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Thought Leadership

Time is one of the most precious resources for us all, and for First Generation Entrepreneurs (FGE), there never seems to be enough of it. Not enough time for family, friends, clients or the everyday details of running a business. And we certainly never have enough time for ourselves. 

In the beginning stages of business, the FGE needs every advantage possible. While it may seem like you have to work 24 hours a day to keep up with your ever-expanding list of things to do, studies increasingly show that those extra hours don’t add any additional value to your company.

You may answer more emails, make more calls, and file more paper if you work through dinner, but you’re unlikely to think creatively or accomplish goal-oriented tasks that translate into a more sustainable business long-term. The path of least resistance is to simply work more. But you need to think differently.

Thinking differently means adopting strategies and priorities that allow you to take care of yourself so you can take care of your business. 

Here are a few tips to managing your workload:

Focus only on what will really move you forward

Remember: working longer isn’t necessarily working smarter. Carefully consider the essential tasks you must do, those that you can delegate, and those you can simply ignore.  Maximize your efforts, energy, and supreme skills in the areas that matter most.

Pro Tip: Being meaningful about where and how you spend your time is not a balancing act. See our blog Balance is out. Integration is in. for more on how to thoughtfully integrate to lead a happier, more productive life.

Develop a written plan.

Document your plan on paper, on your laptop, or in Google docs — whichever is more comfortable for you — because the sheer act of putting your plan in writing commits you to it, as well as makes you more thoughtful. You have to know where you’re going in order to get there. Once you’ve created your plan, develop a rhythm to routinely and systemically review and tweak it to ensure it becomes reality. 

Take some time away.

Block time away from the day-to-day pressures and distractions to observe your business through a different lens. Get out of the office and give your mind and body the freedom to think, be creative and relax. You may view the time away as a cost when really it is the best investment you can make in yourself and your business. If you train yourself to take time away on a regular schedule, your business will thrive, your marriage will be happier, and you’ll live a longer life.

Stumped? Check out our blog TWO EASY STEPS FOR FINDING “ME TIME” AS AN ENTREPRENEUR for tips on how to avoid doing things you hate, and making time for yourself.

Make exercise a part of your daily routine

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run a marathon or train for an Ironman. Entrepreneur magazine said it’s not important where you exercise, how you exercise or even how long you exercise. What really matters is that you just take the time to do it. Exercise reduces stress, has undeniable health benefits, and keeps the brain sharp. Little decisions you make throughout the day —like parking in the back of a parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for a brisk walk at lunch—can make a difference.

Like any other resource, your energy is a precious and limited commodity. Pressing yourself longer, harder, and faster may make your to-do list look good today, but it will likely lead to exhaustion and burnout. What’s worse, when you exhaust yourself every day you’ll have zero energy to spend on strategy and business growth. 

How do you take care of yourself and manage the pressures of being a FGE? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!