As a Founder, it can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly being busy. It can feel as if the busier you are, the quicker you will be successful, so we work, and work, and work. Resting can feel like a distant memory, and if we do give ourselves some time, the guilt starts to creep in.
I’m here to tell you that being busy does not equal success and rest is actually essential to sustainably growing your business. This is coming from someone who loved to be busy and approached my business with that mindset. I was always filling my time with lots of plans and to-do lists, but as I started to develop my coaching business, I realised that I needed to take time for me.
So why is rest important?
Refilling your cup
You may have heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Creating and growing a business can take a lot of energy, so you need to ensure you’re filling yourself back up. By allowing ourselves time to rest, the time we are working on our business can be more focused and productive. It’s about finding the right balance for you and recognising when that balance is off.
Enjoying the process
Becoming a founder is such an exciting time, and it’s so important to enjoy it rather than feeling exhausted all the time or experiencing the pressure to constantly be go-go-go. Taking time to reset allows us to be more present in the moment and actually enjoy the process, rather than end up resenting it.
Risk of burnout
If we don’t rest, our bodies will eventually force us to rest, and burnout can become all too real. We need to recognise what our physical and psychological needs and limits are. How can we look after ourselves? Entrepreneurship is a long game and if we’re constantly exhausted, stressed or worried, we won’t be producing our best work.
Life isn’t just about work; although I know, it might not feel like that when your business is such an important part of it. Even if it is your passion and purpose, it’s not healthy to be working on it 24/7. Some of you reading this may have wanted to start your own business to have more freedom and flexibility in your life; rest is important to ensure you get this.
How do you make sure you’re getting enough of it?
Let go of guilt
Often, we can feel guilty for taking a break, especially when there’s a lot to do for your business, never mind general life admin. It is essential we let go of any guilt associated with rest and recognise that it is an essential part of being a successful founder. To-do lists will never end, and there will always be something else to do, but by negating our need for rest, we are putting not only our wellbeing at risk but also our ability to manage our business long term.
Sometimes days of working can pass by, but it’s difficult to pinpoint what we’ve actually done. It’s easy to fill 8 hours by doing stuff but is this really moving your business forward? Instead learn how to be productive with your time, rather than just busy all the time. Use the priority matrix you can find in Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to determine if the items on your to-do list are:
- Urgent and important
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent and not important
Focus on the urgent and important items first, then the important and not urgent ones. Ask yourself if the not urgent and not important tasks really need to be on the list? These are likely to be the things that keep you busy but probably don’t add much value. When you’re thinking about how you spend your time, also consider your long-term vision, is what you’re doing helping you get there?
Add breaks to your schedule
Schedule rest time into your week, as you would a business meeting or client call.
Would you miss those? I’m guessing not, so why miss scheduled rest time? If scheduled rest time seems alien to you right now when you consider your 12-hour days, start small with a couple of 20-minute breaks each day. Then start to build this up by having dedicated breaks and working hours, life doesn’t need to merge into work. Remind yourself these rest breaks are non-negotiable and hopefully the 20-minutes here and there will help to boost your energy, productivity and creativity.
Remember it’s not a race
Set yourself realistic and achievable goals which stretch you just the right amount and focus on those, not what anyone else is doing or where you think you should be. Remember creating and growing your business is not a race. This can be a challenge when we slip into comparison mode, but we’re each on our own path. When you are taking a break, remind yourself that rest is productive and essential to growing your business and brand.
Rest is one of the keys to being a successful founder long term. Although it can feel like busyness has a direct correlation to how successful we’re going to be, it’s not the case, and if rest isn’t prioritised, it will likely catch up on you.
Creating and growing a business is full of excitement, but let’s be honest; it can be tiring too. So, let’s start to embrace the moments of rest and find the right balance for us.
For me, this is still a work in progress as my passion can sometimes tip the balance, but I’ve learnt to start listening to myself and have already recognised the benefits.
Where you can find me:
About your author
Elyssa is a certified Coach based in London and the founder of Elyssa Desai Coaching. She helps women stop self-doubt and master their mindset to get the life they want. Follow her on Instagram for confidence and mindset tips.
You can find out more about Elyssa and her business here.
Meet Camilla and Andrea, Co-Founders of the bathroom product brand Milly & Sissy!
After leaving a job I’d worked years for and spending most of lockdown doing every bit of prep possible, reading any and every book I could find, and listening to hours of podcasts on my daily walks, nothing quite prepares you for Day 1.
Lockdown and the last 6 months have highlighted something really powerful to me. So many high achieving women that I’ve spoken to recently have described how powerful being forced to stop has been.