If there were a magic button that could instantly make you a better entrepreneur — one that gave you better ideas, let you make clearer decisions, helped you communicate better with the team, etc. — you’d almost certainly press it.
Entrepreneurs tend to desire improvement in all areas of their lives, especially areas that will make them better business owners. Obviously, there’s no magic button, but there are many ongoing strategies that can improve your leadership and business acumen.
The Lifestyle Difference
You could undergo a training program or engage in brainstorming sessions with peers as simple ways to become a better entrepreneur. These approaches focus on the acquisition of knowledge or a new skill set.
However, there are also lifestyle factors that can be incorporated gradually and that condition your mind to achieve its fullest potential. These lifestyle changes are simple, easy to adopt, and can have powerful effects on your entrepreneurial performance, so why not give them a shot?
1. Take more breaks. There’s no question that taking breaks can actually increase your productivity. Though it’s tempting to work through lunch to squeeze in an extra few assignments, it’s better for you in the long term to allow your mind to decompress, and return with greater focus and motivation. Commit to taking at least three small breaks throughout the day, even if they’re only 10 minutes, and incorporate breaks on a larger scale by taking an occasional vacation.
2. Get more sleep. Sleep is more important than most people realize. That recommended “eight hours” might seem like a pipe dream, but if you’re getting only a few hours of sleep per night on an ongoing basis, or if you maintain an inconsistent and unpredictable sleep schedule, you could be sabotaging your own potential for success.
Without enough sleep, you’ll have a harder time concentrating, remembering things, and solving problems … not to mention all the physical health problems associated with long-term sleep deprivation. Do yourself and your team a favor by making a good night’s sleep a top priority.
3. Read every day. The benefits of reading should be obvious; you’ll gather new information and knowledge for starters, but you’ll also build your vocabulary and strengthen your communication skills. The wider range of books you read, the more pronounced these effects will be; don’t pigeonhole yourself into one genre, format, or subject. Expose yourself to a wide array of perspectives, and you’re likely to generate more creative ideas.
4. Talk to more people. Ask your team for their thoughts on your business. Talk to competitors and peers. Seek opportunities to discuss your field with other professionals at networking events. Talk to random strangers on the street. The more you interact with people who are not part of your daily routine, the more skilled you’ll become at communicating … and you’ll surely pick up new ideas and perspectives that can help you solve problems and address individual needs.
As an added bonus, you might even meet some new potential clients or hires.
5. Eat healthier foods. The foods you eat can have a substantial impact on your mind and body. Without the proper nutrition, you might not be able to function properly. We all intuitively experience the energy drag that junk food can have, and we all know what it’s like to try and work while hungry. Keep your body fueled with healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Kale is a perfect example. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, high in protein, and packed with antioxidants. As a general rule, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the better; and the fewer processed foods you consume, the healthier you’re apt to feel.
6. Be willing to ask for help. Inevitably, you’ll run into pain points as an entrepreneur, and many of us would prefer to take on and address those obstacles independently. However, doing this on a steady basis almost always leads to overwhelmed work schedules, high levels of stress, and improper procedures (especially in the case of tackling an objective outside your expertise). It’s important for you to learn to ask for help from outside sources to prevent these negative outcomes. For example, you could delegate a task to one of your team members, seek counsel from a mentor, or even ask a family member for help in brainstorming.
7. Reduce your reliance on technology. You probably use the computer or smartphone for almost every facet of your job these days. When you get home, you might relax with more computer-based entertainment or TV. You might even check your email and voicemails throughout the night. Breaking away from technology on an occasional basis — even for a few hours — can be beneficial to you in the long run. It can improve your focus, reduce your stress, and give you time for more important things. Why not pick up a book and kill two birds with one stone?
Some of these lifestyle changes might appeal to you more than others, but you ought to give all of them a fair try. Even if it seems like an impossible goal (like getting enough sleep every night), or uncomfortable (like stepping away from technology on a daily basis), you should challenge yourself to improve in these key areas.
You’ll find yourself thinking more clearly, working harder, and most important, feeling better about your own role.