It’s not uncommon to hear people brag about not getting enough sleep or jokingly say “I’ll rest when I die,” then proceed to work themselves to illness or even outright death. High blood pressure, strokes and heart disease are becoming hallmarks of the ever-busy entrepreneurial lifestyle, with more and more young people paying more attention to making money and less to their health, not eating properly or getting enough exercise and rest. And even though fitness and healthy diets are popular terms now more than ever before, these lifestyle changes are often reactionary, superficial and temporary.

As an entrepreneur, you should never forget that there’s no business without you, so looking out for yourself and taking care of your body are necessities, not luxuries. If you want to be useful to yourself and your business in the future, you should treat yourself with deliberate care now.

How can you get enough rest when there’s always so much to do? Begin with these three practical tips:

1. Learn the art of delegating

If you have employees, you should learn how to assign tasks to them and take the load off yourself. Micromanaging is a recipe for stress and trying to mind every part of your business will eventually tell on your health. You’re not superhuman. Trust people to do what you’ve told them to do and step back a little. For example, getting a driver could be a lifesaver for those who work in traffic-intense cities like Lagos. Mind your business and let the driver drive.

2. Teach yourself to unplug

Do you have a time (or times) when your phone and computer are off every day? It’s important to set boundaries for the outside world. Have a schedule for replying messages and emails, receiving and making phone calls and generally being reachable. For example, you could make a personal rule to turn your phone off at 9:00 pm every night and stick to it. If you respect that personal boundary, everyone will soon learn to respect it. Jumping at every notification on your phone will only make you an anxious, cranky person. If you can, keep your phone out of your bedroom and get as much as eight hours of sleep regularly. You’ll notice the difference.

3. Unwind before you’re exhausted

It’s typical to rest only when you’re absolutely tired, but what if you could avoid being that tired? Stop running on caffeine and stubbornness. Taking breaks regularly instead of working at a stretch till you can’t move a muscle will help you maintain your focus on work longer. Breaks will also help you ‘reboot’ your mind, giving you a fresh perspective on your business. Don’t wait till your annual vacation to relax, take every opportunity to get away for a day or two and refresh.

Editor’s Note: MARGIN is a support platform and community designed by Venia Business Hub to help Nigerian entrepreneurs grow profitable businesses. You can get more free business resources and practical advice on their site.

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