At one point, in the initial days, I was working 15+ hours every single day and sometimes didn’t return home for like 2-3 days at a stretch. (Okay I got to admit I have the most understanding and supportive wife. So, you could envy me about that !!)
But! But! But!
While the mind is limitless, the physical body has its limits.
Productivity comes not just by working hard, but by working smart and having your mind and body in its most alert form. As a smart worker I aimed to optimise my capacities, not overwork them. This is something I learnt the hard way – our bodies are built to deal with stress for short-term. But chronic overwork over extended periods did no good to anybody ever and only leads to lifestyle challenges.
I realised this after about a year or two as an entrepreneur, when I put on crazy amount of weight, had a “sleep debt” and began to remain restless & impatient. This led to loss in productivity since I began to feel constantly tired and mentally exhausted by the end of 2 years into my first company. I knew I was the problem – or rather my lifestyle was!
Heck! even some of my team members began to border obesity and battle lifestyle issues.
True entrepreneur style, I pulled up my socks for this one too. I decided to reboot myself to have a Lifestyle 2.0
So, what did I do to get back on track ?
1. I stopped drinking aerated drinks!!
It was the smallest but initially the hardest thing I did. I used to guzzle Coke all day- probably more than 2-3 litres per working day. Giving that up was hard but it helped tremendously.
2. I started waking up early morning and do some yoga.
Freshness of morning air and some yoga stretches helped relax my body and mind. Within a few weeks of starting this, I was complimented by my team for having turned calmer.
3. I stopped snacking
Okay so most startup offices are in startup hubs of cities. Its inevitable to stop food joints mushrooming in to cater to the demand.
While in the development phase, each day we were ordering in snacks to try out a new joint that opened around or from our favourites because we didn’t have the time to go visit and honestly, it also seemed like the only fun thing to do in the initial frenzy of work. The team’s size was smaller and when one ordered generally all of us dug in. Result – Trips in coming months to buy larger sized clothes. To change this, I changed this habit. When colleagues ordered food, I walked away pretending to be on calls. Gradually I began to refuse any snacks and soon my hunger pangs vanished.
4. I installed a treadmill at work
Okay, so first I installed it thinking that the colleagues and I will use it every day. You might laugh, but for a few weeks I would take the daily status update from my team while I ran on the treadmill.Yes! I did that !
Gradually once I became fitter, I reduced my frequency on the treadmill from daily to weekly. Now, some colleagues and employees use the treadmill and cross trainer sporadically while talking on the phone. I’ve placed the cross trainer in the dining area as a silent reminder of our commitment to health. Every time we look at it, we promise to eat one bite lesser and skip the desserts.
We have a tiny lawn behind our office. I converted it into a tiny football pitch and all of us who were size XL and above were mandated to come and sweat it out pre-lunch for at least 20 mins. Boy, did that help us all or not!
6. In-house Dining
In order to stand strong to my commitment to health and productivity, I hired a trained cook who was an expert at cooking healthy meals. The food menu was vetted by a dietitian and we saw a marked change in our energy levels. With healthier food options, there was less post-lunch sluggishness, a lesser tendency to procrastinate and higher energy levels amongst the entire staff.
7. Office Yoga!
This was probably the most beneficial of all. It not only brought us to healthy lifestyles but gifted us mental calm and our productivity increased tremendously as a result. People listened to each other more and better and had constructive feedback to offer. Things moved visibly faster.
Yoga and meditation allow us to focus on the breath and thereby the present, which can have remarkable effects on work stress and future anxieties. Perhaps in my next post I will talk about what the yoga techniques that were useful for us.
P.S. — I am an ardent productivity enthusiast. In fact I’ve just built my 2nd digital business – an AI powered CRM tool called Alore. If you’d like to explore the tool click here
If you want to write to me and discuss this article personally then I’d be happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org