Entrepreneurs are their own worst enemies when it comes to their health. Unless they follow a disciplined health routine, they are likely to burn themselves out. They believe that they have to eat, sleep and think work all the time, and feel a pang of guilt whenever they find themselves relaxing. But, what good is a burned-out MD or CEO? To give your best to your business, you need to take care of the most important person in the world for it – you.
In the race to “do it all” and being there all the time, most entrepreneurs forget that only a healthy body harbors a healthy mind. And only if your mind is healthy, would you be able to contribute your best to your business and the people in it. Striking a fine balance between the body and the mind is probably as important as, if not more than, balancing books.
The entrepreneur of this age is faced with several difficult problems – extreme stress, poor nutrition, and an over-dependence on “convenience foods,” sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol consumption. It may seem almost impossible to remain fit and healthy in the face of them all. And yet, the importance of staying fit in these circumstances cannot be overstated.
So, how does an entrepreneur find the time and the inclination to follow a healthy routine? Let us take a look at the healthy habits and routines of these successful entrepreneurs.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
The founder of Facebook had this to say about his fitness routine. “Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you are fit. I make sure I work out at least three times a week – usually first thing when I wake up.” This year, he set himself a challenge to run a mile a day (365 miles), and this also encouraged a lot of people to take up the challenge themselves.
2. Elon Musk
The founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and co-founder of PayPal works 100 hours a week. While it may seem like he might find it difficult to make time for exercise, he works out twice a week opting for the treadmill and lifting weights. He also swims and plays tennis.
3. Jack Dorsey
The CEO of Twitter and Square does a phenomenal job with handling two companies and has an 18-hour workday. But, he maintains a strict sleep schedule and calls it a day at 11 p.m. and wakes up at 5 a.m. He meditates for half an hour and does 3 rounds of 7-minute workouts. He does not have a desk in either of the two offices and is constantly on the move, getting the much-needed exercise. He also conducts interviews with candidates or journalists while walking. He follows a Paleo diet and avoids gluten, alcohol, dairy, and sugar.
4. Oprah Winfrey
The famous talk show host and founder of Harpo Productions wasn’t always as fit as she is today. She was overweight and ate poorly. But, she turned it all around when she started following a strict regimen of eating a healthy diet and exercising. She does cardio workouts six mornings a week (each for 45 minutes) and four or five evenings (before dinner) a week for 20 minutes. Once a week, she goes on a 75-minute run. She also does strength training 4-5 times a week for 30-40 minutes.
5. Arianna Huffington
The founder of the Huffington Post Media Group practices yoga and meditation daily. She believes in being mentally fit and starts the day by taking a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful and set her intentions for the day. She sleeps for 7-8 hours every night. She schedules hikes with her friends and HuffPost editors, rather than having sit-down meetings.
6. Richard Branson
One of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world and founder of the Virgin Group regards exercise as his “Number One Secret” to greater productivity. He gets up at 6 a.m. and goes running. There is hardly a fitness regime that Branson hasn’t tried. From Bikram yoga, swimming, rock climbing, swimming to weight lifting, he loves trying new things to stay fit and increase productivity.
Why a Morning Routine Is Important
It is no secret that most of us are at our productive best in the mornings. If we set up a morning routine, we can maintain high productivity levels throughout the day. A wake-up routine will remove the chaos and put you in a relaxed state of mind. Get some exercise, even if it is a 10-minute walk in the morning. Get some fresh air and rejuvenate your body. Take time to eat a healthy breakfast. Avoid sending and responding to emails, messages or phone calls during breakfast.
This excellent article gives you insights into maintaining a good morning routine that gets you ready to face the challenges of the day ahead.
Set Goals for the Day
Don’t rush into the day not knowing what you’ll be doing. Instead, wake up an hour before the family does and spend that quiet quality time by sitting down and listing the most important things you’ll tackle in the day. Prioritize your work and then get ready to face the day.
Never underestimate the benefits of good sleep
Sleep often becomes a luxury for an entrepreneur as you wonder how you can add a couple of hours more to the workday. But, the importance of good sleep cannot be overstated. Don’t try to catch up on sleep on weekends after working like crazy the entire week. Instead, expand your week to get more consistent sleep. For optimal performance, your body requires 8 hours of sleep every night. 15 minutes of meditation and contemplation will help you sleep better. Shut off your mind completely from thoughts of the happenings of the day and what you have to achieve tomorrow. Instead, focus on the present and try to get good sleep.
Find Ways to Deal with Stress
Stress is an entrepreneur’s constant companion. You will have to find ways to deal with it or it can ruin your health and, ultimately, your life. The first thing to do to deal with stress is to identify the triggers. If you can understand the causes of stress, it will help you to come up with a solution to deal with it. Don’t keep stress bottled up. Open up to a close confidante – your spouse or a friend. Don’t let stress make you focus on the negatives. Instead, channel your stress positively to enhance your productivity.
The right kind of nutrition goes a long way in your quest to remain fit – mentally and physically. Keep a bottle of water handy always. Whenever you feel the urge to gulp a mug of coffee or a sugar-laced can of soda, drink water. This will satiate your thirst and your craving for the unhealthy. Keep a jar of nuts on your desk. Munch on them when you feel like snacking. Choose healthier options like fresh fruits and greens over refined foods.
Maintain a fitness routine, either at home or at work. Workouts needn’t be strenuous and time-consuming. They can be short and fun. Find a companion to work out with. This will keep you stay motivated and the company helps. Mental health is as important as physical health. Practice meditation, yoga and schedule trips and small breaks to rejuvenate your mind every once in a while.
Being successful at business depends on how you can take care of yourself. You cannot think clearly, let alone innovate when you are deprived of sleep or are suffering from health conditions. To be successful in business, you must be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Just as the examples above show, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who keep themselves healthy.