Let me teach you the proper way to eat a cupcake!
Nah … just kidding.
Those life hacks are useless. You hear me! Useless!
So let’s talk something that isn’t.
Here’s a set of life hacks that have actually been entrepreneur-tested, either by me personally, or by other entrepreneurs that I know and trust.
1. Get good sleep
Okay, hear me out here. I know that you’ve probably heard this one before … yet you still fail to get enough sleep and then wonder why you need a gallon of coffee to get yourself going in the morning.
Mystery, isn’t it?
Whether we like it or not, sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives.
It’s funny actually, because on the one hand, scientists don’t really know why we sleep, but they’re also absolutely certain that prolonged lack of sleep can kill you.
Sleep is also one of my personal struggles. So in the process to make things better, I’ve learned:
- “You are only as happy as good your sleep is” – my friend once said. I couldn’t agree more.
- The less sleep you get, the harder it becomes to actually fall asleep (source). In other words, the longer you wait to fix your bad sleeping habits, the harder it gets.
- I have learned that I’m a completely different person when I don’t have enough sleep. This impacts my decision making ability and a range of other “qualities.” So when I had a bad-sleep night, I try not to make any important decisions that day, and also ignore any work-related frustrations I might have throughout the day.
Lesson: Do whatever it takes to get enough sleep. If you need to, put it on your to-do list, or even block out time in your calendar (e.g. “10pm-6am: sleep”). Do this even if your working day becomes shorter. Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor.
(One more reading recommendation to get yourself going and help you improve your sleep: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson.)
2. *Do* first, *think* later
This is the exact opposite of what your parents likely taught you.
Of course, this doesn’t apply in every scenario. But there are many where it does:
For instance, I tend to be reluctant when it comes to taking part in new projects/things that I know will help me grow in the long term, yet I don’t feel like doing them today.
When I catch myself in that mindset, I stop, realize the situation, and just throw myself into the project anyway. Over time, I’ve learned that my body and/or mind will adapt and will find solutions.
- Just a few years ago, I had a very comfortable side-job. Things were good by all standards, but I had 0 motivation to explore new stuff. So, I quit. At first, it wasn’t easy, but it got me to where I am today, and this would have never happened if I had stayed in that job.
- I really wanted to attend a Startup Weekend event. For those of you who don’t know, this isn’t some conference where you can spend your time passively just listening to folks. If you’re there, it means that you’re willing to work and talk about what you’re working on – not always the most comfortable setting. I had my doubts, but I just decided to not pay attention to any of them and flew from France to Targu Mures for my first event. It was scary, but ended up being a great experience.
- I like to travel and attend different conferences. So, one day I figured that it would be a good idea to speak as well. If that doesn’t sound scary to you then congrats, you’re one of the few people on the globe (!) who aren’t more scared of public speaking than death (no joke). But then a couple of months have passed and I’ve realized that I’m not doing anything to make that idea a reality. So in a radical step, I just applied to speak at WordCamp, and I got accepted. I still am scared as hell, but I have forced myself to find solutions and make it an overall awesome experience.
Remember, you are actually much stronger than you think!
3. Get a massage
This really is a surprising hack. It almost sounds too simple.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to think that our bodies are separate from our minds. That the condition of one doesn’t impact the condition of the other. But that doesn’t really make sense.
When you’re stressed – and as an entrepreneur you surely are stressed, a lot – your whole body is stressed. Being stressed is not just a state of mind.
It just so happens that a massage helps you alleviate that stress quickly, and make you feel better overall.
Just try this and see how it plays out:
End each week by taking a good massage, just to set your mind in the right direction for the weekend.
Or, go the opposite route. Begin your week with a massage on Monday.
Massages tend to have a great ROI, at least for me. The maths on this is easy. If you earn some $ / hour, then if you improve your productivity by even just 10%, this increases your income very noticeably.
4. Invest in yourself early and take risks
Many people in their 20s set the main focus for themselves on saving money or taking the path of least resistance when it comes to their career. They don’t like to take risks. They accept one job over the other just because they get $100 extra per month, without really caring about what they will do on the job or what they’ll learn in the process.
I wasn’t a good student. By my 3rd and 4th year I have already applied for 100s of jobs. No one wanted to hire me … probably because my only experience was online games.
Anyway, when I finally did get a job, I decided to maximize my learning at all costs. I didn’t care about how much money I would make (I used to live on very little) as long as I could invest that money in self-education.
I also have a natural laziness in me towards repetitive tasks, so I basically can’t do the same thing twice. This helped me avoid wasting time on tasks from which I had nothing to learn.
Many really big companies end up treating people like robots. They want to organize the company processes to highest efficiency, and people are only cogs in that machine. Even though they might pay well, you don’t wan to be in such a position in your 20s.
Or as Jack Ma says, as a 25-year old person, any mistake is a wonderful revenue for you.
5. Learn to disconnect
From messing up our minds by requiring us to multitask, to giving us eye strain and internet addiction, being plugged into technology at all times is ruining our lives.
Quite literally. Disconnect.
Go take a walk. See the nature outside. Take a swim. Go hiking. No iPod, no Endomondo. Just you sans technology.
Also, take a few moments each day to think about what you’ve accomplished. This will help you stay on track.
What are your entrepreneurial struggles?