By LeAnna J. Carey | May 18, 2012
George Eliot said that, "the important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men." Sounds like the perfect description of an entrepreneur. The other characteristic that entrepreneurs seem to share is that achieving work life balance is not their number one priority. According to Jeffrey Stibel, in his well-written Harvard Business Review article, Entrepreneurs Don't Need Work-Life Balance, entrepreneurs have “zero balance…we’re all in, all the time.” Like many, I do not disagree with Stibel, in fact I think he is spot on. What may resonate with entrepreneurs is that they do need energy to keep their unrelenting pace.
For entrepreneurs, productivity is a priority. Therefore, understanding the importance of syncing personal schedules with the body’s cyclic rhythms to increase energy levels is insight (and science) that will probably not frustrate the entrepreneur. Our daily ability to renew our energy levels is dependent on syncing light, food, temperature and activity cycles. While the majority of us fall back on familiar routines, the entrepreneur may not be aware that they are out of sync, have missed a meal, or have worked through the night to solve a problem. To realize their potential, entrepreneurs need to strategize personally and professionally on how not to run out of steam. Let's examine how we can renew our daily energy:
· Light. Think about how the built environment and the fast paced workday works against us with electrical lighting and spending hours inside buildings. Our bodies respond to the rhythms of night and day. For example, the release of melatonin is critical to rest...which is critical to energy. Take the time to go outside during the day for an energy blast.
· Food. Yes, we know - entrepreneurs eat on the run, but did you know that with one night of poor sleep, more calories (up to 500) will be consumed the next day? Start the day with a decent breakfast which syncs up with cortisol release to help transition to wakefulness.
· Temperature. Where do bats sleep for 16 hours of the day? A cool dark cave, I'll let you connect the dots.
· Activity. You need a plan to work out just as much as your business needs a plan. Your schedule is never going to open up for you to exercise; so let me ask you, how long have you been sitting at your desk today or how long has it been since you have taken a sip of water? Remember that research shows that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue. While we all have the same 24 hours, entrepreneurs tend to overestimate what they can squeeze into their day.
Like all of us, entrepreneurs are on a journey, the difference with entrepreneurs is that they know they will regret not using every spare minute to follow their dreams - that's why they need energy.