What story have you been building in your head? What stories are you telling yourself?…
Entrepreneurs are constantly on the move. They are seeking new clients, performing tasks for current clients, working their social media, banking, interviewing new hires… the list goes on. All of these items and more take up a lot of space in their heads. Paying attention to your thoughts and practicing mindfulness should be part of your business strategy. Have you ever wondered how entrepreneurs can be more mindful? It’s something we talk about at our practice.
Unlock potential through mindfulness
Before we go any further we should explain what mindfulness is:
- Being present
- Regulating your attention
- Practicing gratitude
- Looking at life with an attitude full of openness, acceptance and curiosity
- Not taking blessings and successes for granted
As an entrepreneur you need to regularly check in with yourself and pay attention to your thoughts. During those check-ins you will want to make adjustments to the way in which you’re reacting and breathing. Make note of how shallow your breathing likely is when you’re stressed or trying to do too many things at one time. Multi-tasking is not your friend and won’t let you get more done – it will simply scatter focus and add to anxiety.
Chances are you have heard that mindfulness is associated with meditation and it can be, but doesn’t necessarily have to. Mindfulness can, and should, be part of an entrepreneurs’ daily routine.
How Entrepreneurs Can Be More Mindful
You can practice a mindfulness habit any time of the day (and anywhere)
Mindfulness is a way of life. People who practice mindfulness are operating in the present and take time to check their emotions and thoughts and make note of how they are responding.
Why should an entrepreneur practice mindfulness?
There are many reasons; the biggest of which is your overall health. Most entrepreneurs deal with uncertainly, a lot of responsibility especially if they have employees or are the sole breadwinner, and stress… lots of stress.
Here are a few reasons to practice mindfulness.
- It will improve your health. When you’re anxious and stressed out, your health suffers. Practicing mindfulness will help lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, reduce your overall stress, reduce chronic pain and boost your immune system and could even improve your sleep.
- Your decision-making processes will improve. When you’re fatigued and stressed your cognitive abilities suffer.
- Being mindful can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Help stave off burnout. Entrepreneurs typically work long hours on projects or with clients whom drain them mentally and physically.
How can you incorporate mindfulness into your daily habits?
- Make a schedule that is doable. If you’re adding dozens of tasks to the day and you know you can’t possibly get through them all you’re adding to your stress from the get-go. If you have recurring tasks, write them down. Write down longer term tasks and projects with the knowledge that they need to be done, but not today.
- Take a walk. Schedule time in your day for a short walk. If possible, get up and move every hour for at least five minutes. Walk. Do jumping jacks. Do some lunges or deep stretches.
- Get into a routine. If you don’t have a routine it can add to your stress. A routine, for an entrepreneur is a way to feel more in control – even if your day gets out of control.
- Create structure in your day. Know that you will get up, walk the dog, eat breakfast, read the paper and spend time with your partner or the children before the day starts. Know that your day will consist of meetings, client work, phone calls and even commute time. All of this creates a structure and structure alleviates stress.
- Know when your energy is the highest. When you know when your energy is the highest you can schedule your day to tackle the tasks that require your focus and energy. Save mundane tasks for those times of the day when you’re winding down.
- Keep control of your day and your schedule. For example, make “no morning meetings” or “no Friday phone calls” a non-negotiable. Only you can control your schedule and keep it from getting away from you. Yes, we know as an entrepreneur there will be those times when you have to shift gears, but know that it doesn’t have to be every time or every day.
- Work with a mindful attitude. Stay focused and intentional with your day. When you feel your body tensing up and your breathing becoming shallow, stop and listen to your body. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes for a few moments. Create a mantra for yourself that is calming or turn on music that calms you. Add a small desk fountain in your office; the sound of running water calms most people.
Check in throughout the day on both your progress and how your mind and body are feeling. Staying in control of your thoughts will help you stay in control of your day. Being mindful just might make you a happier and healthier entrepreneur.
If you are an entrepreneur or know an entrepreneur who could benefit from, or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, stress and depression because of the coronavirus pandemic, reach out to a mental health professional. You are not alone, and there are ways to cope with the unsettling times we are facing.