning ritual
If your day starts with chaos, that is a good place to initiate change. A peaceful morning ritual of nutrition and a small amount of time to set up your day is vital before you race to tackle the killer list of meetings and tasks that fill the next many hours.
If you have control of your own schedule, make a genuine effort not to overload the first couple of hours. Instead, if you can work quietly when your brain is at peak production, you may accomplish more than later in the afternoon when fatigue starts to set in.
In other words, 11 a.m. is just as good a time to meet as 9 a.m. if you are calling the shots. It also gives you sufficient time to research your subject and organize what you want to accomplish.
With technology no further than your purse or pocket, there is no break from the rounds of emails, queries and demands, but you can build a habit that your clients accept of checking your emails at specific times of the day (8:30, 10:30, 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 for example) and responding to them promptly.
(Personal Note: Several years ago I began checking my own email just 3 times per day – first in the morning, then around lunch time and at the end of the day – I found that this small step in taking more control of my own schedule had an incredible effect on my productivity as well as my focus for the day. Give it a try. 🙂 )
Get some “green exercise” every day
Even five minutes of walking or running or playing a sport in the outdoors can boost your brain power and help keep you mentally healthy.
According to research conducted as part of the American Chemical Society’s Global Challenges podcast, any physical activity in a natural area boosts your mood and self-esteem.
If your business is located near a park or garden, make a point of taking a 10 minute break in the middle of a busy afternoon and quickly restore yourself.
Exercise is not just for your body; your brain benefits too
If you want to make better decisions, plan more strategically and balance multiple projects more effectively, exercise more.
Not only does it heighten heart and bone health, but it increases the growth of brain cells and improves your brain function, according to research reviewed by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Dr. Terry Ekmann, a researcher involved with the project, referred to exercise as being “like Miracle-Gro for the brain.” Exercise helps grow new neurons in the hippocampus and assists in our ability to transmit information across the synapses of neurons.
The research showed that people who exercise regularly also have an improved ability to focus.
Don’t forget to find the humor in your business day
Business is serious, but it might be deadly serious if you can’t take a minute to have a little chuckle or even a belly-laugh about a turn of events or circumstances that happen in the course of your business day.
Having a laugh is actually a complicated brain activity that impacts your health positively.
In studies led by Dr. Lee S. Berk of Loma Linda University’s Schools of Allied Health and Medicine and Dr. Stanley Tan, researchers showed that laughter actually causes your body to respond in ways similar to doing physical exercise.
This form of healthful activity enhances your mood, decreases your stress and even enhances your immune system and lowers bad cholesterol and heightens good cholesterol.
Determine what works for you
Working on growing your business can be satisfying and invigorating, but it needs to be balanced in ways that help your body and brain get restored as well.
You need to have a lot of energy and focus to be a successful entrepreneur, but working exclusively without any play is not what the doctor ordered.
Find your own rituals and routines, explore things like mindfulness and meditation, music and laughter, mix it up with a healthy amount of exercise, and you will be surprised at how much more you can accomplish each day.
And at the end of it all, don’t neglect to get a good night’s sleep.
If you would like to learn more strategies for getting back more time for yourself, finding more balance in your life, while improving your overall productivity then you might want to check out my free course here – Getting Back Your Time.
Thank you for reading this post. Until next time take good care.
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