Checking In And Balancing Your Schedule

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Close your eyes for a second. Now picture the schedule of a successful entrepreneur. What does this look like to you? It must be packed with meetings, phone calls, sleepless nights, countless new opportunities, 80-hour work weeks and no days off. That’s the only way to make it to the top, right?

Wrong. While a common perception is that being busy equates to success and vice versa, a schedule like the one above can lead to stress levels that can quite literally be killing you. Symptoms of stress can fly under the radar for quite some time, but when stress goes unchecked for too long, it can take a turn for the worse, impacting both physical and mental health as well as relationships. You may not even realize you are stressed at first.

Physically, your body has several ways of reacting to intense levels of stress. Perhaps you experience persistent headaches and migraines, sweating or heart issues, for example. Mentally, you might feel anxious, low on time or as if your mind is moving at a thousand miles a minute, making it difficult to focus. These feelings may become cyclical as one feeds into the other. As for relationships, look out for depersonalization and becoming easily irritated or resentful towards loved ones.

Are your best friends suddenly making you feel irritated rather than happy? Do you cram your meals into five minutes so you aren’t late for your phone call? Feeling any of the above ways is a sign that you are far too stressed, and it is likely stemming from how busy you are. It may be time for a lifestyle change to decrease your busyness. How can you cut back on commitments, though, and still be equally as successful?

This is often the reason people overwork themselves. Seemingly, the busier you are, the more productive you are as a result. In reality, that is not the case. In fact, by cutting back the hours you are committed to working each week and increasing leisure time, I have seen productivity increase. While this is a long-term lifestyle change, let’s look at a few things you can do immediately to decrease your stress.

Consider taking a day off each week. On this day, take the whole day to dedicate to yourself, your relationships and your hobbies. This downtime can allow time to reset, which can, in turn, boost the productivity of your working days.

You also want to delegate time to rest. Sleep is extremely important not only for decreasing stress but also for increasing productivity. Allowing yourself a 20-minute nap at some point during the day and finding a way you can get eight hours of sleep a night can help greatly with your busyness.

Another thing you can do starting as soon as you finish reading this article is to open your planner/calendar. Take a look. Do your Tuesday afternoons look like, “Meet with Steve: 3:00-4:00, Pitch to Company A: 4:00-4:45, Phone Call with Josh: 4:45-5:15”? If they do, consider adding some intervals between those meetings. Just 15 minutes between commitments can give you time to reset, reflect and address any last-minute tasks that may come up.

While these are a few immediate things you can do to become less busy and stressed, I encourage you to check in with yourself and turn these short-term fixes into long-term changes to not only decrease your stress but to increase the productivity of your business as well.

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