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A quick Google search reveals the top five, 10, and even 33 things that all successful entrepreneurs do every day. They range from the common sense (keep a schedule) to the highly subjective (know your strengths).
If you’re feeling the weight of achieving success, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021; that’s 1 million more than the previous year, and an all-time record. If you want your business to be among the 10% that succeed, you’ve got to hack the code. Managing just one of the daily must-dos — health — can help you do just that.
Why is health important for entrepreneurs?
Most entrepreneurs, particularly new ones, believe that success means sacrificing everything. That could not be further from the truth. Success in business is rooted in self-care. A 2018 Mayo Clinic study revealed that only 27% of CEOs engage in any type of physical activity, and that 90% struggle with work-life balance. Those working more than 55 hours per week are 16% more likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. CEOs are also twice as likely as the public to suffer depression, and that might have something to do with working those 55+ hour weeks, and sleeping 6.7 or fewer hours per night.
Before you write that off as being “just the way it is,” consider the risks to your business. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts your ability to concentrate, make decisions and remember even basic information — how many times a day do you forget the same password? Ultimately, if you’re not prioritizing health, you’re putting yourself and your business at risk.
As the co-founder and CEO of multiple thriving health-focused companies, I’ve committed my fair share of health infractions. I know from experience that achieving work-life balance while in pursuit of the 33 must-dos is a pipe dream. I’ve also learned that an entrepreneur’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being is the foundation for success. If you’re not taking care of you, you can’t take care of business. That’s why it’s time for concrete advice that goes beyond suggestions to get organized or be persistent.
Connect your health and productivity apps to reduce time waste
We’re living in a mobile-first world and thoughtful use of your phone is critical to success. To put it into perspective: The average person spends nearly five hours per day on their mobile device. That’s the equivalent of 1,825 hours, which is just over 76 days, or 21% of a year. That’s largely due to app use, but at the same time apps are proven to work in favor of health and producitvity. A New York University study revealed positive short- and long-term trends in health for app users, including helping users to hone their attention to detail, at least when it comes to their health.
Decrease time waste by consolidating the number of apps you use for health and productivity. Commit to one app for meditation, calming and sleep. Likewise, for tracking exercise, water intake and food consumption.
Can’t give up your apps? Choose those that share information with each other. Many health and productivity applications are designed to connect to other apps and to your mobile phone’s inherent applications. Making these connections reduces the need for double entry of information. It also reduces time spent on your mobile device, freeing you up to run your business.
Engage in telehealth and do it more frequently
Entrepreneurs are notorious for having a health problem and doing nothing about it. Prior to the pandemic — and before the widespread availability of telehealth — an unpublished study from the University of California found that 72% of entrepreneurs self-report mental health symptoms of depression, ADHD, substance abuse and potential bipolar disorder. The findings are significant because national estimates indicate 19% of the total population are living with a mental health condition, making the proportion of entrepreneurs at risk much too high to simply ignore. And yet, that’s what most entrepreneurs seem to do with both mental health and general health. We focus on getting the job done rather than keeping ourselves in working order. That may be partly due to the time loss associated with medical care.
With telehealth now widely available, most of these time-loss factors are gone. It’s now possible to show up to a medical appointment without leaving your office. Technology, then, has removed many barriers and every excuse against entrepreneurs keeping connected to medical and mental health professionals.
Combine and conquer
You’ve heard the phrase “divide and conquer,” but when it comes to health technology, it’s better to combine and conquer. There is technology out there now that puts your health data at your fingertips, giving you the power to track your lab work, x-rays, and doctor’s notes just like you track your business metrics. More importantly, there are technologies forthcoming that combine your data with insights and prompts to visit the doctor, so that you know when it’s time to slow down the freight train.
My own company, Vasa Health, is building healthcare applications meant to simplify and bring meaning to health and wellness, while simultaneously giving patients more control over their healthcare with insights and total access to their health data and information. Our vision is to allow patients to download their latest lab work results, and also flag items for follow-up. It’s all about simplification. And it just might give you a few ideas on other places to combine and conquer, like buying a software technology that tracks your income, expenses and helps with taxes.
That ideal — that vision — comes from being a business owner who has slept three hours per night for a month straight, skipped the gym and has eaten a fast-food cheeseburger instead of cooking at home a few too many times in the pursuit of success. When it comes right down to it, simplifying your approach to your health with the right technologies is the most important thing you can do for your success.