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5 Ways To Stay Calm While Working Long Hours

Jennifer Yaniz

Entrepreneurs and innovators are known from working crazy long hours. If they are working on a passion project or start up, it is understandable they'd clock 80-plus hours a week. But for those of us who are not going to become billionaires, how can we stay calm at work

How To Stay Calm While Being Self-Employed

There are plenty of cliches out there about "doing what you love," which is all fine and dandy. But sometimes we just have to slog through long days whether we are enjoying them or not. Staying calm at work is vital to being effective and efficient. So let's take a look at ways we normal folk can stay sane during hectic work times.

Don't Forget Your Body

Sure, this seems counterintuitive, right? If you can't get up from your desk chair, how are going to squeeze a workout into your day? You might need to rethink what it means to take care of your health. Here are some ways methods top execs use to focus on their bodies:

  • Many entrepreneurs swear by yoga or meditation. They say devoting 15 minutes each morning to focus their minds is hugely helpful.
  • Be careful about diet. Although you may be on the go, you should still find healthy options for meals away from home. Grab a smoothie instead of a burger. Oh, and stop drinking so much caffeine and sugar.
  • Get good sleep. Even if you only get six hours per night, make sure they are quality hours. Keep the phone in another room and don't watch TV before going to bed.
  • Try a standing desk. These are easy to use and now are relatively inexpensive. Just getting off your bum and getting the circulation flowing again can be helpful.
  • Micro-workouts. If you can't get away for a full hour, schedule a 20-minute ab-work section into your day. Or do 20 pushups in your office whenever you need a break.

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Use the Tools That Are Available

Today's technology can be both a blessing and a curse for entrepreneurs. Sure, you can get a lot done on the go. But then you are never "off" or truly unavailable.  If you must have your phone on you at all times, make the most of that tool. Answer emails while you are traveling from meeting to meeting. Schedule social media interactions in advance and respond to others' posts during your morning commute.  Use your video feature or voice recorder to remind yourself of upcoming tasks or looming concerns. Send messages to your spouse and children letting you know you are thinking of them.

Love What You Do

OK, we already said this was a cliche, but it really does work if you can be open-minded. It's easy to be excited and work long hours when you are working on a passion project.  But what about when you are doing everyday tasks? That's when you have to get creative about finding the "love" in your job. Maybe you can get excited knowing you are helping customers live better lives.  Or maybe you have your mind on a fun purchase – we're thinking ski boat – that extra pay will go toward. Perhaps you're in it for your co-workers, whom you really love and want to see achieve the team goal. Finding the right motivation is what can help you stay calm during 12-hour days.

Avoid Distractions

No one can be focused indefinitely, especially if fatigue sets in. Successfully navigating long days means setting priorities and making a strict schedule.  If you stay in control of how you spend time, there will be more opportunities to do what you want. For example, if you are disciplined, you can find the 15 minutes you need to walk around the block.  Don't spend time or effort worrying about tasks or problems that aren't emergent. Only answer emails at scheduled intervals. If someone stops by your office and asks "Got a minute?" don't be afraid to say "no." You can always schedule time into your day to talk to them tomorrow.  If you establish this routine, people will be more respectful of your time, and eventually, they'll stop popping in.

The 80-20 Rule

The rule is: Focus on the 20 percent of your activities that produce 80 percent of the results you want. Translation: Worker smarter, not harder. In fact, this goes hand in hand with avoiding distractions. If staying calm at work during a long week is important to you, you might not fight yourself.  When you spend all your time on actions that don't reap rewards, you are just treading water. Or worse, you are wasting time. Figure out what activities are the most rewarding from a business perspective and then work hard on only those tasks.  Few people like long work weeks, but they often are a necessary part of the job. These five tips should help you navigate the waters and stay calm.

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