Logging Off: 7 Tips for Staying Sane While Running a 24/7 Business

Photo by Matthew Henry courtesy of Burst

If you’ve ever run an online business — you know the feeling of being maxed-out. You’re tired. You have a headaches. Thoughts are passing through your mind like the headline crawl of a 24-hour news network and it’s impossible to focus on anything because you’re too busy focusing on everything. The stress that comes with running a business can be daunting.

Recent research on neuroplasticity has suggested that long-term, persistent stress can have result in reduced brain plasticity — which is a factor in depression, anxiety, PTSD and even Alzheimer’s disease. On top of this — stress can affect other organs and may be a contributing factor to chronic heart disease. The means that when your business is starting to get hot — it’s important to make sure your brain keeps cool.

But how do you do this when running an online business? With all the social media platforms that an entrepreneur needs to be on top of — it can seem impossible to keep your sanity while working what is a essentially a 24/7 job. That’s why it’s so important to know how to de-stress and keep calm in an always evolving environment. Here’s some things you want to make a point of doing if you’re looking to stay sane while running an online business.

1. Go To Bed at a Reasonable Time and Get a Full 8 Hours of Sleep

This may seem like an obvious tip — but it’s so often overlooked. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to stress. Failure to keep your brain re-charged can have a detrimental effect on how you’re able to cope with the onslaught of stressors that come with running a business.

Though you may get the urge to stay up late in the night to get more work done — studies have shown that a lack of sleep can seriously impair your concentration, memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning. So, while you may think you’re getting more work done by staying up — the quality of your work suffers severely. If you want to keep your work focused, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep.

2. Build a Wind-Down Routine

Getting to bed at a reasonable hour is great if you can get a full night’s rest — but for many of us, going to bed immediately after finishing a task can leave the brain stuck in “work-mode”. With thoughts and stressors still lingering in your mind, it’s easy to find yourself wide awake in the dead of night — tossing and turning. This is why it’s important to have a wind-down routine.

Putting aside time before your planned bed-time to wind-down has shown to be beneficial to your mind’s ability to fall asleep. It’s helps your mind and body to separate time spent awake and time reserved for relaxation. Your wind-down time should be spent away from your computer, phone or tv screens. You want to spend that time doing activities you enjoy that will encourage your body to relax. This can include reading, journaling, listening to a podcast, or even some light exercise — like going for a relaxing walk or doing yoga.

3. Meditate

Meditation is one of the most popular and enriching forms of relaxation. Meditation helps to clear away the information overload that you can become accustomed to when you’re running an online business.

There are many different types of meditation that you can explore to see which works best for you. What they all have in common is that they work to train your mind to be focused on one thing at a time. In a world of instant notifications and constant updates — the ability to focus is a skill that’s becoming overlooked. With a more focused mind — you’ll be more adept at dealing with a task at hand and be able to produce better quality work within the confines of deadlines and social media.

4. Avoid Multi-Tasking

If you’re just starting out running your business — chances are you’re going be doing a lot of work yourself. When you have a lot of tasks to complete — you may have the urge to try to complete them simultaneously — assuming you’ll be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

In fact — the opposite is true. Dividing your attention between a bunch of tasks at once can be shown to impair memory and negatively impact our cognitive functioning. If you have a lot of things to do — prioritize them and work on them one at a time.

5. Outsource Work When You Can

Starting a business online will be an independent endeavor at first — but it doesn’t need to be. There are a ton of resources online for outsourcing services and finding low-cost alternatives to doing all the work yourself. You’ll find this necessary in managing your time and maintaining your sanity.

If you have the budget for it — try hiring a freelancer online to help out with work. Even if you don’t want to spend a penny — everything from free stock photos to graphic design tools to CRM Software is widely available online. When you’re working alone and pressed for time — it’s best to explore options for limiting your independent work-load.

6. Have Dedicated Weekly Work Hours

One common challenge you’ll face as an entrepreneur is the problem of not being accountable to anyone but yourself. When you’re working for someone else — you’re expected to work a certain number of hours or write a certain number of words, but working for yourself is different. When you’re not obligated to do the work — it can lead to endless procrastination and hours of wasted time.

That’s why it’s important to create hours for yourself. If you’re running your business part-time — try to dedicate at least an 1–2 hours a day to your business and more hours on days you have off. Set aside a specific time to do this work. Whether you prefer to work in the morning or evening — make sure to be specific about the hours you want to dedicate to your business. Setting aside time dedicated to only working on your business with help you get more done and produce better quality work.

7. Make Time for Friends and Family

It’s important to have time to unwind. When you exercise your body, it’s recommended that you take days off throughout the week to give your body a chance to recover from a workout. Working out your mind is no different.

The quality of work you put out with be far better if you set aside time for the people you love. Go for a walk with your dog. Take your kids out for ice cream. See a movie with your partner. Spending time with friends and family is not only a great stress-reliever, but vital to avoid being burned-out by your work.