Being overwhelmed and overworked can be a badge of honor for entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, who often feel that they have to take on the world alone. When asked, “How is business?” or “How are you?” we reply with how busy we are, how long our to-do list is, how stressed we feel or how much we need a vacation.
And while the overwhelm may feel real, it’s good to look at what’s driving it. Are we worried about how our friends, colleagues or family would react if we took care of our own needs first? Are we worried that they’d question our commitment or work ethic? Do we feel selfish for putting ourselves first?
The truth is this: Taking time out of the day for a long walk, going out to lunch with friends during a packed schedule or treating yourself to flowers instead of flash drives can actually help you stay focused, inspired and productive.
Here are four selfish changes to make in order to grow, or even save, your business:
1. Put Your Self-Care First. Do you believe that stress is required for business success? What if your self-care was the key to prosperity? Take time every day to do something for yourself, whether it’s a relaxed morning routine, a trip to the gym, a massage or even a 10-minute meditation. By putting your self-care first, you will gain more clarity, focus and energy to do your great work.
2. Put Your Relationships First. Have you put your relationships on the back burner to grow your business? I certainly did, but found myself feeling lonely and disconnected. At the end of our lives, I doubt we’ll say, “I wish I had worked more.” Instead, we might say, “I wish I spent more time with the people I love.” When business is tough, we lean on the people we love for support and encouragement. Nurture your relationships.
3. Put Your Time First. It may seem ineffective to take precious time out of your day to pamper yourself with a long lunch or a nap, but when you’re burning the candle at both ends, how productive do you really feel? Let’s face it: You can really only put in so many productive hours each day, so why force yourself to stare at a computer screen all day when you could be rejuvenating your soul while giving your brain a much-needed break? Taking ownership of your time increases productivity and clarifies what’s important.
4. Put Your Hobbies First. Has focusing on your business made you boring? If so, I can relate. After spending all of my time on my business, I realized I’d lost my enthusiasm for other important parts of life, and lost touch with the world outside of my work. By creating time for your hobbies and interests, you become more well-rounded and less fearful of failure in your business, which makes you a better decision maker and creates more perspective and peace.
If your business is struggling, stagnant or shifting and you are looking for a way to “fix” what is broken, take a look at how you can put your own desires and dreams at center stage. You will discover how being selfish is often the best thing you can do for your business.
Nisha Moodley is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.