plugin and train your brain

Being an entrepreneur is a difficult road to walk. With the pressure of running your own show, generating your profits, and doing every other thing under the sun, it can take a toll on your mental health quickly. Staying healthy, happy, and sane suddenly don’t seem like priorities anymore when you’re chasing down a dream (and a paycheck.)

There are a zillion articles about productivity out there. This is not another one. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s critical to stay mentally healthy so that you can continue to do whatever you do. Someone who is struggling with stress, anxiety, or even depression is not the best business person they can be.

Hack Your Mental Health

You want to do more than survive your entrepreneurial journey. You want to thrive. What’s the point of going after a dream if that dream makes your miserable?

Hack your mental health by working when you’re at your peak, minimizing distractions, and turning down offers.

Work When You’re At Your Peak

Forcing your body and brain to work when they are at rock bottom might seem like par for the course when it comes to being your own boss. It’s true that you might have to put in late nights and early mornings to see growth and increase your profits.

However, there comes a limit to how much you can push yourself, and how productive you can be when you’re working at less than premium times.

For example, I’m not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. Trying to sit down and write first thing in the morning is a disaster for me. I seek out distractions and end up wasting more of my time overall.

However, dedicating my mornings to organization, planning, and exercise (yes, exercise) helps me get some work out of the way, work on physical wellness, and clears my afternoon for the writing work I need to do. I assign different work tasks to align the hardest with when I hit peak production. For me, 2-6pm is when I do my best work, so I do the majority of my writing then.

Don’t try and fit a round peg into a square hole. Go with the natural rhythm of things to keep yourself happy and productive.

Minimize Distractions

By now it’s common knowledge that humans don’t multitask as well as we think we do. Minimizing distractions is a great way to hack your mental health. You can focus on one task in front of you and keep stress at bay.

Start by keeping phones or tablets in another room while you’re doing work on your computer. Turn off messaging on your computer as well.

If you’re working on a project, open a new tab and leave everything else minimized. You don’t need to have your email open while you’re designing a new logo.

Focusing on one thing at a time leads to greater productivity and less stress. When you try to split your concentration you can become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you think you have to do. Knocking things off your list one at a time helps eliminate that stress.

Learn To Say No

If you deal with social anxiety, or feel anxious about business growth, you might be tempted to say yes to everything that comes your way. You want to please people and you don’t want to lose out on the money you could make.

Overcommitting comes with its own set of problems though. You can do lower quality work, increase stress levels, and wind up doing things you don’t even really want to do.

By saying no you can pick and choose projects you want to work on. Feeling passionate about work is another way to hack your mental health- we want to work on things we feel passionate about. By saying no to one thing you open the door to say yes to something else you really want.

It seems obvious that we need to take care of our mental health, but too often we push it to the side. Make it easier for yourself and hack your mental health to see better results and to feel happier. This is your life, not a dress rehearsal. You should enjoy yourself.

Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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