Stress in the workplace has become a significant health risk. In many countries, more than half of the labor force are working more hours than they are paid for. So, if you’re working a 9 to 5 at your desk thinking that you suffer from stress alone. Remember that you are not alone. Stress from […]
Any entrepreneur knows you need to spend some money to make money. But developing poor spending habits can actually prevent you from being as successful as you hoped. When you’re budgeting poorly, you can stunt the growth of your business. Many entrepreneurs develop some not-so-great spending habits during their time as business owners. But in […]
One of the quickest ways to success is to look at yourself in the mirror and see what you think about yourself. People who walk around without standards will always be stuck in a place they don’t want to be. Even when brought to their attention they will ignore and discard the notion. If you […]
It’s easy to throw caution to the wind and rush into the entrepreneurial role. Unfortunately, this can result in more harm than good. There are several factors to consider before launching your brand, including asset protection. Not only is this important to avoiding unnecessary lawsuits or extraneous legal fees, it safeguards your intellectual property from […]
Weight training is one of the proven methods to losing weight. You have to make time to hit the gym and utilize gym equipment in order to do this. But sometimes, it’s just too difficult to squeeze your busy schedules into allowing you that much needed gym time or you simply aren’t partial to lifting those weights.
There are a number of activities you can do that will allow you to burn as much calories as weight lifting that won’t necessarily require you to go to the gym.
1. Do aerobics
To lose weight, you need to get that heart rate up and running for you to burn calories. An aerobic exercise is a physical activity that gets your heart rate up and your muscles generating energy.
Aerobic exercises performed at moderate to high intensity while maintaining increased heart rate over a period of time results in considerable weight loss. The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen”. Oxygen is used to burn fats and sugar in your system.
A 30-minute session daily allows you to lose up to 260 calories or easily 500 calories for a full hour session of high impact aerobic exercise. The good thing is, you don’t have to go to the gym to do aerobic activities. Any activity that increases your heart rate will achieve the same result whether at the gym or not.
Running is the ultimate aerobic exercise. To make it more interesting, try to find a good track or route that will allow you to “re-energize” yourself. A nature trail would be ideal as it allows you to breathe in the positive energy of nature while oxygenating your system and increasing your heart rate. Add in some motivating music that will cheer you on to keep going.
In instances where a nature track would be impossible, the reliable treadmill is just as effective though the benefits of fresh air and positive energy might not be. The challenge is to try and keep it up for at least 30 minutes a day or about 5 miles to chop off at least 500 calories.
3. Play with your kids
Become a kid again by playing with your children. Remember how kids can’t seem to run out of energy? Try to get up to their level of activity by jumping, getting on the floor, climbing trees, rolling around, playing tag, etc. Participate in the games children play.
Lifting weights may not be your cup of tea but lifting your toddler or infant while going about your day counts as an upper body workout too. Not only will you lose weight, you’ll end up spending quality time with them as well. Who knew child care could help you lose weight?
Depending on the amount of activity you engage with your children, you could lose as much as 300 to 600 calories a day. Child care is serious business.
4. Take up a Martial Arts practice
Choose the martial arts practice that could be right for you. Karate, kickboxing, muay thai, taekwondo, or MMA – whatever you choose, you’ll be guaranteed to lose weight. From their endorphin-boosting warm-ups to their endurance-building drills and strength training, the benefits to losing weight are endless.
Aside from losing weight, practicing martial arts gives you more. You learn to develop discipline as well which will help you in sustaining your weight loss programs. Expect to burn anywhere from 500 to 2,000 calories per session depending on the intensity of your training programs.
5. Go for a hike up the mountains
If you take regular walks around the neighborhood to lose weight after a heavy dinner at home, you might want to consider going for a hike as well. Hiking allows you to burn more calories than walking will.
The chances of you burning up to 1,000 calories for a 2 hour hike up the mountains is not impossible to achieve with the added difficulty of the terrain. Walking on a flat terrain for about the same time may help you lose about 500 calories but hiking definitely will up your game.
Plan a long hike for at least twice a month. It will not only help you lose the weight, it will also give you a chance to do some re-energizing by absorbing the energy of nature around you.
6. Go cycling
When walking or running to lose weight becomes boring, try going cycling. Cycling could be an alternative weight loss activity for people who can’t do high impact sports like running because of the pressure it brings to their joints.
Cycling increases strength and endurance while exercising the major muscles in the legs that include your hamstrings, calves, glutes and quadriceps. Apart from that, cycling also does wonders to your heart and lung health.
If you could bike your way to work or school, that would be a huge chunk off your workout itinerary. Even more challenging would be going mountain biking. A 30 minute bike ride may allow you to lose anywhere from 300 to 500 calories depending on the difficulty of the terrain.
Try joining a bike club where you can go cycling with buddies who can motivate you to push yourself forward and gain new like-minded friends.
7. Mow your lawn
A nice and pretty-looking garden has never been so health-friendly as it is when you take care of it. The simple act of mowing your own lawn may seem tedious but the benefits it brings to your health shouldn’t be disregarded. It not only works your cardiovascular system but it also works up the muscles in your legs, back, shoulders and arms.
Be sure to maintain good posture while mowing your lawn to prevent you from hurting your back. Bad mowing posture isn’t an efficient way to burn calories. Mowing your lawn helps you burn anywhere from 250 to 350 calories.
If you want to go a step further, try doing a lawn makeover by moving rocks, hauling dirt and doing landscaping. Expect to lose about 400 to 600 calories per hour for that.
8. Shovel snow
Shoveling snow takes on a new light for people who want to burn calories and lose the weight. It may seem a tedious task but the opportunity to lose weight while doing it is something that cannot be ignored.
It can be considered as a cardiovascular and strength exercise with all the pushing, moving and lifting you need to do to get that snow off your front yard. The workout your legs, your upper body and your lower back gets is definitely well worth the task.
Shoveling snow burns about 400 to 600 calories an hour. While you’re at it, be a friendly neighbor and try offering to do it for them as well. You not only foster good relations, but you also achieve your weight loss goals faster.
9. Climb stairs
Don’t take the elevator or escalator. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, climb the stairs. Stairs are everywhere – at home, in your office, at the mall, etc. An average weighted person can lose up to 220 calories for 30 minutes of climbing up and down the stairs.
Climbing stairs is considered an aerobic activity that benefits your heart and lung health as well. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other major illnesses.
10. Take a hot bath
After you’ve gone through shoveling the snow in your front yard, your daily hiking, cycling, playing with your kids or mowing your lawn, end your day by soaking in a hot tub for about an hour or so.
A study on 14 men was conducted regarding the effects of taking hot baths on burning calories. Half of the men were asked to exercise on a bike for an hour and the other half were asked to soak in a 40 degree bath. Calories burned were measured and blood sugar levels monitored.
Both groups burned calories and the men who soaked in the tub lost about 140 calories per hour. It was also discovered that soaking in a hot tub lowered their blood sugar by about 10% more than those that exercised on the bike.
Going to the gym may not always be the best way to ensure that you maintain the proper amount of weight. There are many other activities that you can do consciously or unconsciously to lose weight. The key is movement. Keep on moving for better health.
If this article has helped you, please be a good friend and share it with someone you think might benefit from it. Let us know what you think.
A businessperson is someone who works in business. An entrepreneur is someone who becomes the leader of a business and takes risks to achieve true success with goals higher than just making a profit.
Extremely successful and powerful in the business industry, these women are a few great examples that prove entrepreneurship is not a job meant strictly for men.
Coco Chanel: Be Unique
“In order to be irreplaceable one must be unique” – Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel is known for starting new fashion trends for women, shocking people with her unique style. She then became one of the greatest fashion designers of all time.
Chanel shows us the key to success is not just following the crowd out of fear that you won’t be accepted. Being successful comes from being who you are, not trying to become someone else.
Create your own style and, in the process, your own future.
Sara Blakely: Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Founder and Owner of Spanx
“…failure is not the outcome–failure is not trying.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely failed often in her life as she put herself out there and wasn’t afraid to try different things.
Her lack of fear of failure eventually made her into a billionaire after investing all she had ($5000) into creating the famous body shapers, Spanx.
Failing means that you tried. It’s okay to fail, but it’s never okay to stop trying. You will never get anywhere with your life if you live in fear that it won’t turn out the way you planned.
Just go out and try it and if it doesn’t work, try something else!
Tory Burch: Follow Your Passion
Owner and CEO of fashion brand Tory Burch
“You have to be tenacious and you have to find your passion. And I think once you do that, it has this effect where it continues the momentum.” – Tory Burch
Tory Burch became a success by following what she loved, doing what she loved to do.
This is important on the road to being a successful entrepreneur, or successful at anything. If your heart is not in it then it’s going to be a much tougher journey that is lacking in motivation and happiness.
Clara Barton: Determination
Founder and First President of the American Red Cross
Clara Barton, a heroine around the time of the Civil War, faced ridicule for being a working woman.
However, the criticism she faced didn’t even slow her down as she worked hard as a teacher, Civil War aid, nurse, and runner of the War Department.
After her idea of starting the American Red Cross was rejected and deemed unnecessary, she continued to push it and finally was able to get it started. Today, the American Red Cross has helped a countless number of people.
Stay determined throughout your journey, even when the road gets tough and you are looked down upon or rejected. Don’t let other people discourage you from your ideas if it’s something you believe in.
Arianna Huffington: Don’t Be Afraid To Have A Support Group
Journalist, co-founder, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post
“What’s important, is the combination of whomever it is that helps us connect with ourselves, our mission and passion.” – Arianna Huffington
To Arianna Huffington, it is important to have people around to support her in what she does. For her, these people are her mother and her sister, but it can be anyone that you trust and that is there for you, encouraging you in your life trials.
Having people that love and support you by your side does not mean you are weak. Being able to admit that you would be better off with help from others is a strength.
Accepting help doesn’t mean that you couldn’t make it on your own, but there is nothing wrong with making things easier for yourself by getting support from trusted companions.
Beyoncé: Connecting with People
Singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, businesswoman
“If you live your life with kindness and giving other people great energy, that beauty and great energy comes back to you” – Beyoncé.
Beyoncé has been very successful at making a connection with her fans, especially through social media. This is very important for an entrepreneur because if you don’t have a following, you don’t have a business.
Making connections with people on a personal level can do wonders for your success as a business.
People want to buy things from people they can relate to and have made a good connection with. Business success comes from appealing to customers and reaching them with your message and product.
Diane von Fürstenberg: Being Confident
“Confidence. If you have it, you can make anything look good.” – Diane von Fürstenberg
A key to Diane von Fürstenberg’s success is her confidence in what she had to offer the world.
She believed in the innovative clothes she designed for women, and this confidence was projected onto prospective buyers who believed they could be confident in these clothes too. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, no one else is going to have confidence in you either.
Oprah Winfrey: Stay Positive
Former host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions, Chairwoman, CEO, and CCO of the Oprah Winfrey Network, actress, and author
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey
Now she is known for starting her own talk show that became the highest rated of its category. This kind of attitude towards life is important for achieving success in an industry where you will likely come across many bumps in the road and people trying to stop you from winning.
Rashmi Sinha: Be Independent
Co-Founder and CEO at Slideshare
“I did not particularly set out to be an entrepreneur or dream of it. However, I always wanted to do something that would drive myself to be independent and do things my own way.” – Rashmi Sinha
Rashmi Sinha’s drive to be independent formed her into a leader and she is now an important part of one of the most popular websites of its area, Slideshare.
It is important to be independent and get things done yourself rather than just relying on others. You can’t expect things to happen for you, you have to make them happen. However, being independent doesn’t mean rejecting help from others.
There is nothing wrong with having trusted employees and supporters helping you reach your goals. However, don’t rely on others to achieve your dreams for you and then be lost if they don’t come through for you.
Zhang Xin: Have A Life Outside of Work
Co-founder and CEO of SOHO China
“I’m very, very focused on my children. In fact, I’m very religious about having breakfast with them every morning, having dinner with them every evening, and spend all the weekends with them that I don’t work. So as long as I’m not traveling, I’m always with them and I go to their soccer and tennis matches.” – Zhang Xin
Zhang Xin made her success in the largest commercial real estate developer in Beijing. She has dedicated a lot of time to her career and getting to where she is today. However, she makes a point of not letting her work take up her entire life.
It is very important to her that she has a life at home and takes time for her family and for herself.
Giving yourself a break from work in this way and having something to look forward to outside of work is very important for keeping up your mental health, happiness, and ability to work hard.
Who’s inspired you to follow your dreams and change the world?
1. Life is short, make your definition long – James J-Pierre
2. Failure: Life has blessed you with a personal teacher so that you can grow, but you think life is against you. – James J-Pierre
3. Hustle in the dark and one day you’ll become someone else’s light. – James J-Pierre
4. I called myself an entrepreneur and I didn’t even know how to spell the word. – James J-Pierre
5. life is like a dish. You can create your own recipe or borrow someone else’s. – James J-Pierre
6. Everyone wants to be x’s and o’s as if those are the only letters in the alphabet. – James J-Pierre
7. Don’t BS me. On the alphabet, B and S may not be close but they still get together sometimes. – James J-Pierre
8. You’re not getting anywhere because you’re using a ruler to measure your success. – James J-Pierre
9. Today I asked myself. What’s the worst way a person can die? My answer. BROKE. Not the broke many will think of. Broke as in you died making no difference in anyone’s life, whether it be millions like Jim Rohn or simply one person. Broke as in you left nothing but a burden for your loved ones. A child who will never learn the lessons he needs to from you. Bills. A mortgage, no written guidance so that your child can learn from your past mistakes. Broke as in your funeral costing your family thousands they don’t have just to bury you, when all they need is to put you in the ground. That is the worst way to die. – James J-Pierre
10. I hustle in the dark because it’s easier to spot the faintest of lights. – James J-Pierre
11. everyone wants to climb the latter of success, but because the first few steps are missing, they don’t even try. – James J-Pierre
12. life can be full of shit. If you don’t take the time to design it, that’s all it’ll give you. – James J-Pierre
13. The world has some wonderful things, but because we’re going through shit it’s hard to see because we are so focused on the smell. – James J-Pierre
14. You can untangle the knots or you can use them to climb. – James J-Pierre
15. One of the pains of success: Knowing you’re going to be successful but it’s taking a long time. – James J-Pierre
16. Even the bird with the longest wingspan that can soar for days must land to take a break. – James J-Pierre
17. Life is like a 30-minute shower. Sometimes you’ll get a little soap in your eyes. – James J-Pierre
18. A lot of people are like dandruff. The longer they hang around, the more they gather until they become a real problem that’s hard to get rid of. – James J-Pierre
19. One day, they will say remember we are family and one day I will tell them to go die with the cockroaches they sleep with. I forgive, but I never forget. – James J-Pierre
20. Negativity is like being stung constantly by a thousand bees. At first, it’s really annoying but after a few more stings it becomes toxic. – James J-Pierre
21. I hang around shepherds because I can’t talk to sheep. – James J-Pierre
22. The promise of easy money is but a wolf’s trap laid out for sheep seeking taller grass. – James J-Pierre
23. Pride keeps me ignorant, pride keeps me alive, pride keeps me from crawling on my knees to poor minded men who look down on people because they think being worth 13$ an hour is something to be proud of. – James J-Pierre
24. For a person who suffers from clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, there are two hells and one heaven. – James J-Pierre
25. Haters are like mosquitoes. If you don’t coat your skin, they will suck you dry. Some will infect you and watch from a distance as you slowly die. – James J-Pierre
26. Putting 10+ years at a job is like choosing to be a turkey on thanksgiving. – James J-Pierre
27. The little things count because if they didn’t you wouldn’t let something as small as a mosquito bother you. – James J-Pierre
28. The worst pain I had to face is the fight with myself. I’m unsure who to root for because they both want what’s best for me. – James J-Pierre
29. Don’t be like everyone else and pawn your dreams for pennies, because they’ll never give you what it’s truly worth. – James J-Pierre
30. Grown ups’ could learn a lesson from watching cartoons. – James J-Pierre
31. I could’ve quit long ago, but there wouldn’t be nothing to quit to, unless I was ready to commit suicide. – James J-Pierre
32. It was always about the money, but when you want to be successful and all you think about is the money, all you work for is the money… You will never be successful. You will be blinded and make mistakes especially when you are disparate, so I guess it never really was about the money. – James J-Pierre
33. A double sided sword is crafted under heat and pressure and comes out ever more beautiful because of it. – James J-Pierre
34. Becoming an entrepreneur is like walking through flames. You either ignore it, deal with it or be engulfed by it. You must realize when you make it, the burns will heal and you’ll become a better person because of it. – James J-Pierre
35. Though I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, having depression as an experience has opened my eyes to so many things. – James J-Pierre
36. Have and the have nots. Why do people say that, it’s stupid? I think it should be the gets and the get nots, that makes more sense. – James J-Pierre
37. Your dreams have to be like a cockroach, they have to be hard to kill and you have to be like that pesky mosquito that doesn’t know when to give up. – James J-Pierre
38. If my brain was examined, they’d call me crazy… and for a long time I thought I was. Articles, doctors and psychiatrist and a whole bunch of other people constantly tell me there’s something wrong with me, so how could I not believe it. I now realize I’m not crazy, I just have access to a different part of the brain. A part of the brain that will cause people to kill themselves, because it’s so hard to handle. – James J-Pierre
39. Whenever one of my family members would ask me what I was doing, because I was unemployed; I didn’t have a problem telling them because I was doing something they were not. – James J-Pierre
40. My father would laugh behind my back to other family members whenever he heard I was doing something new. “He wrote a book, what does he know about writing a book? What school did he go to, to be writing a book?” While he laughed and asked about my credentials, I to laughed because what someone would go to school for, I could simply go on YouTube, search the web or simply read a book from someone who’s done it before me. – James J-Pierre
41. I used to think there was a secret when it came to success, until I read a shit load of books and articles and realized the secret is the millionaires are getting rich off idiots like me who believe there truly is a secret. – James J-Pierre
42. The future is bright, but fools run straight ahead and get blinded then complain, because they didn’t prepare by simply wearing a pair of shades. – James J-Pierre
43. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the age excuse; that would probably be my shortcut to wealth. – James J-Pierre
44. People can’t stand to be alone with themselves, so they bother me when I’m trying to be alone with myself. – James J-Pierre
45. I stood in the isle thinking about my future, while the man next to me complained, but when I asked him what his dream was he never answered. – James J-Pierre
46. It pains me to have all this knowledge and no one to share it with, I’d have to say its number 3 on my list. – Of what causes me the most pain. – James J-Pierre
47. If you want the long road to success do it all by yourself. – James J-Pierre
48. In a time where everyone is searching for success, it’s easy for other so called entrepreneurs to live off them because they haven’t learned patience when it comes to money. – James J-Pierre
49. The day is always good, you just have to ignore the bad and look for the good. Remember it takes more muscle to frown then it does to smile, so smile for another day. – James J-Pierre
50. This journey I’m on is long and it’s difficult. I’ve been on it for a while, I’ve given up, went the wrong direction and took a few breaks , but now I want to setup a cabin to help my fellow entrepreneurs by giving them wisdom, food and water so that the road becomes easier for them. – James J-Pierre
51. Success is falling through hell until you appear on the top of heaven. – James J-Pierre
52. opportunities don’t make U turns. – James J-Pierre
53. Becoming an entrepreneur helped me overcome my depression and my depression helped me become an entrepreneur. – James J-Pierre
54. life is nothing more than a contradiction. – James J-Pierre
55. why are you treating haters like some type of incurable disease when they are no more than the common cold. they come and go. – James J-Pierre
56. I can take the pain now. I’ve had 9+ years of practice. Depression is the worst thing that has happened to me, but it’s also the best thing that has happened to me. – James J-Pierre
57. I was going to change my last name but i decided to keep it to see if success really is the best revenge and if it is, I want those that I used to call family to regret every single day of it. – James J-Pierre
58. Entrepreneurs are not made, they are born. Every single one of you are entrepreneurs, but only few realize what they are and build upon it. – James J-Pierre
59. Don’t upgrade your phone this year. upgrade your mind. – James J-Pierre
60. When you talk to people about an opportunity, they are so quick to call it a scam, but we know where the true scammers lie. Religion and schools are the biggest scams, but when you grow up knowing nothing else why question it, right? – James J-Pierre
61. Ignorance is toxic – James J-Pierre
62. A Penny saved is a dollar lost. A penny invested is a dollar earned. – James J-Pierre
63. I am not Facebook I don’t need any more users. – James J-Pierre
64. I tried all the magic pills people brought me for success – all I got were side effects. – James J-Pierre
65. I could live without cigarettes and drugs; I wasn’t born with them, but I can’t live without entrepreneurship because it’s in my DNA. – James J-Pierre
Self-employment has plenty of benefits. You set your own hours, choose your own clients and (for the most part) get to enjoy your day-to-day tasks. But self-employment is busy, or at least you hope it is. While business picks up, it’s easy to overlook important duties like keeping yourself healthy.
Being healthy lets you remain focused on your business, allowing you to reap the rewards of increased productivity and concentration. A healthy body begets a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is pliable and creative, empowering you to overcome day-to-day entrepreneurial challenges.
Staying healthy doesn’t necessarily require a P90X fitness routine or nutritionist-approved diet. Simple lifestyle changes, like nonchalantly eating a healthy snack between meals and stretching every hour, can have long-lasting results.
Here are six opportunities for you to improve your health while working for yourself.
1. Have an Office
Having someplace to call an office is crucial to your mental health — even if it’s a nook in your home. Create a space that is only used for work. That means avoiding the bed, couch or kitchen table. Bringing work activities to these areas can interfere with your brain’s ability to detach from work stressors, which can create mental ties that keep your mind occupied with professional obligations whenever you lay in bed, make a meal or watch TV.
When you’re designing or selecting an office space, consider what type of desk you want to use. Slaving away at traditional desk for long periods of time can leave you feeling lethargic, distracted and stiff. Practically anybody who has worked a typical office job can attest to this. Or you could consider a treadmill desk. A standing desk is another option. These variations are a trendy, healthy answer to sitting for nearly the entire workday.
If you work at a computer it’s important to invest in a comfortable, ergonomically sound chair. Choose a chair properly sized for you. It should keep your back and shoulders properly aligned throughout the day. While you’re at it, make time to stand up from your chair and stretch. Do this at least once an hour.
It’s easy to forget about stretching, so set an alarm or timer app on your phone or computer to remind you to stretch. Set it to go off at the top of every hour. Take five minutes, stretch, and walk around for a bit to let your body recover from prolonged sitting.
3. Subscribe to Regular, Moderate Exercise
As previously stated, working for yourself means you set the schedule. Use that to your advantage to find an exercise routine that you enjoy. Not sure what type of exercise you want to do? Try a few different options through a deal site before you commit to a monthly membership. This is also a great way to mix up your exercise routines, so you don’t become bored or stagnant in your exercise regimen. Whatever exercise routine you choose to adapt, remember to stay consistent and schedule time for your workout in the daily calendar.
4. Maintain a Work-life Balance
Making sure your work life doesn’t overthrow your personal time is tricky. Keep yourself accountable and balance your responsibilities by tracking your work hours and giving yourself hard start and stop times each day. Also, avoid working on weekends.
It’s helpful to take time away from your business and focus on improving other areas of your life, like pursuing passions and taking time to recharge. Taking time for yourself is shown to increase happiness, productivity and creativity, all valuable factors in your overall health.
Maintaining a proper work-life balance isn’t just about taking time for yourself. Make time for friends, family and your community, too. A strong sense of community and personal connections keep us healthy. Don’t let yourself invest too much in your business if it means sacrificing connections with friends and loved ones.
5. Stock Healthy Snacks
Self-employed workers are prone to being grazers and snacking throughout the day on whatever is available. It is easy to wander into the kitchen and grab the closest, potentially unhealthy snack. Instead of letting chips, soda, beer or candy be part of your daily snacking routine, choose to stock your kitchen counters with fruits and vegetables. Keep your delicious junk food hidden away in cabinets and make a concerted effort to make a healthy snack an easy alternative.
If you are unsure what constitutes as a healthy snack, do some research or opt for a snack subscription service that can deliver healthy snacks directly to your office.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Caffeine, grit and willpower only keep you functioning for so long. Like it or not, sleep is a necessary part of our daily lives. About 38 percent of U.S. adults report they don’t get enough sleep and unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once during the previous month. Being tired leads to sloppy work. Ensure you’re putting your best foot forward by getting a proper night’s sleep.
Spending eight hours or more dutifully working in front of a computer, five days a week takes its toll on your physical and mental health. You must concern yourself with burnout, avoiding eye strain and stalling tension neck syndrome, all while ensuring your business still meets its goals. But a bit of preparation and enough ample breaks can help you succeed on multiple fronts.
Take time to start putting these practices into your daily routine. You owe it to yourself and your business to be the best-possible version of yourself.
“Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death”. – Elon Musk
There is perhaps no better person than Elon Musk who understands the hard truth that entrepreneurs inevitably must face.
starting a new venture is not the glamorous, fun experience many have tried to sell us. Entrepreneurs are continuously outside of their comfort zone, putting in huge amounts of effort and risking time and money knowing that their project might end up failing anyway. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
However, some people are willing to go through this arduous process not just once, but many times during their lifetimes. “Serial entrepreneurs” start the hard process all over again, and again, and again. Why is it still worth it for them to repeatedly confront such difficulties?
Researcher Keith Sawyer makes the case: “Serial entrepreneurs keep starting new businesses as much for the flow experience, as for the additional success.”
But what is a “flow experience”? Flow is defined as an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best, and we perform our best. It happens in those moments of rapt attention, when we are so focused at the task at hand, that our sense of self vanishes, our perception of time is distorted and we just merge with the activity we are undertaking. Most major breakthroughs in the arts, sports, and science are attributed to flow states.
Well, it turns out that despite the miseries entrepreneurs must face, they also get to access the flow state very often. Many founders report times when they were able to achieve astonishing results that seemed to be beyond their abilities. Due to the fact that flow experiences can be amongst the most rewarding and significant of a person’s life, entrepreneurs are consciously or unconsciously very motivated to “get back to that place”.
In his seminal book “Flow”, researcher Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi explains: “The key element of an optimal experience is that it is an end in itself. Even if initially undertaken for other reasons, the activity that consumes us becomes intrinsically rewarding”.
Besides the positive feelings we experience during flow, it also functions as an extraordinary performance-enhancer. How extraordinary? Studies show an increase in performance of up to 500% during flow. Following these findings, it means that if we manage to increase time spent in flow by just 20%, our productivity will double. It is a complete game-changer.
As entrepreneurs, we are constantly facing life-or-death situations for our company. In such hazardous conditions, learning to access flow reliably might be the only way to perform at our highest level and overcome the obstacles that arise.
Fortunately, the flow state need not be an elusive experience that we occasionally stumble upon by chance. In recent years, scientific advancements have allowed us to learn the neuroscience behind the state and reverse-engineer the mechanics of getting into flow. Let’s see how you too can access the flow state reliably.
One of the best ways to prompt flow is by using “flow triggers” – circumstances that precipitate and accelerate the access to the state. By including them in our day-to-day activities, we’ll access flow more often and enjoy the associated benefits.
Flow trigger 1: High consequences
In order to survive, our ancestors learned to pay attention to dangerous situations that threatened their existence. Be it encountering a scary bear, climbing up high trees or getting kicked out of the tribe, they learned that situations with high consequences were worth paying attention to.
Besides, research shows that flow follows focus. Without a high degree of concentration and focused attention, flow simply cannot occur. This is why taking risks and exposing oneself to danger (in an astute way) is a wonderful focus mechanism that we can harness if we wish to access flow. The risks need not be physical; any type of social risk, emotional risk or creative risk will also trigger the state.
In practice: ask yourself: Where am I playing it safe at work? Am I avoiding a scary situation? How can I take more risks in my work? Make a conscious effort to identify how you can increase your risk-taking in a sensible way.
For example, if you’re nervous about asking for help to a mentor or getting feedback from your colleagues, just go ahead and do it anyway. Similarly, if you’re shy and feel uncomfortable answering client calls, again, just do it. By taking the risk, you’re more likely to enter flow. Once you get into flow, you can then harness that momentum and tackle other challenging situations in which you were stuck; you will find that seemingly impossible tasks become suddenly very possible.
Remember: no risk, no fun.
Flow trigger 2: Immediate feedback
The second flow trigger involves proactively seeking out regular feedback about your performance. In order to keep high concentration levels, the brain needs to know if the efforts directed towards completing a task or goal are in fact resulting in the desired outcome.
This is why many videogames are so addictive and can cause low-grade flow states: at any time, you know exactly how well you’re doing, because the game provides constant feedback.
Other types of sports and games humans have invented also have this characteristic. For example, if you rock climb (a very flow-prone activity), your body and brain receive immediate feedback about your performance. In other words, if you fall off the wall, you’ll know straight away. Feeding the brain with updates allows it to keep processing the new information and correct course based on it without losing focus.
In practice: Make sure to give and receive feedback from each member of your team on a daily basis. Check your KPI’s more often. Bottom line: Tighten the feedback loops. Put systems and procedures in place that let you and your team know very frequently whether you’re reaching your objectives or not.
Flow trigger 3: Clear goals
Another way that we can precipitate flow is by setting clear goals. Specifically, it is especially important to leave no ambiguity when defining goals. It must be absolutely clear what hitting the target means. The specificity element is key, because in this way the brain knows exactly what must be done, and is therefore able to let go of everything else and focus exclusively on accomplishing the task.
In addition, breaking down big goals into small, bite-sized tasks is also essential to pull this trigger. This is because every time we accomplish a small task, the brain receives a small hit of dopamine, which is a reward chemical. Accomplishing several of these small tasks in a row means that we’re linking hit after hit of these dopamine “rewards”, so that our attention keeps focused throughout the work session. As an example, instead of writing a full blog post, think about writing just two paragraphs.
In practice: At the end of your workday, define your 3 MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) for the next day. Try to set them challenging, yet feasible. The next morning, during the first 90 minutes, commit to tackle the 3 MIT’s you set out to accomplish. Leave out all distractions. As usual, the key here is consistency to be able to form the habit.
Flow trigger 4: The Challenge/Skill equation
Arguably the most important trigger of all, the challenge/ skill equation explains how flow occurs when the skill level and the challenge level of the activity are in balance. Let’s take a look at the following graph:
In 1, both skill level and challenge level are low. Low-grade flow can occur here, and it is one of the reasons why novices of any skill can have fun and experience a rapid rate of improvement in the beginning. However, flow experiences tend to become more remarkable once you move upwards along the flow channel.
At 2, flow won’t occur, because the challenge becomes then too easy to accomplish and therefore boredom is likely to arise. The way to come back to flow is simply to increase the difficulty of the task. Moreover, at 3, you also won’t experience flow, because the challenge is too hard for your skill level.
Ever played a chess/tennis/football match against someone way beyond your skill level and felt frustrated as a result? Me too (sucks, right?). Luckily, here too there’s a solution: increase your abilities; practice more until you feel confident enough to confront that challenge.
Finally, situation 4 is the most conducive to flow. With high skill level and a difficult challenge, we exert ourselves fully and put our abilities to the test. Finally, flow occurs: the prefrontal cortex is able to shut off and our subconscious mind takes over, with its advantages in speed and pattern recognition.
In practice: This trigger sounds great in theory, but implementing it is not easy, because it is necessary to acquire enough self-awareness to recognize the stage one is in before being able to adjust the skill level or difficulty level accordingly.
A good way to train this awareness is by practicing mindfulness (the app Headspace is a great way to start). In addition, try to consciously identify the level of skill and challenge you find yourself in. Ask yourself regularly: is this task/project too easy for me? Am I feeling bored? And also: is this task/project too hard for me? Am I feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed? The answer will vary from person to person, of course.
What might be easy for someone could be hard for another. Be honest with yourself, and don’t be ashamed of admitting both non-flow situations (boredom and stress/anxiety). Making the necessary adjustments and reaching flow as a result is well worth the effort.
Flow Follows Focus: Protect Your Attention
Even if you implement these four triggers in your work, flow is unlikely to occur if you get interrupted. As we mentioned earlier, flow follows focus. This is the reason why distractions are your kryptonite when it comes to accessing flow.
Study after study show that any kind of repetitive interruption such as app notifications, text messages, email, etc. while working affect profoundly our ability to concentrate, and so being in flow becomes almost impossible.
While many of us know this intuitively, we still let ourselves be constantly distracted by our devices, and here’s why: companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon are spending millions of dollars figuring out how to gain our attention; they’ve hijacked our attention spans by leveraging our neuronal reward systems so that we constantly keep coming back to check news feeds and click the ads that appear there. In doing so, they’re monetizing the time we spend on these platforms.
This is the reason why it is not enough to merely wish not to get distracted by our digital devices. It is not enough to have your phone upside down on the table. Instead, we must reclaim our ability to work without interruptions by proactively putting systems in place that will forcefully prevent us from mindlessly following our ingrained habits of email/text/newsfeed checking. Only in this way do we stand a chance to enter flow and produce our best work.
In practice: There are many software applications for your phone and computer specifically designed for this purpose. Start by installing “Freedom” for Mac and Windows. For your phone, install the app “Offtime”. Alternatively, buy a simple kitchen safe, put in your phone and lock the safe for a specific amount of focus time. Simplicity for the win.
Taking the time and effort to implement these changes will result in an increased amount of time spent in flow, which will dramatically increase your productivity, creativity and success in business. By going off our way to train ourselves in flow, we can then leverage the state to propel us much further, reaching new levels of performance.
Almost every successful individual in the modern world would have their inspirations. If it’s not a mentor, it’s a book. Jeff Bezos, the multi-billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon, is no different. He started out small, as an online vendor of books. Soon, however, it was books that shaped his leadership and entrepreneurial style.
The result of his interest in books is obvious today. Amazon has not only revolutionized the way books are sold and bought but also how they are published. Read on below for just a few of the books that inspired Jeff Bozos on the way to his outstanding success:
This book is written with the management perspective in mind, which is important for those who want to build successful companies. Within this book, one can learn how companies can succeed through their employees. After all, even the most motivated and talented of leaders cannot build a giant like Amazon without a decent team.
From here, then, Bezos learned how to make his employees become as committed to his mission as he was. He learned to encourage such a mindset by making a work environment conducive to it.
“Creation: Life And How To Make It” By Steve Grand
This book was penned by a video game designer. He is of the opinion that it is the basic building blocks that and the foundation of the most intelligent systems and output. From this notion, Bozos built up the concept of Amazon Web Services, which have been instrumental in popularizing cloud services around the world.
It is important to note here how Bozos is open to books that don’t necessarily tie in with his interests. As an avid reader, he is more interested in what he can learn from a well-written thought than how he can relate to it. This understanding and open-mindedness are what eventually promoted his success.
Collins is both an author as well as a consultant for those struggling businesses. In fact, the principles outlined in this book were brief to several Amazon executives even before it was published. This goes to show how invested Bozos is in what this book has to offer.
This book basically talks about how companies have to be prepared for not being perfect at everything. Companies, like individuals, have their own specialties and weaknesses. They must hence learn to hone the skills they are good at and forte about certain others.
It is only by getting to be the master in some areas that they can actually move forward. In this way, the different aspects of a company would strengthen each other instead of pulling it in different directions. This may partly be the foundation of how Jeff Bozos focused on his company and developed it according to the best strengths for it.
Innovation is all well and good, but it can also be a distraction from the true goal. This may be the thinking of someone who is just starting to see his business take off. However, this distraction and disruption are exactly what may make a business truly great in much broader areas.
This is what the book’s author tries to tell the reader. Not only Bozos, but other brilliant founders and CEOs like Michael Bloomberg have hailed the book for its remarkable brilliance.
The book itself located in the business genre and has outlined principles that probably made Amazon what it is today. Some experts say that it may even have led to the Kindle and AWS. Amazon may have started out as a simple book retailer, but it is by embracing disruptive technology and risking its main business that it has become such a giant.
This last book may be a bit of a surprise since it’s a novel. However, it is one of Jeff Bezos’ favorites, and hence worth getting into. Based on the First World War, this novel is a fictional narrative by a butler who served in the army during this time.
While the story is fiction, Bezos has said he was shaped and influenced by it more than the nonfiction books on his list. If you’re more of a fiction reader, you may want to pick this one up first! We’re definitely on our way to the bookstore right now.
Reading is probably the single most beneficial habit for people all around the globe. Jeff’s official reading list includes several genres, including business, technology, autobiographies, and novels. One can do worse than to get started on that list themselves. Who knows, the wisdom within them may propel the founding of another Amazon and revolutionize another important field!