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Self Care for Entrepreneurs: 5 Healthy Tips

Self Care for Entrepreneurs: 5 Healthy Tips

Working for yourself is incredibly rewarding. You’re in the driver’s seat, and you get to pick the best path for yourself. But entrepreneurship comes with huge challenges. You may not report to a boss, but the market becomes your boss — and it’s a tough one. Understanding your chosen market and working to satisfy it can become an all-consuming task. Before you know it, you are working nonstop, never taking a break, whether mentally, physically, or emotionally.

Fortunately, there are several ways that entrepreneurs can practice self-care. With a little advice and a little willpower, startup owners can get back into a place of mental, emotional, and physical health — all while growing their business.

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1. Take a Day of Rest

This can’t be emphasized enough. If you constantly work seven days a week, it becomes difficult to unplug from the stress of running a business. This leads to a feeling that you can’t escape the pressures that are threatening to destroy your life. Though it seems counter-intuitive, one of the best things you can do is walk away from these pressures for one whole day a week — maybe even two whole days!

A day of rest can look different for different people. Some entrepreneurs may want to stay away from their rented office and spend the day at a park with a loved one. If your office is at home, consider getting away on a day trip with friends or family.

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2. Turn Your Phone Off

Though it is difficult, one of the best decisions you can make is to turn your phone off, leave it at home, or at least silence it, and resist the urge to check it for one whole day. Becoming “unreachable” on your day of rest can go a long way toward restoring your mental, emotional, and physical health. If your phone is a source of stress, simply say no to it for a day. The world won’t crumble without you.

3. Discipline Yourself to Separate Work From Personal Life

Professionals are often advised to “leave work at work.” Entrepreneurs need this advice even more. Since you are in the driver’s seat and controlling the direction of the business, your stresses are probably even greater than those of your employees (if you have any). Though you should give your business 110 percent every minute of the work day, it’s important to set boundaries and keep your business firmly out of your personal life.

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What does this mean? It will look different in every situation. It could mean not taking that business phone call while you’re on a date. It could mean leaving your phone, computer, and other devices in the office while you play with your child. Whatever it is, you need to create clear boundaries between your personal life and your business life.

4. Set Aside Time for Physical Activity

Today’s entrepreneur is dependent on many digital technologies to build a business. That means long hours spent in front of a computer (or using a tablet or mobile device). Human beings were not designed to be sedentary. While it is okay to sit for short periods of time, it is much healthier to remain active.

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Physical activity can be a great stress reliever for entrepreneurs. There are many forms which this activity can take, depending on preferences. You can join the local gym to lift weights and run on the treadmill. You can swim at the local pool. Bike rides are especially good for your cardiovascular health, especially if you push yourself. Even a hike in the woods with your significant other provides good exercise.

Whatever it is, you need to remain active. Get out of the office, and work up a sweat!

5. Set Your Priorities

This may be difficult to hear, but ultimately, your health is more important than your business. What good is it if you build a successful company but find yourself crippled with anxiety and health problems? Your quality of life will go down, and there are no prizes for making yourself sick. It’s very easy to pursue monetary success above everything else, but that may not lead to happiness.

Rather, you should take a balanced approach. Recognize when it’s time to work hard and build your company, and recognize when you need to unplug and recharge. Put your family ahead of business. You will find yourself healthier and, amazingly, more energized to run your business well.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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