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Ask The Entrepreneurs: 13 Golden Rituals That Keep Entrepreneurs Sane

Ask The Entrepreneurs: 13 Golden Rituals That Keep Entrepreneurs Sane

    Ask The Entrepreneurs

    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What daily/weekly ritual do you keep that keeps you sane as an entrepreneur?

    1. Meditate Stress Away

      “My daily ritual always involves at least fifteen minutes of meditation. When I meditate I give my brain a break. As an entrepreneur my brain is on overdrive. The key to getting real, quality work done is to take a break and tune in. Meditation offers you time to release and recalibrate. For my free guided meditations visit www.gabbyb.tv.”

      Gabrielle BernsteinGabrielle Bernstein Inc.

      2. Feed Yourself with Inspiration

        “You know when you read a quote and immediately it gives you that instant boost you needed in that moment? I keep my favorite quotes with me and look at them daily to remind myself that no matter what, it’s going to be okay and I can push through. Sometimes you need to be reminded of the simple things, even if it’s through a quote.”

        Ashley BodiBusiness Beware

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        3. Lift Off the Frustration

          “Lifting weights, especially heavy ones, has been something that I have come to rely on as an entrepreneur. The frustrating obstacles that we face every day while blazing new trails can add up. Personally I am driven by my own stress and anxiety, of which I have plenty. Sometimes the only thing that can relieve some of the pressure is a good ass whoopin’ at the gym!”

          Andrew BachmanScambook.com

          4. Stretch to the Limit

            “It seems cliche, but yoga has been my saving grace. It pumps me up for a day of productivity, while simultaneously reducing stress. It helps balance my mood at a time when the days get darker sooner. It stretches me out after hours at the computer. It helps me shut my brain off before going to sleep. I go to a yoga studio five days a week. Scheduling that time for myself keeps me sane.”

            Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

            5. Break the Rules!

              “During my work week, I’m super strict on my nutrition, workouts, sleep and business regimen. To combat this, I constantly break the rules on purpose and have a “cheat day.” Blow off an event, put back a few beers, or sleep in on Friday. Remind yourself that you are human, and the reason you are an entrepreneur is so you can have the freedom and flexibility to make these decisions for yourself.”

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              Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

              6. Focus on Loved Ones

                “Playing with my son every day and spending time with my family keeps me grounded and focused on why I’m doing what I’m doing. I always think of how my business and work affects my family, and ways to constantly improve upon that.”

                Tim Jahn, Entrepreneurs Unpluggd

                7. Join the Team!

                  “I try to play at least one team sport every week. I find that while your head is in the game and you’re cheering for your teammates, all the stress and work waiting for you washes away. When I return from the game, I find that much of that stress turns out to be gone for good, and I’m refreshed and ready to take on the week’s challenges.”

                  Jason EvanishGreenhorn Connect

                  8. Coach a Team!

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                    “I coach 3rd-5th grade AAU basketball. No matter what’s going on with Modify or in my personal life, I always forget everything stressful when I walk onto the court with the kids. They’re eager to learn and I can’t help but focus only on their growth. And if I’m really stressed, I can just tell them to do more sprints! (Just kidding.)”

                    Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

                    9. Touch Base Often

                      “I begin each day with a 5-minute check-in call with my accountability partner. We share our daily goals and discuss on-going challenges and projects. This daily check-in ensures that I make steady progress, and it’s great to know that someone who understands is just a phone call away for support and encouragement.”

                      Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

                      10. Mentor Another Entrepreneur

                        “Sometimes running your own business can be exhausting and you can lose track of end goals and the passion that got you started in the first place. I find that mentoring other young entrepreneurs reminds you why you started your business. Also, the feel-good vibes you get from helping others are the best way to recharge.”

                        Vanessa Van PettenScience of People

                        11. Read Your Calendar

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                          “Our calendars hold a lot of information about how we spend out time. If you sit down and scroll through your calendar to take a look at the meetings, phone calls, projects, and tasks that you have had over the past week, it will give you clarity about the things that you have accomplished and about what you can do differently.”

                          Dmitriy KatselAdU Network

                          12. Set Boundaries for Sanity

                            “I will not and do not (except before a big launch) answer or read emaisl within a few hours of my shut-eye time—nor will I read email on my phone IN bed. Sleep is sacred, and so is my schedule. A client wouldn’t dare call me at midnight; so why would they expect an email reply? YOU need to cut the email cord, not them. So do it. And turn off push notifications on your phone while you’re at it!”

                            Lindsey DonnerWell Versed Creative

                            13. Surf…the Internet?

                              “I’ve found that the best ideas and most productivity occurs when you actually completely disconnect from the work you’re doing. For me this has been surfing…in the ocean! Anything that forces you to be completely present for even a few hours a week does wonders for your mind, body and, as a result, your business.”

                              Srinivas RaoBlogcastFM

                              (Photo credit: Businessman Standing Alone via Shutterstock)

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                              Last Updated on December 5, 2018

                              How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

                              How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

                              Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

                              We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

                              How do they do it?

                              By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

                              1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

                              There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

                              If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

                              2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

                              Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

                              According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

                              Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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                              3. Demand Learning from Your Team

                              CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

                              “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

                              His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

                              Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

                              “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

                              Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

                              4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

                              Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

                              Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

                              • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
                              • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
                              • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
                              • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
                              • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
                              • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

                              5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

                              Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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                              Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

                              • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
                              • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
                              • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
                              • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
                              • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

                                “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

                              Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

                              6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

                              The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

                              Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

                              You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

                              7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

                              Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

                              But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

                              On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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                              • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
                              • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
                              • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
                              • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

                              8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

                              Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

                              When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

                              9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

                              The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

                              What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

                              Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

                              10. Empower Your Employees

                              Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

                              They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

                              Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

                              You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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                              If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

                              11. Nurture Your Company Culture

                              Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

                              Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

                              However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

                              Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

                              Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

                              Be a Leader, Not a Boss

                              Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

                              However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

                              In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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