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3 Steps to Staying Healthy When Running Your Startup

Leadership & Inspiration

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


One of the things that have most infuriated me working with a lot of startups is how many are neglecting their health when starting their companies.

That isn’t to say that I am not the hypocrite since well, I publically wrote about how I managed to gain fifty pounds (and fortunately lost) from the early days of growing Chop Dawg myself.

No, my frustration comes from that they can do better and the rationale of once your company is firing on all cylinders, that you’ll be able to jump back into being healthy, is well, bull-crap.

You have direct proof and evidence on what will happen if you treat yourself poorly and don’t take care of yourself… just read my original blog post about this here.

You will have less energy day-to-day.

You will feel worse about yourself and if you’re like me, starting having unexplained and irrational mood swings.

You’ll become a bit more emotional, good and bad.

You will get fat.

You will become sleep deprived.

You will fall into a bottomless pit of self-pity.

Your work output will decrease, even though you are working even more.

You see the pattern here, friends?

Somehow, we all decide when we want more time, to take away from what our bodies were created most importantly to do: get sleep, eat right and stay fit. Sure, one night of losing a few hours of sleep will not kill you. However, turning that into a repetitive pattern, most certainly will. You’re at the most hectic point in your life trying to build a brand new company and somehow, you decide in your mind to also begin creating habits, that are hard to break, that make you feel worse, figuring somehow, that’ll help you with creating your new company.

Anybody see the irony in all of this?

So, fortunately, as someone who has not only lost fifty pounds a few years back, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that can help all of you. This is for all of you early startup founders out there, but it can really apply to anyone with a job. Let’s get to it.

1) You need to schedule everything health-related onto your calendar and stick to it

If you’re like me, you live and die by your calendar.

You follow your calendar for everything. Upcoming meetings. Task items that you are locking down time to spend on. Travel time to another meeting, to visit friends, to do chores.

Here are a few new items to begin adding onto your calendar too.

Time to workout. Time to eat (and eat right). Time to sleep.

You read that right.

Add these three things onto your calendar, every day. In fact, take it one step forward like I do, and have these things on repeat automatically (you can setup to repeat weekdays vs. weekends, I do that too). This way, you never will forget. Make sure it notifies you in advance of this calendar event like your other ones probably do.

As soon as you do this, you never schedule over these calendar events again. You have a new customer asking to speak with you at one of these times, give them another. You have a full plate of to-do list items and trying to find more time to add, start prioritizing better. Whatever you do, you keep these on your calendar, give yourself enough time to do them right and never skip, cancel, reschedule or move them.

Turn yourself into a creature of habit. Turn yourself into an automated machine.

2) You need to always make sure you’re making time for proper rest, nutrition, and fitness

Similar to above, you need to give yourself the proper time to do each of these items. Listen, you don’t need two hours for lunch. Don’t start giving yourself a bad habit and start blaming me for literal productivity loss. You also need more than just five minutes to workout.

The idea here is that you still have a business to run, so delegate right. For example, I decide an hour and a half every morning (changing this to the evening in the near future) to working out at the gym. I dedicate fifteen minutes for lunch, forty-five minutes for dinner. I decide eight hours at night for sleep.

More than enough for everything I need. I’m not being greedy. I am not taking advantage of my personal time or using it to procrastinate other items. I am giving myself exactly what I need to do the things I need, without feeling like I am rushing.

You need to do the same.

3) You can’t fall off the wagon

I’m a creature of habit. Once I get into a routine, it is hard for me to break. In fact, this is human nature.

Example, let’s say you manage to get the same parking spot every day at your apartment complex for months, and one day, it is taken. You feel almost off, don’t you? There is science behind this. We like to do things on autopilot. Understand that you’re human, that is okay!

So why is this example relevant? Simple. You need to stick to doing these things every day. Once your schedule gets tough, you can’t revert back to your old habits. Think about the decrease in productivity that you will have every single day. Think about the idea of working harder but not smarter, how you will work more for less. Good. Start feeling frustrated by thinking that. Use that as motivation to stay on the wagon, to push yourself. Hell, you may even start focusing on even leveraging your health more through automated meals, tracking your macronutrients, trying to build muscle, etc. These are all good things!

The biggest thing that we all know is when you feel best about yourself, and most energetic, it will show. It will show in your work. It will show with those you work with. It will show with your clients.

You will feel more confident.

You will have more energy.

You will get more work done.

Why in the world would you want to not enjoy these perks? As an entrepreneur, it is as if you are leveling up without having to do anything out of the ordinary. It takes time. You need to be consistent. However, you stay on the wagon, you keep focusing on your health, you will always, always, always outperform anyone who doesn’t.

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