This post was originally published on NOEW.org. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is an annual festival celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation in New Orleans.
We know how crazy life is as an entrepreneur. You’re constantly running, juggling, pitching. You’re playing all of the roles that come with owning a business. If you’re not actively working (which is most of the time), your mind is still racing. You’re never really “off” as an entrepreneur.But even you need time to rest, refocus, and re-engergize. And being an entrepreneur means you have to learn how to hack your time. Clearing headspace can help you work more efficiently.
At The Distillery, we’re all about hustling, but we believe that good health is a critical part of being successful.That’s why we put together some simple and straight forward ways to help you clear your mind, work more efficiently, and relieve a little bit of that startup stress.
- Meditate. Many of the world’s most successful founders and CEO’s swear by meditating. And there’s a reason why major corporations and Fortune 500 companies are investing in teaching meditation to their teams. It works. There are countless scientific studies on the mental health benefits of meditation. And the best part is there are tons of free tools out there to help you clear some head space. Check it out, test some different ones, and find something that works for you. When you do, start by beginning and ending your day with ten minutes of mediation. It will be hard at first. But like any exercise, it takes practice. Stick with it, and you’ll be sure to reap all the benefits. For starters, here are a few that we love: Headspace, Omvana, and Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day-guided meditations.
- Breathe More. We know this seems like an obvious one, but most of the time, we don’t realize how little we breathe as we hustle and bustle during the day. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. It’s the body’s natural way of ridding itself of harmful toxins. If you want to take it a step further, alternate nostril breathing is a great way to clear some headspace.
- Move It! Nietzsche said the best ideas are conceived while walking, and we agree. Walking is a great way to clear your head, energize, and re-focus. Try by taking a ten minute walk outside riiight around the time you feel that afternoon slump coming on. You know what we’re talking about–when your eyes and your head start to feel heavy and you’re struggling to stay awake at your desk. So next time you feel it coming on, get up and get moving. We find it helpful to put the time on your calendar and integrate it into your work day. Treat it as you would any other meeting time or task, and stay on track.
- Stand Up and Take Stretch Breaks. Running a company, you can easily clock between 80-100 hours a week. That means a lot of sitting at your computer hunched over for hours. That creates stress and discomfort for your shoulders and lower back, and also causes fatigue. You can fight that fatigue by simply standing up and stretching! Take two minutes to stand up and stretch every two hours. That’s it! Stand up, step away from your desk and stretch your arms, legs, shoulders. Try this for one full day and see how much better you feel at the end of your day.
- Practice Gratitude. Remember to practice gratitude. It can help make even the most stressful situations feel a little lighter. Try by taking one minute at the beginning of your day to think of one thing that you are grateful for. It could be something as simple as the morning cup of coffee that you love to start your day with. Or maybe it’s the meal that you enjoyed at dinner the night before. Or perhaps you are thankful for your significant other, or your stellar team. Whatever it may be that day, try this for seven days and take a moment to see how you feel by the end of day seven. If you want to take it a step further, jot down one thing you are grateful for as you begin your day.
- Dedicate Time to Disconnect. As an entrepreneur, you’re the seller, the marketer, accountant, social media, (the list goes on) and you’re constantly juggling different modes of communication. It can be overwhelming, but taking time to disconnect is a critical part of maintaining mental stamina. Find time during the day to disconnect, whether it’s during your morning coffee, lunch, or dinner. Dedicate fifteen minutes of your day to be “device-free”. Put your phone, laptop, tablet and all social media away. At first, this will be hard. But after a few tries, you may begin to look forward to that time. Create time in your day to disconnect and be fully present for yourself and those around you.