The longer I am in business, the more I appreciate the importance of managing my entrepreneurial energy. In the early years of my business, it was as simple as getting up, getting a bunch of stuff done, and then calling it a day. That's still the big picture, but now that my business has matured some (and hopefully me, along with it), I am discovering that the “just get ‘er done” approach is not as enjoyable.
Have you been experiencing energy depletion lately? Do you sometimes feel like the amount of energy needed to lead your business is not what it used to be? Maybe your life has changed in ways that require you to shift some things around. Sometimes, you need to shake things up a bit so you don't fall into a dreadful rut.
Whatever the case, if you are finding that your entrepreneurial energy could use a boost, then this post is for you. Here are 10 things you can do to better manage your entrepreneurial energy, so you can get the results you want.
- Assess your life.
Do this first. Don't change anything until you look at where you are in your life. Are you recently divorced? Recently married? Are you a new parent? Have you moved to a new city recently? Do you have new health issues?
Any one of these things will require you to shift how you manage your entrepreneurial energy. Monitor your current routine for a few weeks and you'll start to notice times of the day and activities that are not as fulfilling as they once were. They are draining you more, or they are simply not as enjoyable as they once were. Look for patterns.
Record your observations. This gives you a baseline to work from. Do this for a full work week before trying out any of these suggestions so you have a starting point to assess what works and what doesn't work.
- Discover the time of day when you do your best work.
I used to do my best work at night. I thought it was because I was a night person, and maybe that was true at the time. But it also could have been because my children were young, and I had no choice but to work more at night. Either way, it has become clear to me over the past several months that I do my very best work in the morning … the earlier the better.
As a result of this observation, I have shifted my work day to be all but completed by two o'clock or so, unless I have to meet with someone on the west coast.
This allows me to get my best work done in the morning, and enjoy other aspects of my life during the afternoon and evening. Most days, I will return to my desk intermittently throughout the evening, and for a bit after everyone is settled, to tend to smaller projects. I check email, engage in the Indie Business Network Secret Facebook Group, confirm my schedule for the next day, etc. This has saved me a ton of time and made me feel positive about when and how I work. That, in turn, has boosted my energy level.
- Keep moving.
I am the world's worst exerciser. I hate to exercise. I recently started taking meetings on my treadmill. I tried to actually work on it, but I type super fast, and doing so without stabilizing my arms really slows me down. But I do host some meetings while walking slowly on the treadmill.
I have also recently taken up running again, and the increased movement in my life has paid off in spades.
The point here is to make room for more movement in your life. It doesn't have to be a marathon. Just a little bit of added movement will help your day run more smoothly. Your muscles won't tighten up as much and your circulation will improve. If you're like me, you will also begin to think more clearly so you can get more done in less time. Small amounts of added movement deliver big results.
- Temper your enthusiasm for new things.
OK, so, Periscope. Oh my Gawd! I have played with it a bit, but not going full bore into the world of Periscope makes me feel so good. I cannot tell you how many people have asked me to Periscope.
I love the idea, and I have enjoyed the few “scopes” I have hosted and attended. But you know what? Right now, it would just be an energy drain to create a Periscope strategy.
I am telling you this not to discourage you from using Periscope. (In fact, if you are a Maker, Periscope is a wonderful tool to help you showcase your products and build community around your brand.) I am sharing this because I want to encourage you to avoid slowing your momentum by checking out every new thing that comes along.
Most things are not nearly as exciting in the long run as they are at first, and chances are that whatever projects you are working on now are critically important to your business. Keep doing those things and check out Periscope (and all the rest) as you go. Do not stop the train to play with new stuff, whatever it is.
Be consistently enthusiastic about doing what works in your business. Fold in the new things as they come along and as you intentionally find the energy to add them in.
This brings me to my next point …
- Avoid shiny objects … unless they serve you.
If you cannot resist the urge to try out bright and shiny things, do fast so you can quickly determine whether or not they will serve you well. If they won't, drop them like the hottest potatoes.
Be intentional about it. There is new stuff all the time, and the truth is that you have to stop what you are doing from time to time to check out new things. Otherwise, you and your business become stale and “so last year.” Having said that, you have to do this quickly and with intention. If it looks like it could help you achieve a specific business goal, give it a try. I may not work out, but that's part of the game. You can always stop.
Only pursue the bright and shiny that serves you. Everything else will suck you dry and kill your entrepreneurial energy.
- Eliminate negativity. Just eliminate it. All of it.
Even the brightest waste-of-time shiny object will not deplete your energy like negativity will.
Eliminate negative people.
Eliminate negative social media.
Eliminate negative television shows.
Eliminate negative family members.
Eliminate negative friends.
I know, I know. You cannot put your negative family members out on the street. I get that. But you can marginalize their negativity. You can refuse to participate in their negative talk. You can leave the room when it starts.
You simply must put a hedge around yourself, or you are doomed as an entrepreneur.
This is not easy to do, but it's also not complicated. Don't over-think this one.
When negativity comes your way, go the other direction. Period.
- Treat your body well.
Part of this is just about moving. The rest is about making sure you get enough rest and enough sleep. They are not the same thing. Studies show that most people need at least seven hours of sleep a night in order to enjoy life, fight infection, and remain effective. If you are not getting that, and you lack energy, that is probably a part of the reason why.
If you have babies, you are going to lose some sleep. If you're engaged in the last push before a new product launch, you are going to lose some sleep. That's fine, just be sure you make up for it with naps during the day, or even a retreat if you need it to refresh yourself.
Get adequate rest and eat well. I am not the best at the eating part. I am ferocious about my sleep and rest, however, and lately, I have been using a juicer and a blender to get more vegetables into my diet. Whenever I do so, I find that I am able to maintain an increasingly large energy well.
I'm working on creating the right fruit and vegetable juicing/blending system for me. For now, I'm getting started, and I already notice how energetic I feel toward my life and my business when I get in my smoothies and juices.
I have a ways to go in this area, but I am getting better every day.
- Vent when needed.
For a few minutes one day recently, I hated life. Then, I texted one of my best friends and we set up a time to talk that evening. I immediately felt relieved, and a return of the energy I needed to get through my last few family related projects of the evening. When I finally spoke with my friend, I felt the positive energy begin to return. I was able to sleep soundly, and I awoke refreshed and ready for a new day.
Sometimes, you just need to let off steam to get your entrepreneurial mojo back. Exercise is of course a great way to do this, but there are times when the ear of an understanding friend can replenish your energy better than all the exercise and healthy eating in the world.
- Look forward to the future.
Whenever I feel my entrepreneurial energy level declining, especially in the middle of a workday or an important project, I pause for a moment to consider the future and what it will look like. That's not to say that I discount the present, but studies do show that people who have something fun to look forward to are happier and more relaxed.
Whether it's a trip to an exotic location (like #IndieCruise), a new movie I'm excited about seeing (like The Perfect Guy, due out September 11!), or plans for Connection Day in New York City in a few weeks, when I think about fun things I have planned for the future, my energy level starts to rise.
- Decide that every day is the best day ever.
Entrepreneurship is hard, but I have learned to take a tip from my good friend and fellow IBN member, Anne-Marie Faiola, and declare that every day is the best day ever, period. (You should follow Anne-Marie. Mountains of positive energy there.)
If I have no sales today, it's still the best day ever.
If someone unfairly criticizes me today, it's still the best day ever.
If I don't manage to finish all of the day's projects, it's still the best day ever.
If my website goes down and I have to wait hours for it to come back up, it's still the best day ever.
No matter the problem, if you declare that it's the best day ever anyway, you are literally speaking more energy and forward motion into existence.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network
It sounds simple, and it is. I don't know exactly how it works, but I can tell you from experience that it does.
Start with assessing where you are now in your life, and where you want to be, and then try some of the things suggested here. I bet they will make as much of a difference in your life, and your energy level, as they are making in mine.
What will you try first? What types of things do you do to manage your entrepreneurial energy? I invite you to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.