Running a business is physically and mentally demanding. In many cases it comes with long hours accompanied by high levels of stress. And yet, there’s always more to get done than time and energy seems to permit.
I find that if I don’t pay constant attention to my physical and mental state work truly becomes work, and loses the joy that comes from the freedom of running your own show.
Over the years I’ve developed several habits that help me meet the energy demands of running my business. These daily and hourly rituals also combat stress and make me far more productive.
In fact, the time I spend engaged in what I call "energy management" activities comes back to me several times over in productivity gains, and I find it more beneficial than the outdated notion of time management.
My energy management program starts with daily exercise. I have a pretty set routine and most days get this done before I snap open a laptop. I mix in running, biking, interval cross training, weightlifting and yoga. I also participate in the occasional organized event and belong to several groups, which help motivate me to stay active.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with great blog topics and product innovation during a morning run. The science on exercise is pretty clear, it aids in creativity, stress reduction and overall feeling of well-being.
This to me is simply a must for long lasting health, but the benefit to my business is evident as well. I take some very light days and some heavier days, but even ten minutes of doing pushups and burpees in my hotel room before a speaking gig makes me feel more alive and connected.
Everyone knows they should get more exercise, so this isn’t me telling you the obvious, I’m suggesting that if you take 20 minutes at the start of the day, your business will benefit.
I find, and research supports this, that I can’t stay very focused on a task for more than about an hour. If I have something I want to accomplish that will take more than that amount of time I set a timer and force myself to take a break after about 50 minutes. I get up and do something for five minutes. (We have a few office dogs that are always up for a stretch.)
I also have some conditional rules–if this, then that–that help me stay mindful of energy. For example, if I go to the restroom I do five pull ups. If I hang up from a phone call, I fill up my water bottle. (I consume about 80oz of water a day as part of my energy program.) These IFTTT rules help forge habits.
Stand Up Meetings
Meetings are a fact of life in most businesses. Most people dread them and with good reason: They are often too long, too much time is spent rehashing what was in the e-mail, and not enough time spent on making decisions.
I suggest holding stand up meetings once a day. (We call them SUMs.) The meetings should last no more than ten minutes and should be about making decisions and taking action. You probably have a place for regular planning or brainstorming sessions as well, but these quick daily stand up meetings are a different type of meeting and will leave everyone feeling energized, instead of bogged down.
Your physical body and mental state are two of your most valuable business assets–take care of them like you would a prized piece of valuable equipment and they will serve your business well.
How do you squeeze exercise into your day?
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.