(Expansion) – There is no doubt that the road to entrepreneurship is long and that, in many ways, it alters the rhythm of the entrepreneur’s life: They answer the phone all the time (it can be an opportunity for the business), they attend continuous meetings , especially the non-programmed ones, they are behind external support, finance and production issues are attended to, etc.
The desire to be successful leads most entrepreneurs to work hard every day, until they accumulate between 60 and 70 hours a week, which is not recommended, since it far exceeds the ideal weekly work time to live a full and balanced life. Generally, the entrepreneur neglects a vital aspect: if you want the business to go well, the first thing that must be well is you.
Continuous pressure can cause serious physical and mental problems if not managed properly. Being under pressure is different from being stressed: according to experts, while stress is the day-to-day life that keeps you alert and helps you spot opportunities, pressure has more to do with an excess of the future; “ Tension improves yields. The pressure exhausts and burns ”, recalls Eduardo Lazcano , author of the book Emotional Communication (Edit LID, 2017).
There are many successful entrepreneurs who have belatedly faced everything from rashes to hernias to heart problems. A Spanish entrepreneur, Alejandro Artacho, narrates: “I got up at 5:30 on Monday morning to travel to London and returned on Wednesday night, to start on Thursday in Madrid and intensively follow the rest of the week… Added to that is being on the phone all day. I fell asleep and woke up looking at my phone. I ate terrible, I slept terrible, in two years I gained 20 kilos and, as my girl told me, every day I was more sour, more unhappy ”.
Indeed, experts believe that there are many risks at the mental level that can cause overwork and pressure, including: anxiety, depression, chronic stress, insomnia and exhaustion (burnout), regardless of whether you can fall into fatigue. mental illness and the consumption of psychoactive substances. All this can lead to hypersensitivity, inability to make decisions and lack of emotional regulation.
Sleep in particular is the first thing you lose when you’re under pressure. When you come home from a long day under the pressure of finishing a project, planning a release, and/or solving a series of issues on the fly, you notice a series of unresolved issues and dedicate yourself to “moving forward”. ” as much as you can and schedule the next day’s activities, and when you finally get to bed, it takes forever to sleep, as your brain is still revved up.
Not getting enough sleep can have effects that will impact performance at work, for example: loss of attention, impaired memory, negative impact on decision-making, loss of concentration, poor blood supply to the brain, and slowed down reaction time.
The pressure of entrepreneurs to get their project off the ground soon makes it difficult for them to disconnect from the activity for a reasonable time and rest physically and mentally. The question then arises: how long should an entrepreneur take for a vacation?
There are experts who say that an entrepreneur should take at least one week every quarter. This is enough time to: relax and restart with a clear mind towards the objectives of the next quarter; reset the biological clock; plan the next steps, reflect and appreciate everything you already have. Working longer hours is not necessarily synonymous with higher productivity. The important thing is to achieve a balance and get out of the “I have to” routine (to be available, to be present, to multiply myself, etc.), because that is living according to the agenda of others.
Balancing involves taking short breaks doing something other than work. An insurance company in Mexico built a labyrinth, similar to the one in Chartres, for its employees to relax during working hours. You could walk around the block, read a chapter of a book, etc. Another balancing factor is learning to say “no” without feeling guilty.
This implies preventing someone from trying to interfere with your plans and objectives of family life or personal tastes. In the same way, schedule your hours to check email and chats; Ideally, all of this should be within working time to respect personal time.
Ultimately, you can achieve balance if you make a point and stick to not working more than 40 hours a week. It probably sounds crazy to you, especially when you are starting your business, but it is proven that 40 hours a week is the ideal point to keep unnecessary stress and overwhelm at bay; In fact, in some of the most competitive countries in the world, it is illegal to work more than 48 hours a week.
Editor’s note: Pedro López Sela is Team Principal of ExO Builder, the most diverse global ecosystem of technological entrepreneurship in the world. He has co-founded 10+ companies and trained 5,000+ people in almost all sectors in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He is a globally recognized innovation, business, and entrepreneurship author. As an international speaker, he has shared stages with Peter Diamandis, Bob Dorf, Salim Ismail, Jeff Hoffman, to mention a few. Follow him on and on . The opinions in this column belong exclusively to the author.