There’s an unrelenting amount of determination, perseverance, and trust required to be successful in the world of startup. Growing a startup from scratch is an emotional rollercoaster for entrepreneurs, and it takes a certain level of resilience to deal with stress that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

The psychological cost of running a startup is real and tests the entrepreneur at every step of the way. No one day is the same and that uncertainty and anxiety coupled with the pressure of time and money, could lead to chronic worry, stress, and in some cases, burn out both for the entrepreneur and the employees. Here are six essential habits to incorporate into your lifestyle to avoid overstretching yourself.

1. Fail fast, but thoughtfully

People often confuse “fail fast” with “mediocrity”; however, that is not how it should be perceived. In startups, time is not always on your side, so the approach of iterative learning should be incorporated to stay relevant and succeed faster.

The faster you make changes and move through the cycle of create, transform, reiterate, the sooner you can move towards the next big idea. Focus on moving quickly rather than achieving perfection because the cost of attaining that often exceeds the benefits. One caveat: don’t consider being thorough for being hasty.

2. Use a to-do list differently

Create a to-do list a day before—so you wake up with the planned and structured mindset. Entrepreneur’s to-do keeps growing, and that adds stress and a feeling of unfulfillment.

The trick here is to prioritize the tasks and use the “strike out” approach. Tick off the tasks as soon as you finish it and start with the two small tasks. More checked items you see during the start of your day, better motivated you will be for the rest of the day.

3. Burn it all

There’s a reason why people use the phrase “sweat it out.” Exercising helps reduce stress and bumps up the production of endorphins, feel-good chemical. From playing a sport, running to yoga, or going to a gym, do anything that interests you.

Use that time as “me time”—something which is free of distractions and interruptions. Working out every day for 20 minutes helps strengthen your mind, body, and muscle and better prepare you for the unknown challenges of the startup.

4. Mindfulness Meditation 

Nothing is more calming and relaxing than 15-minute meditation. It helps you ease your mind and boosts you with positive energy, which is an essential requirement in a startup environment—that’s often filled with anxiety and stress.

Entrepreneurs need to be vigilant, think quickly, make quick decisions, and juggle between multiple tasks at the same time, daily. That’s where practicing Mindfulness meditation helps—from increasing focus and clarity, this technique results in dramatic physical and psychological benefits.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

People talk about Mindfulness meditation and mention it as a pretty useful technique to reduce stress and improve focus, but how many of us know what it is?  

The founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn, has defined mindfulness meditation as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

It is a technique of focusing on breath and body sensations and evaluating distracting thoughts and emotions, in an unbiased manner. A method that focuses on giving attention to the “now” and regulating the way and style in which we react to daily thoughts and feelings.

5. Celebrate wins

Celebrating wins and achievements is the most important thing to practice, but often the most neglected. It is imperative to understand the positivity and reinforcement it brings to both the entrepreneur and the employees.

The startup life is a race, and every person carries/does more than their job description. The environment is stressful, and the list of to-dos is never-ending, which often leaves next to zero time to take a break and appreciate the achievements, which can create a more stressful and ungrateful setting.

The solution is to understand that you won’t find the time, but you have to make time to celebrate wins, even if it’s a small one, as this will help boost morale and increase productivity and reduce negativity.

6. Learn to delegate

Entrepreneurs sometimes get too possessive with each and everything that is related to their company. This way, they restrict their employees to practice any creative freedom and, at the same time, over-burden themselves and lose sight of the bigger picture.

The important thing here is to trust your employees and create an open flow of communication—have regular check-ins with the employees, so everyone is on the same page, and you can find time to concentrate on the part that requires your expertise.

These techniques will allow founders to be super productive and drastically reduce their stress levels. Making this a part of a routine with help reflect on the success of the business and maximize the professional potential.  

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash