Nabeal Khan is the Founder of the award-winning eCommerce growth agency Enkay Media. His company is responsible for generating $1,000,000’s each month for several brands across the globe. He also builds his own eCommerce brands alongside his agency, which will undoubtedly carry large amounts of stress.
What are your biggest destress tips?
Tip 1: You can’t hide from stress, it’s inevitable. The key is managing it, you have to prevent it from compounding otherwise it will eventually become unbearable. An effective way to tackle stress is through taking a step back & creating a list of all the tasks you need to do, in order of importance. Simply writing things down alone is a good way to de-stress (as it shows you your problems aren’t endless) but doing so forces you to systematically break your stress down into smaller tasks – which prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.
Tip 2: Unfortunately, not all stress is the same. The most difficult form of stress to deal with is the stress that derives from something you can’t control. The best thing to do is disconnect. One of my all-time favourite quotes is from the Philosopher Epicteius who said “Suffering arises from trying to control the uncontrollable…” If you can understand that concept, it’s life-changing. I always see people get caught up stressing over things they can’t control – of course it’s understandable but it only makes things worse. You have to learn how to absorb the stress & not let it affect you. It’s an extremely difficult skill to master, but as I said, it’s life changing.
How do you avoid burnout and a stressful day?
Tip 1: Taking breaks is key. I used to work ridiculous hours as I didn’t want a single minute going to waste but I was burning out. I wasn’t optimising my time properly so I decided to take more breaks during the day (every 2 hours for 10-20 minutes). During breaks, you don’t just re-energise, you can also regain motivation as you will find yourself always itching to get back to work. It’s far better to work one hour at 100% productivity as opposed to two hours at 50%.
Tip 2: As well as taking breaks during the day, it’s equally important to take breaks on a larger scale – i.e. enjoying a whole day off. The concept is the same just on a larger scale. Despite what people say, no one can work every day of the year. You need to take time off to avoid burnout. If you have the cash to do so, another thing you can do is take a holiday. The change in environment can be a great motivator & it will often get you working harder.
What are your main tips for a successful habit?
Tip 1: Learning to get things done straight away is so important. Procrastination will kill you. If you have something important to do, you should do it straight away. The longer you delay something, the busier & more stressed you will become. One of the ways I like to combat procrastination is with a timer. If I have an important task to do, I will set a timer where the task must be completed by. Nothing happens if the timer ends & the task isn’t completed, it’s just a case of building self-discipline. I don’t like planning my day because I enjoy the freedom of time, but if you struggle with an “‘i’ll do it later” attitude, it definitely wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Tip 2: The most valuable habit you can develop is being able to practice what Cal Newport calls ‘Deep Work’. It’s difficult to explain but it’s about achieving a distraction-free state of mind where you essentially feel like you are paused in time. At times, you can become so absorbed in your work you feel like a robot. The first step to achieving this is through eliminating distractions, the main distraction being your phone. You need to create friction between you & your phone. The more difficult it is for you to go on your phone, the better. Whenever I struggle to focus, I switch my phone off & place it in another room. Another thing I like to do is listen to Alpha Waves when I am working (search it on YouTube) as they stimulate the brain, it will blow your mind how deep you can work whilst listening.
What obstacles did you face to get to where you are now?
My biggest challenge has definitely been staying motivated, especially during this pandemic. When you work so hard for so long, you are going to be rewarded. It takes phenomenal will power for a person to carry on working, despite being where they want to be in their life. I know a lot of people will struggle to empathise, but losing motivation is incredibly tough to deal with – it sucks all the enjoyment out of working.
How did you overcome these obstacles?
I bought an $80,000 car. I’ve always been relatively frugal with money, but my opinion on doing so has changed. It’s great at the start but after a while you can lose sight of why you started. The reason I do what I do is so I can enjoy life, but there is no enjoyment in saving all my money. Shifting my mindset from ‘I should be spending less’ to ‘I should be earning more’ is the best thing I have ever done – both the quality of my life & my business improved. I don’t want people getting it twisted though, I’m not saying go spend all your money or go buy an expensive car. I just don’t think people in this space should feel guilty in spending their money if it keeps you motivated – not every decision in life is purely financial.