Entrepreneurs are hardwired with ambition and drive. As a result, we are on the go 24/7, putting in long hours at the office, an exhausting travel schedule and much more. Sustaining this kind of lifestyle requires entrepreneurs to be indefatigable as they take on their daily agendas. Something that isn't always easy to do. We all get run down and burnt out from time to time and need to recover.
However, there are certain lifestyle choices we can all make each day that help us to better manage our energy and to give us the physical, emotional and mental stamina to keep pushing through the long days and remaining productive for longer periods. I've personally done a lot of work on this over the years in my own personal development, and I've also spoken with other experts who provided invaluable advice and guidance. One of the experts I've spoken to recently is Dr. Sam Clavell, DC, a chiropractor of 100% Chiropractic North Atlanta Austell. He offered me guidance on increasing my own energy through stretching, exercise and posture.
There are four very simple things you can do to help increase your energy levels:
Dr. Clavell says that even though it "might sound counterintuitive, one of the best things you can do to boost energy levels is exercising!" Even 10 minutes of exercise/day has been shown to elevate the body's secretion of endorphins (energy-boosting hormones). Exercise also allows for better sleep, which helps you to wake up feeling well rested and ready for the day ahead of you.
2. Eat Breakfast
It is the most important meal of the day, after all! Making sure you have a healthy breakfast in the morning will prevent you from feeling sluggish during those prime hours of entrepreneurial productivity, 8am-11am for many people. The most important piece of advice Dr. Clavell gave here was to avoid white bread: "You've probably heard you want to eat carbohydrates, which turn into energy to boost your day. But not these type of carbs. White bread and bagels are packed with refined carbohydrates...which yes, will make you feel energized for a very short time. And then have you crash and doze off for the rest of the day. Want to be productive in the morning..avoid white bread!"
3. Surround Yourself with Positive and Upbeat People
It sounds cliche, but you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about that -- if you are constantly surrounded by people who are negative and complaining, what does that say about you? Offering insight into his own morning routine, Dr. Clavell says he likes to set his alarm to his "favorite 'Power Song', (Think U2 'Beautiful Day' or Bon Jovi 'You give Love a Bad Name') a song that will get you pumped up, excited to start the day!" The point of the Power Song is that it's something that will get your blood pumping and get you excited about the day in a positive manner.
Another point Dr. Clavell made about what you listen to was "While driving, I like to listen to podcasts or audio books that will motivate and prepare me to give it my all during the day."
4. Posture & Stretching
Having bad posture can also have a negative effect on your energy. If you spend most of your day at a desk, listen up: Dr. Clavell taught me that sitting at a desk for a long time causes the body to tire; your posture gets worse and blood flow throughout the body starts to decline. With decreased blood flow, there is decreased oxygen going through the body which will make you feel tired and lower productivity.
Our muscles begin to tighten, soreness sets in, and productivity suffers. Dr. Clavell offered two simple stretches that can alleviate this tension:
Sit at the edge of your chair and clasp your hands behind your back -- this will open your chest and shoulders. Take a deep breath in and then let it out. Release and repeat. Do this 2-3 times every 2 hours.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Once again, sit at the edge of your chair and turn and face to your left. Take your right leg and extend it back behind you while keeping your knee as straight as possible. Sit tall, keep your chest open and take a couple of deep breaths in. This will stretch your lower back and hip flexors. Release and repeat.
Both of these exercises will increase blood flow through your body, which will boost creativity, energy levels and productivity.
Implementing one or more of these tactics into your daily lifestyle will significantly improve your productivity and you will feel more energetic on those long days in the office. Of course, there's no substitute for taking breaks to recharge and refuel, but making a few simple lifestyle changes can sure help you be a lot more effective and make the most of your time when you are working.
I wondered where chiropractic fits into all this and whether that could potentially be a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. Dr. Clavell offered the following. "Your energy levels, your blood flow, the way your muscles react to different positions and posture are all regulated and controlled by your nervous system (your brain, spinal cord and all the nerves in your body). The thing is that stress (physical stress, emotional and chemical stress) can cause your nervous system to not function how it's designed to function through a very common condition called "Subluxations". Subluxations decrease your nervous System's ability to work."
He explained further, "Here's where Chiropractic comes in. Chiropractors are trained to find and correct vertebral subluxations. In which turn, the body and its nervous system can once again function fully at 100%. When your body and nervous system work at 100% you sleep better, have stay focused longer, handle stress easier, keep a better posture and improve your learning skills."
The most important piece of information you can take away from all of this is that the smallest aspects of your daily regiment and habits can hugely impact every part of your life. Things that you don't even pay attention to or notice on a daily basis can be seriously affecting your energy and productivity without you even knowing it. Take a look at your routine and your choices each morning and think about how they might be affecting your outcomes.