Chris Burres, owner of SES Research Inc. One of my great joys is supporting entrepreneurs with my products.
It’s no secret that entrepreneurship in the startup field comes with a lot of uncertainty and stress. Researchers of Harvard Business Review interviewed 65 entrepreneurs and discovered that stress and anxiety (subscription required) had both motivating and inhibiting effects. For example, fears related to financial stress encouraged more perseverance, while fear of failure related to predisposition had an inhibitory effect.
Researchers have devised a model to distinguish between good and bad forms of stress, known as the Challenge-annoyance stress model. Using this framework, we discover that ‘challenge stressors’, such as self-imposed deadlines or giving a presentation, correlate with higher productivity levels. On the other hand, ‘impeding stressors’, such as burnout or conflict, tend to correlate with lower productivity and emotional well-being.
However, stress is not the only negative characteristic of entrepreneurship, as depression and other psychological problems are very common. According to a study, 49% of entrepreneurs reported having mental health problems, with higher rates of depression, ADHD, substance use, and bipolar disorder than the general population.
It is clear that there is no single solution to promote better mental well-being. However, by eliminating nuisance stressors, prioritizing physical health, and cultivating a positive work-life balance, entrepreneurs can improve their emotional well-being and perform better in their roles.
Prioritize physical health
Stress at work can have many negative effects on the body. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your physical health and relieve stress naturally, even at work. Diet can affect our mental and physical health, so be sure to bring healthy meals and snacks to work to avoid falling into bad habits. Also, as cliché as the fitness-obsessed entrepreneur has become, there is a lot of research to support the mental and physical benefits of exercise. Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise helps improve memoryand walking can help you overcome your writer’s block and stimulate creativity. Consider taking short walks during your breaks during the day, having “walking meetings” and going to the gym before work to give you better focus and mental clarity.
Learn to manage your time
Time management is an effective business hack to help you stay more productive and motivated to work towards set goals. Setting deadlines for tasks promotes challenge stressors that force you to work harder to meet expectations.
In addition, budgeting your time allows you to make time for important things in your life, such as quality time alone, exercising, and spending time with family or friends.
Here are some tips to help you spend your time better:
• Plan your schedule a week in advance. This allows you to manage your time accordingly and say no to unexpected meetings or things that don’t fit into your schedule.
• Delegate tasks. There’s nothing more tedious than micromanaging your business, so learn how to delegate small tasks to employees. This tip will save you time and help employees feel engaged.
• Plan around productivity. Research shows that most people’s bodies release cortisol in the morning, making us feel more alert. So skip your most difficult tasks early in the day and schedule mindless administrative tasks if you’re feeling more tired or burned out.
• Stick to a schedule: By following a regular sleep, exercise, and work schedule, you can focus on those tasks and make the most of them.
Surround yourself with the right people
We often hear entrepreneurs brag about surrounding themselves with people who are smarter than them to help them scale their business. But what about when you surround yourself with people you can trust, empathize with, and support you when you need their help most?
Surround yourself with people who fit your work and personal life. I remember reading in the book rich father poor father that the people you spend the most time with determine who you become. So ditch people who cause you unnecessary stress and start building a support network that motivates you to stick to your vision as a founder.
Prioritize work-life balance
Finally, if you want to improve your well-being as an entrepreneur, you need to consciously improve your work-life balance. Whether it’s making more time for family or taking up a hobby that enriches your free time, look for ways to offset the stress of being an entrepreneur and make your life outside of work more fulfilling.
There is no single hack to improve your well-being. But by taking a holistic approach to health and wellness, you will improve your wellbeing and productivity as an entrepreneur.