Many of the fastest animals out there, like Cheetahs, are trying to spend the least amount of energy as possible while they are not in hunting mode. After a hunting sprint burnt a lot of their calories and consumed most of their energy, they take a break to recover their strength and energy.
Humans, and especially entrepreneurs, can learn from animals like that. Instead of trying to work 12-16 hours per day, you might want to save up your energy for sprints that really matter. Remember: Being successful and being super busy are two different aspects of your entrepreneurial journey.
Being super busy all the time actually can create emotional distress which can lead to difficulties regarding focus and concentration. It can also cause different health related issues like irritability and sleeping issues.
Why we feel the need to be busy
We live in times in which founders, CEOs, but also many other performance-oriented people like coaches of sports teams, seem to hate anything that suggests self-satisfaction. It’s always expected to achieve more, to constantly improve, never stop hustling, trying as hard as we can, always.
Often unknowingly, we mark the value of team members on the basis of the working hours they put in. Most organizations even reward their people on the evaluation criteria of being busy and working insane hours. Also, there are many entrepreneurial ‘role models’ out there preaching to hustle as hard as you can (popular example: Gary Vaynerchuk – the Chuck Norris of entrepreneurship).
But being busy all the time and having an impact on people and your work results are two different things. Sure, no one can deny the impact of time and effort if you want to get things done. But you can’t and shouldn’t ‘remain busy’ all the time. It’s not productive and not healthy.
Allow yourself to take some breaks
Being busy all the time can take away some important hours from you which could be used to think, play, explore, make friends and take a rest. But there is a simple way to take back your time: “Do less”.
Putting in fewer working hours will also make you more creative and productive in the long run. But getting rest and working less is easier said than done. The best idea here is probably to start small. You can do this by analysing your working schedule and by planning in short breaks throughout the day. Getting a little nap once during your workday can entirely boost up your energy to do quality work. It might even boost your mood, motivation, productivity and creativity.
Great founders and innovators usually take some time off from their busy life (at least once in a while) to think reflect on work and life. Bill Gates for example, even while still leading Microsoft, he regularly took off time and spent several days or weeks off work just reading and thinking.
Even as founder of a company you should always try to keep at least some sort of distance between work and personal life. Also plan in some time to spend with family and friends. In the long run, this will be also healthier for your business.
Taking rest does not have to mean just laying down on the couch and watch Netflix, but it could entail having a nice walk and go for a bike ride or any other physical activity. A workout, or a long hike clears your mind and helps you calm down. It gives your subconscious mind opportunity to think through problems.
Digital detox helps you relax
Chances are high, that as most of us these days you’re on your smartphone too much. It’s stressful, distracting and should be avoided especially at times you’re trying to relax.
At least on weekends, try taking a break from your smartphone and laptop. Although it’s a difficult task to spend time without checking your mobile phone for notifications and messages, you will experience the emergence of fresh ideas in your mind and it will help you to re-charge your energy. Not looking at screens all the time, especially in the evening, will also help you get better sleep.
Grow your company at your own pace – consider bootstrapping
VC-backed founders not only end up having less and less shares in their company, but they usually also experience a lot more pressure than founders who are bootstrapping. The reason for this is that you usually have to set very ambitious growth targets, which are near to impossible to achieve.
Remember, building successful and long-lasting companies is rather a marathon than a sprint. You can choose the venture-backed high stress route of working 24/7, or you can (in many cases) choose to build your company a bit slower and without outside funding. It will usually take you more time then to grow your company, but slower and organic growth is often much healthier when you want to build a long-lasting company anyways. Also, you keep full control over your business and life. Because in the end, real entrepreneurial success is not only measured by revenue numbers, but also by your ability to achieve happiness in live and at work.