It’s that time of year when winter becomes a distant memory, the sun reemerges and every afternoon we hear a lawnmower’s engine in the neighborhood. Every night I smell a feast being cooked on a nearby barbecue. It’s a great time of year. And with the better weather comes temptation to slack off a bit. After all, we’ve been busting our butts since the start of the year, closing deals, growing businesses and making things happen. We deserve some serious time off, right? Not quite. The opportunity cost of relaxing right now could be massive.
It’s not summertime just yet; and every year, at about this time, many entrepreneurs like to put things on cruise control to catch their breath. They’re burnt out, for lack of a better word. Unfortunately for those who are tired, this is the time of year when business activity picks up the pace. The spring is when major deals are closed, consumers are back in shopping mode and the housing market picks up steam. Generally speaking, economic activity in Q2 (spring) is strong. As such, this is one of the worst times of year to lose motivation… there is too much opportunity for you to check out prematurely.
I’m not trying to lecture other entrepreneurs on work ethic. Not at all. I too get burnt out or demotivated from time to time, and it usually hits me around spring. That’s why I’m writing this article. I’ve figured out 5 key activities and practices that help me stay on track and perform at a high level during a crucial time of year for my businesses.
Top 5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Cure Burnout
1. Start taking daily breaks in nature: I know what you’re going to say – “I don’t have time to take a leisurely stroll in nature”. Yes, you do. All it takes is 15 minutes everyday to go outside for a walk or run in nature. And I’m not talking about walking through the streets of the city. You need to be around greenery, trees, birds, water, mountains. Taking a daily break in nature for 15 minutes will do wonders for your energy level and frame of mind. We are so busy throughout our days that we seldom are alone with our thoughts. Nature gives us the opportunity to relax and think. And when you are relaxed, you come up with your most creative ideas, which can be applied to your business. Trust me on this one, take 15 minutes a day to go for a run or walk in nature.
2. Read a nonfiction inspiring story: During a time of year when motivation can be lacking, there is no better pick-me-up than reading about an amazing story where someone, in real life, defied the odds. It can be a short story or a novel. Either way, it’ll help you recharge and get motivated. Just make sure it is nonfiction so you can relate to it in some form or another. One nonfiction inspiring novel I would highly recommend reading is Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. Another great read, which explains how to stay disciplined, creative and motivated is Turning Pro, by Steven Pressfield.
3. Go to bed early and rise early: Although I am very much a night owl, I love being up at the crack of dawn. Going outside early in the morning and breathing in that crisp air gives me an energy boost better than any amount of caffeine. It just gets me on the right track, right out of the gates. However, if I don’t get my ass to bed early, which can be tough because I am a night owl, I’m going to be exhausted. To stay energized and motivated, you have to do both. General Lee told his soldiers in the Confederate Army that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight. As such, he was always in bed by 10pm.
4. Establish a workout routine: As an entrepreneur we take on a lot of stress and responsibility. We need an outlet for that stress otherwise it’ll end up draining us and stop us from performing at a top level. For me, there is no better stress reliever than an intense workout, which involves both weights and cardio. At minimum, I workout 4 days per week between 45 minutes to an hour. That involves a minimum of 30 minutes of heavy lifting and 15 minutes of anaerobic. When I leave the gym, I’m drenched, and I feel like a million bucks. I truly get a buzz from knowing I busted my ass in the gym, and you will too.
It is vital you take on a healthy lifestyle that involves intense workouts. I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs get caught up in their work, claim they don’t have enough time to workout so they never do, and then start doing unhealthy activities to de-stress or unwind (such as drink often, smoke, eat too much etc). This leads to weight gain and potential health issues later in life. My workout routine keeps me operating at the highest level possible. It brings the best out of me in the business world. Plus, when you look good, you feel good, and people can see that positivity when you meet with them.
5. Take a mini-vacation: If you find yourself burnt out, and nothing is helping you recharge, get out of town for a weekend. Go by yourself, or take your significant other along; the only rule is that you leave your cell phone and computer behind (and your significant other must do the same). This is 48 hours of ‘you time’. If you completely disconnect from work, your mind will be able to relax and, come Monday, your batteries will be significantly recharged.
The best entrepreneurs in the world consistently operate at a very high level. They are always motivated, can handle stress in a healthy and productive way and are able to perform at peak levels longer than the majority.
Spring can be a very tempting time of year to take your foot off the gas. I urge you not to as this is one of the most lucrative times of year for many entrepreneurs. Use these 5 tips to stay motivated during a season in which many slack off and fall behind.