Wellbeing, especially for entrepreneurs, has been a hot topic throughout this year. With that in mind, we asked some business owners to share their tips for looking after yourself while you’re also managing all the trials and tribulations that come with running a business.
“Looking after yourself is very important,” Alexa Mullane, founder of Potion London, says. “Make sure you have a support network around you of friends, family, business mentors, other entrepreneurs etc. who you can talk things through with and seek advice from when you might not have the answers yourself.”
Lots of other entrepreneurs agreed that talking about the struggles is important. Matt Quin, founder of Flex, added: “Take a second and realise that you can't enjoy what you're trying to build if you're not around for it. Talk to other entrepreneurs about it. Open up to your co-founders/advisors or even me. We've lived it, we can help.”
Fiona Brennan, founder of Sonic Knits, thinks you ought to get rid of the huge to do list you’ve been carting around all week. “Seriously, if you have a list that's more than three items long then you are setting yourself up for failure. Spend the last 10 minutes of each day writing down the three things you need to achieve tomorrow. We all have a long list of things to get done but if you start with three on your list then you'll have achieved your goal every single day.”
Like many others, she also thinks it’s important to have set working times and places, and recommends turning off the phone and laptop at a set time each day. “Don't check it, don't look at it. In fact, hide it in a box so you cannot see it,” she says. “There is nothing so important that cannot wait until the following day. There is little you can do when tired and worried so it is better to have a peaceful sleep than a restless one.”
Ed Hollands, founder of DrivenMedia, agrees. “Have a specific place for work, if you’re based at home. This allows your brain to switch off and relax, which is essential to keep in good mental health.”
Philip Storey, founder and CEO of Enchant, advises entrepreneurs to create a routine in their days. “I think that routine can be found and it brings great benefits, such as a clearer mind and more stable days so that you can give your businesses the best of you,” he says. “I always get up one hour earlier than I need to. That hour is for meditation, exercise and at least 30 minutes to read about something new or think about a new business idea. It's my time, there's no email, calls or meetings - it's my time to give to me, before I go into my own company and start solving problems. I have the same routine at weekends. This is critical. And I don't mean that I get up and work seven days a week - I mean that I get up and go to sleep at the same time on weekends as I do weekdays. No blowouts. It sounds boring, but it's not at all.”
Rob Hill, founder of The Stag Company, advises leaving the laptop in the office and work emails switched off over the weekend. “It’s natural to want to check them and do some work on your time off, but this prevents you from recharging the batteries. It can sometimes be better to take a step back and relax, to prevent burnout.”
Hill also highlights the importance of physical exercise, advising entrepreneurs to “squeeze in some exercise where possible”. He explains: “Exercising helps to release endorphins and relieve stress. This is also why we offer a subsidised gym membership to all of our employees.”
Another key theme across many entrepreneurs’ advice was getting enough sleep. “Don’t underestimate the value of sleep,” Hill says. “Sleep is normally the first thing to suffer when working on your own business, however when fully rested you can achieve so much more in a short time span, so it is worth switching off an hour earlier in the evening.”
Hollands adds: “Running a business you need to be sharp, not sleeping is a sure fire way to make silly mistakes, the sooner you can fall asleep the better. 99 per cent, [the problem you’re thinking about] can wait, your sleep is more important.”
What are you tips for managing your wellbeing while also running a business? Let us know in the comments or on social media.