On a regular day, I spend almost 18 hours working. Yes, I spend that much time seated in front of my computer every work day. That’s how I’m able to work on 15-20 projects simultaneously. Call me crazy. I’d agree with you too!
The life of an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park. Not if you want to grow your business and serve more clients. The danger is that you get so focused with your work and your clients that you forget the one thing that you have to rely on – yourself! I experienced this myself last year. At the last quarter of 2015 I had so many health issues that my doctor told me I was a hair’s breath from death. My body was telling me to pay attention to it. It was practically screaming!
I had forgotten to take care of my health. I was sleeping for only 4 hours a day, max. There were times when my vision would darken during the day, and I would just lie down for a few minutes and resume working again. I was always on the verge of collapse. And I was gaining so much weight, I had to keep buying a new wardrobe every few months. I would get depressed when I looked in the mirror and saw someone I barely recognized. And so, yes, my productivity also fell. I wasn’t serving my clients as efficiently as I wanted to, and I had to cut back drastically on projects. Earlier this year, I had to undergo major surgery, which also prevented me from working for a while.
All those months of prioritizing work over my own health backfired big time.
You have to take your health and wellness seriously. Just as you want to stay on top of things in your business, you need to do that to your health too. At least that’s what I learned from my scary ordeal in the previous months, something I never want to go through again.
Here are steps I’ve been taking to remedy this:
- Taking time to unplug and relax. This is probably the hardest part, as I’m glued to my computer and my phone. My husband always reminds me to switch off my phone at night. My kids are good at reminding me too, and I certainly don’t want to be a bad example to them. Weekends are sacrosanct. I never do any work on weekends – it gives me time to relax and do fun things. I paint, we go out as a family, we watch movies, or go shopping. Shopping makes me happy.
- Getting more sleep. I know, 6 hours still isn’t enough, but it’s an improvement over last year’s 4. I’ll start sleeping longer when I’ve gotten on top of my backlog. Almost there. Also, never underestimate the power of a good nap. It’s like jumpstarting the batteries in your brain.
- Exercise. That dreaded word! hahaha! (Kidding. I used to be a gym rat. I love the feeling after a good workout!) After my surgery, I had to take it easy for a couple of months, but as soon as I got the go signal from my doctor, I started lifting light weights a few minutes a day, and doing brisk walking as much as I can. It’s important to get into the habit, and as entrepreneurs, we are experts at productive habits, aren’t we? If you already have a regular exercise routine, then you will know how much energy you actually gain each day that you work out. And that makes you more productive. Win-win!
- Eating mindfully. Yes, planning meals and cutting back on calories and portions goes with the territory. What was it they said? “You can’t exercise out a bad diet.” So, I make sure I get enough green leafies every day, a balanced diet not filled with junk food, and a treat or two every weekend in case I’m feeling deprived. The fringe benefit to eating more greens? My skin has never looked better! Yay!
- Prayer time is an essential part of my day, and takes care of my mental and spiritual health. I lift up all my concerns to the Lord, and trust in His will for my life. I pray for my husband, my kids, my family, even my clients and their businesses. I pray that everything I do, every project I finish, will glorify Him. It’s such a lovely feeling, putting God in control.
There are very few things more important in your life than your health. Your family, your career, your passions, all of those will suffer if you don’t make your health a priority. I learned that the hard way.
How about you? What are you doing to take care of your health? Are you making yourself a priority?