Launching a startup is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. It feels like there's always a never-ending list of things to do and the clock is working against you. On top of that you're understaffed and low on resources. Couple this all together, and it's easy to see why most people start to neglect their health, and their personal life while dealing with every crisis that invariably comes up with your startup, regardless of how hard you try to avoid them. It seems only natural that finding time for yourself in this mess is impossible, but the reality is that you can't go at 1,000 miles per hour if you're running on empty. That's where a work-life balance comes in.
Planning out each day can end up being a challenge. That's where I find technology to be an amazing tool. Personally, I use phone calendars, mobile reminders and a to do list for just about everything. I also use technology to figure out food, exercise, and sleep. There's basically an app for everything, which can make your life easy.
Another tactic of mine is power naps, which make a huge difference. When things are crazy and I'm low on sleep I make time to just lay down somewhere. I just close my eyes for 20 minutes. It's amazing how rejuvenated it can make you feel though. I use the gym for "me time." It's the one time during the day where I completely unplug, and recharge my batteries while working up a good sweat. It's a great mind-body routine. Personally, I find working out in the morning to be ideal, but if you're someone who prefers it at a different time of day that works too.
But to be entirely honest, while some people deal with the stress of being an entrepreneur by setting up a strict routine where they make sure just to get the minimum necessities of life in (eating, sleeping, and some exercise), I can't really tell you what my routine is. I don't have a schedule. Each day is different for me. Some days I have more meetings so I'm running around all day, and on others I'm sitting at home sending emails or writing. Each day is unique, and each day should be treated as such. Live your life to the fullest, and enjoy yourself because it will allow you to push yourself harder.
Here's a few tips I've learned and/or been taught along the way that lead to success
1. Prioritize -- Give yourself reasonable goals that make sense in a certain time frame. Figure out what needs to be done, how much time it needs, and which of those is the most important.
2. Track progress -- Being successful in business isn't just about having a great idea. It's about executing, especially when things are tough. For this reason you need to have some measures of accountability in place. At Supshot we use Trello for a project management system to know what everyone is doing at any given time, how they're doing with it, and if they need any help.
3. Ask for help -- The best resource you have is the people around you, and your passion for what you're doing. But a very important resource that many entrepreneurs don't utilize is their fellow entrepreneurs. They're the best people to go to. They know exactly what you're going through, and can give you insight on how to manage things in the smartest way possible.
Last but not least, find time for play. You're much more likely to succeed if you are enjoying your life so make sure to play as hard as you hustle. Maybe even play harder so that you always have it to look forward to when you're hustling. Hang out with friends, go to the movies, check out a concert; whatever you like doing. Just make sure to make every minute of your life count.
Follow Azeem Khan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@AZ33MKHAN