Thoughts About 2016: Dec. 7th: Resting for Startups

Countdown to the end of this year. 24 days left. This month I am writing posts reflecting on what has transpired and where I think I am headed and any advice or offers I can make for 2017. So today’s installment – Resting is often the best way to move forward. 

Taking care of yourself is important for everyone, but for entrepreneurs, your attention to this task is even more critical. The whole “you are your brand” stuff is really true. You are also your own manager, your own employee, your own admin assistant, your own designer… You get the idea. Think about how good bosses, really good ones, make employee care an important part of how they run a company or a team. Taking care of their people is what makes their company a great place to work, and great places to work attract great people and very often great success.

Prioritize resting and relaxation -- photo from Flickr by Christian Reimer
Prioritize resting and relaxation — photo from Flickr by Christian Reimer

Your new business or startup needs you to give your all. We all know it and we know that these kinds of endeavors are not for the faint-hearted. However, even in the rough and tumble, 24/7 life of a startup or small biz owner you need to take care of your number 1 asset. YOU. You need to prioritize resting, your heath and your happiness.

That means sometimes you have to sleep in late. You need to have good habits about drinking water, eating good food, exercise. For a small business owner, it seems like there is no time for these things. Something else always seems to be more important. The thing is if you take better care of yourself, rest, relax sometimes, do a few things just for fun, you can come at the work with a better attitude. You will get sick less, and recover faster when you do get sick. You will be less crabby with your loved ones. You will be a better boss (of yourself) and when your business grows you will know how to take care of your team too.

My advice, don’t buy 100% into the hype of the 80 hour work week entrepreneurs. These lessons are even more critical if you are not a 20 something. (I think it is important for them too, but they can get away with a bit more self-abuse since they are still made of kevlar.)

Self-care and resting help you avoid burnout -- photo cc from Flickr by Markus Grossalber
Self-care and resting help you avoid burnout — photo cc from Flickr by Markus Grossalber

How do prioritize resting and taking care of myself now?

  • I have a shut off time. When I finish for the day I try to really disconnect from work channels, notifications, emails and project software.
  • Eat well. I’m lucky here and I accomplish this with #myhusbandthechef As you can see on my Instagram. 
  • I sleep. Most of the time I get 8 hours. This sleep allocation was not always true but I try these days to sleep properly and I see the positive effects.
  • I go for walks with my dog. Every day for several shorter ones, and every other day I try to add a long 1 hour walk in the morning.
  • When I start to feel run down, I rest a bit and recharge. I am not good at taking whole days off but I do try to take time off when I can.
Goals for self-care in 2017 -- photo cc from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski
Goals for self-care in 2017 — photo cc from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski

What will I try to change in 2017?

  • Drink more water (I’ve always been bad at this).
  • More exercise.
  • More creative hobby and playtime.
  • Take days off.
  • Use apps and tools to track and analyze my progress on these things!
  • support and keep up with my friends doing cool things.

Even if I only incrementally add to these goals and make them habits, I will be taking positive steps in managing my one full-time employee– me! And I know that just like in a bigger company, taking care of my people is an investment in the future of my company.