Staying Focused and Healthy During Self-Employment

· Establish a regular work routine whether at home or anywhere else. You can set your own hours while self-employed whenever and wherever you want; however, in order to develop passive income sources or a create a new product, you must work regular hours every day. At the beginning you may be working in upwards of 12-14 hours a day. If you are not quite ready for that time frame, you can build up your hours incrementally as long as you are consistently working.

· Make sure to eat regular meals throughout the day (or night) to fuel your body. Nourishing your body at regular intervals keeps you sharp and focused as well as energizes your body and brain. If you skip meals for a long period of time (or all together) you will not be productive, you will fall asleep, you will be moody and you will not be at your peak performance.

· Make sure to consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and legumes. Try not to consume foods high in sugar and salt, as they will sap your energy. Organic/natural is optimal; cook and prepare your own meals instead of going out to restaurants, clubs and bars (As an extra bonus, you will save extra money eating at home or brown bagging your lunches),

· Hydrate yourself at every opportunity, especially with water. When you are dehydrated, you may have cravings for sugary or salty snacks and heavy meals. Your brain is fooled into thinking that you are hungry when you are, in fact, thirsty. You should eat only when you are truly hungry (usually 4-6 hours after a meal). Hydrating yourself also keeps your brain and body alert. If you drink coffee or tea, try to limit caffeine several hours before your bedtime. If possible, eliminate consuming sodas and energy drinks; they are diuretics and contain preservatives that make you prematurely thirsty and crave junk food. If you do not like plain water, or are not used to drinking water regularly, flavor with a lemon wedge or other fruit.

· If any element of your self-employment requires long hours on smartphones, laptops or PCs, take regular breaks. At least every hour, take a short walk and readjust your eyes for distant vision. If you work continual hours in front of computers, your joints and back will become painful and stiff and your eyes will become blurry and tired. Regular breaks from computer and smart phone screens will prevent you from getting fatigued as well as keep your metabolism healthy.

· Establish an exercise routine. You do not have to obtain a gym membership to exercise/stay in shape. Taking long walks every day (at least a half an hour) will suffice. Regular exercise reduces stress, enforces effective meal/snack habits and keeps your mind sharp.

· Make sure to schedule regular doctor’s visits if you can afford to. Maintaining great health is paramount for building your business long-term. If you cannot afford regular health insurance (e.g. COBRA), look into private companies that offer low monthly rates and high deductibles for self-employed individuals or find out if you can enroll on your partner’s or spouse’s healthcare plan.

· Try to go to bed at the same time every night as well as wake up around the same time every day. A regular sleep/wake routine is essential for good productivity, healthy energy levels and maintaining good eating habits. Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before your bedtime. If you travel extensively, make sure you adjust your sleep-wake cycles accordingly and give yourself 6-8 hours of sleep wherever you are. If you must pull an “all-nighter”, please give your body the sleep needed when finished with the project(s).

· Reward yourself when you reach a personal goal or a breakthrough. A reward can be in the form of a lunch or dinner out (making sure you are living below your means, of course!), a workout, spending time with family, playing or watching sports, going for a drive, hiking in the woods, etc. Your rewards reinforce your hard work as well as relax your brain-to allow for new ideas to flourish.

· Live beneath your means financially. Assess your personal (or joint, if you are partnered) budgets and cut costs if you must. Do not buy anything you do not need, especially large purchases to be charged on credit. Pay off all debts, if possible. Work a part-time job to supplement your income, if necessary. Move into a smaller home. Buy non-perishable items in bulk. Walk, bike or use public transportation. Always have an emergency fund ($1,000) available.

· Ask for assistance from a mentor or friend who is successful in his or her own business. Their words of wisdom can help you avoid common mistakes or judgments. Most people who are successful in their small businesses/ entrepreneurial pursuits are more than happy to share their triumphs with you and will give you a boost if you need one.

· If you fail at any task, no matter how large or small, look at the failure as an opportunity for self-improvement or to help plan an alternate path of accomplishing any goals you set for yourself. Being persistent in building your business is essential; if you give up too easily, you will be frustrated with the entrepreneurial process.

· Maintain a positive attitude. You do not have to shout from the mountain tops for the whole world to hear every day; however, you should be passionate about and motivated in some form every day to keep building your business. If you harbor constant negative thoughts about what you are doing, you will sabotage not only your business growth, but also your personal growth. Negativity saps our creative and physical energies. Prolonged negative attitudes and outlooks also adversely affects your health. Even if you are experiencing the worst day, week or month, you should look for (a) positive trend(s) to keep yourself moving forward.

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