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The Biggest Health Hurdles Entrepreneurs Face, and How to Combat Them

The Biggest Health Hurdles Entrepreneurs Face, and How to Combat Them

Take a guess at the most significant health hurdles entrepreneurs face. Common assumptions might be high blood pressure from the ongoing stress of the job, or maybe obesity from being too busy to exercise regularly. However, you might be surprised to hear about the health data researchers have actually uncovered while comparing entrepreneurs with the rest of the population.

We think of being driven, innovative, gutsy, and self-sustaining as typical entrepreneurial traits. We know that it takes a special level of commitment and continuous learning to get a business off the ground and keep it there. So with all of this effort pointed in one direction, it stands to reason that entrepreneurs might have a tendency to neglect their health (along with a variety of other things in life) to pursue the growth and success of their business. However, one poll by Gallup seemed to suggest just the opposite pattern – entrepreneurs tend to be even healthier than other workers – at least in the physical sense.

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study by Louisiana State University revealed an interesting pattern in a town that was heavily populated by small businesses – Summit County, Colorado. They found that as small businesses continued cropping up around town, the health of the community as a whole improved. Obesity, diabetes, and mortality rates all declined steadily, ranking at less than half the national average.

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entrepreneurs health

    While they may have a decent hold over their physical health, multiple studies have suggested that mental health problems are more common for entrepreneurs, and may even run in their families. In particular, self-reported rates of depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder were significantly higher for entrepreneurs, while anxiety was just slightly higher. Businessman, investor, and successful tv personality, Robert Herjavec admitted to People magazine that he felt suicidal after his divorce, showing how even the richest and most famous business owners were subject to severe mental health issues.

    When considering the fact that entrepreneurs tend to have more freedom and flexibility than the average worker, you can see how they might have more time for exercise and healthy meal planning. Success in business requires a take-charge attitude, which many entrepreneurs seamlessly apply to their workout and dietary habits as well. However, they also tend to have much greater levels of responsibility and have more difficult decisions to make throughout the work week. Thus, the taxing aspects of running a business seem to weigh on the mind more heavily than the body.

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    Bridging the Gap

    What can be done to balance the current gap in mind-body well being? For one, entrepreneurs can lighten their load by simply asking for more help and support. Not only will this relieve stress, but it has also been shown to have a positive impact on the growth of a business. A study by Xero showed that “about one third of successful business owners reported asking mentors or family members for assistance. Meanwhile, among those whose businesses failed, just 14% reported asking for help.” Releasing some of the urge to handle everything and be in control can help entrepreneurs delegate tasks to other employees and develop trust. It will also free up some much-needed time to recoup from work activities.

    Entrepreneurs can also be aware of any obsessive compulsive tendencies like ruminating, overworking, and maintaining extremely high expectations. Ask any entrepreneur if they’ve ever dealt with perfectionism during the course of a project, and you’ll likely see a smile start to form. Such habits were reported as being more common in business owners, who are often self-motivated achievers by nature. Scheduling mandatory breaks at the same time each day can help prevent entrepreneurs from feeling powerless to these ingrained habits. Planning ahead properly and knowing what to expect is a huge stress reliever – keep a calendar or a to-do list to stay productive at work. If employees and managers know their objectives and their work schedule is clearly defined, they have a better chance of success. By directing some of that intense focus toward relaxation, expression, and self-care, entrepreneurs can break the cycle of mental stress and burnout.

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    Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory/Stokpic via stokpic.com

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2019

    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

    I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

    How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

    Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

    So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

    1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

    Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

    For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

    Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

    “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

    2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

    These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

    This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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    But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

    For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

    There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

    3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

    It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

    Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

    4. Use Your Phone Wisely

    Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

    If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

    5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

    If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

    In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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    One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

    6. Use a “To Don’t” List

    We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

    But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

    Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

    7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

    When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

    Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

    “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

    And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

    8. Be Concise

    Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

    One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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    Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

    • Making new contacts
    • Talking about yourself at a job interview
    • Meeting people at conferences or parties
    • Phone calls to new clients

    9. Ask the Right Questions

    “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

    How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

    When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

    Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

    Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

    10. Learn as Much as You Can

    You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

    Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

    11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

    No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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    If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

    What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

    Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

    12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

    As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

    But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

    The Bottom Line

    The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

    Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

    More About Working Smart

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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