Archives For Life

One of the most formidable foes an entrepreneur will face is fatigue. It can sneak up on you, and when it does, it can pull you down for long, long periods of time.

Earlier this week we discussed the importance of building in breaks to our daily, weekly, and monthly routines to keep our rhythm fresh and fatigue-free.

Now we’re going to tackle the practical side: the impact that our lifestyle choices can have on our energy and motivation levels!

Regular Exercise

The importance of getting regular exercise may seem like a no-brainer, but how many of us actually work out regularly? Working out has been one of the lifesavers in my battle against fatigue. It’s become a key non-negotiable. It must happen!

Working out clears mental clutter, gets out aggression, and oxygenates your brain. It also spikes endorphins which, generally speaking, makes you feel better throughout the day.

As goes the body, so goes the mind. Exercise will keep you on point mentally which will lead to overall rejuvenation.

Nutrition

I’m still learning how huge this component is. Up until 2 years ago, I didn’t give much thought at all to what I put in my body.

I’ve always had a pretty mean sweet tooth and would just cram as much junk as I could into my daily diet. And until I turned 30 there were no physical ramifications; my metabolism let me eat what I wanted to.

But as I get older, I know it’s important to eat better not only for metabolic reasons, but it also contributes to my overall energy levels. What you put in is what you get out. The food that you eat will contribute to your energy levels, which has a direct relationship with fatigue.

Cutting down significantly on carbs and sweets and upping my intake of protein, fruits, and veggies has become my regimen. In essence, clean eating! The importance of nutrition cannot be overstated.

Fighting the fatigue with diet can be as simple as having protein (nuts, sunflower seeds) in the afternoon instead of a sugary snack or coffee in the afternoon. Protein will keep those energy levels going instead of something sugary that will make you crash!

Talk It Out

Some of you may scoff at this, but talking about what you are feeling is one of the quickest ways to fight mental fatigue. Truthfully, not talking it through will add the weight of nobody knowing what you are going through. That is a heavy burden to bear.

By having mentors that I can talk to and say “Man, this is what I’m feeling – burnt out, frustrated, like I can’t push – you have been doing this longer, what did you do when you felt like this?” Even if the answer is something like “keep pushing,” it helps me greatly to know that somebody else knows what I am going through and has made it to the other side.

My mentors have been invaluable to me in helping me shape my thinking around fatigue. That there’s this thought that as entrepreneurs we’re supposed to be invincible; we never get sick or tired or frustrated or lonely. The reality is that isn’t true. Having people you can talk to who have experienced it and know the steps you need to take to push through is key to fighting fatigue.

Final Push

The fatigue is almost always mental. Very few of us work in jobs where there is a physical fatigue. Most people in 2015 have a job surrounding a desk and computers – that leads to mental fatigue. It’s pointless to try and push through fatigue; it’s like beating a dead horse.

Your mind is already fatigued – the horse is already dead – there’s no sense in pushing forward. You might actually do further damage if you don’t take time to recharge!

There’s a dangerous notion of “the hustle” and there are certain times and places for you to push. But if you pull a muscle when you’re working out, sometimes you can push through, but sometimes you need to rest and recuperate.

The difference in terms of longevity is to know the difference between discomfort and injury. You can push through discomfort. If you try to push through injury you will only make the situation worse. That is true of our muscles and of our mental capacity.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely battle. I want you in this for the long haul. I need you guys to take care of yourselves so that we can change the world together!

 

Lately I have really been feeling like I’m going through the grind. I’m not sure if it’s partially due to spring fever or if it’s a result of pushing super hard these last 18 months. I honestly can’t pinpoint the cause, but one thing is certain. I am feeling fatigued.

Additionally, when I look at the scope of our business I see some challenges that are up ahead (not insurmountable, but existing). I’m guessing that has also contributed to a little fatigue.

Now, fatigue isn’t abnormal. Everyone experiences this, sometimes even multiple times a year! It doesn’t matter who you are; when you work, you get tired.

I’m in one of these seasons now. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. That is why I needed to write this post. To help you guys as you fight fatigue and to remind myself how to get around it!

Things You Can Do to Fight the Fatigue

There are a lot of solutions to the inevitable problem of fatigue. All of them require a lifestyle shift, but it’s well worth your time to read and see what small changes you can make to stay energized!

Some are schedule oriented, while others branch out into physical, mental, and emotional health habits.This post will focus on some scheduling and work lifestyle suggestions that you can put into practice to help manage fatigue.

Fit Breaks into Your Rhythm

You need to incorporate daily, weekly, and monthly breaks into your routines. You simply have got to schedule in regular periods of rest in order to recharge! I am still new to this practice, but I am seeing the benefits of fitting breaks in on daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms.

Daily

There is a set time throughout the day where I will disconnect and just go take a walk. In Des Moines, the skywalks are a great place to unplug and free my mind to get the space I need to stay on top of my game.

I have found that simply not being “on” is a great way to recharge. It usually looks like taking an hour lunch with a quick walk before I eat. I’ll read the paper while eating to stay unplugged, and then another quick walk afterwards.

This daily routine is a defined time to unplug and let my brain recuperate.

Weekly

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You need a regular time throughout the course of the week where you are free from the responsibilities of work.

Although it may not feel like it, we are more than our jobs. There are relationships that we need to tend to and invest in, and that includes the relationship within ourselves! We need to rejuvenate and strengthen bonds with ourselves and with others.

Part of the fatigue entrepreneurs feel comes from getting disconnected. In the name of busyness, we get disconnected from our friends, our family, our life force. When that happens the battery drains.

Taking at least one day fully off and unplugged each week to invest in your relationships will have a massive return on investment in your relationships and your energy levels.

Monthly

I set aside the first Tuesday of every month for nothing but visioning. This is where I can be free from the minutiae of everyday operations and really focus on growing the capacities of our business. It’s rejuvenating and refreshing. I’m not in my inbox, or thinking about logistics.

The whole day is blocked off to vision, plan, and think big without having to worry about details. Knowing I have this day helps me push through the slower days, not to mention the lucrative ideas that come from those visioning days!

You’re Not Alone

If you’re feeling the fatigue, take some time daily, weekly, and monthly to step away from the grind and recharge. It is essential to maintain momentum and to fight the inevitable fatigue.

Come back Thursday for Part 2 of the post where I’ll go into the physical and emotional sides of pushing around periods of fatigue.

I’ve never been particularly handy. I have a little toolbox at home, probably the size of a shoebox. If I can’t fix it with the tools in that kit, I hire someone to do it.

Part of it is I simply don’t like doing that stuff. I don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t bring me that sense of satisfaction that others find in it.

There’s another part of me that realizes how much I enjoy commerce. I like helping other people build their businesses. That is where I get a sense of satisfaction and pride!

The Ultimate Win-Win

My lack of do-it-myself-ness is not so much that I’m lazy. It’s that I know how hard it is to build a business. When people provide a product or service better than what I can do, I’m happy to pay them to do it.

Paying for a service guarantees that I get that product or service faster and at a better quality than anything that I could ever provide. And again, I truly like helping people grow their businesses. It is a win-win.

Places Where I Won’t DIY

House cleaning

In the US, having someone clean your house is hit or miss. Both in terms of it being socially acceptable and in terms of finding a person who truly views it as a vocation.

When you go to other parts of the world, many countries have a cleaning person or a maid as a normal thing. In those countries, people have a cleaning person who knows them and their family. They provide a service that when you walk into your home afterwards, the whole house feels lighter and brighter.

That illustrates my view that there is a difference between someone who cleans houses and a house-cleaner. A house-cleaner gets joy and satisfaction in making someone’s home clean and spotless. They take pride in that. When they can provide that stellar service and make you feel like you want to be home and are proud to be there – that’s the win-win of paying for a service that many DIY.

Snowblower and Lawnmower

I take both of these essentials and get them serviced every season at a local equipment repair service center. I do this because I realized the value of having quality yard care equipment.

The other part of it is allowing the small engine repair shop to maintain their sense of pride and their true area of expertise. I just go in and say: “I don’t know if anything is wrong, I just want it checked up on.” I know this business and it is clear that they take immense pride in making sure those machines are running at their smoothest.

On top of that, I’m more than satisfied in the quality of the products I own staying top-notch. For a very small transaction fee, they win and I win.

House Painting

My business when I was in high school and college was painting houses. I’ve never hired anyone to do any sort of painting! We’re gearing up to do that for the first time ever and it will be a substantial amount of money.

I’m realizing that to do the type of painting that we want to do in our house, it would be about 64 hours worth of my time. That’s a lot of time. A working week and a half! So, I’m not going to do it. Bringing a house painter in will save me time, energy, and steps.

What do I mean by steps? One of my goals for this quarter is to make my house more inviting. Part of that includes a fresh coat of paint.

By hiring a business I will still get the outcome that I want without having to invest the time – which is way more valuable than money. Two years ago, I would’ve said I could do just as good as a job. But now, I can recognize that they will do better. Plus, if I apply even a tenth of that time I would have spent painting to another project I can easily make that money back.

DIY or Keep it Capitalist?

There are a lot of products and services in this world that we could make for ourselves. However, there are also a lot of remarkable people who can do those things for us. They provide a value that transcends the relatively few dollars that we spend on these things. By refusing to do it myself, I can get a top-quality product or service AND support the commerce cycle that I love so much.