Growing up, everyone is told there’s no room for selfishness in corporate America. If you want to be successful, then you have to be a team player. Unfortunately, over the years, many of us have confused the notion of being a “team player” with the idea that you can’t do anything for yourself. This often manifests itself in unhealthy habits that aren’t healthy or productive.
And while there’s certainly some merit in being a selfless member of an organization, there’s also something to be said for taking time to ensure you’re emotionally and physically cared for. Put bluntly, it’s time for you to become more selfish and take care of your business.
5 Ways To Take Care Of Your Business
Everyone has unique needs, but there are also plenty of things that we can all benefit from. Let’s take a look at this latter group. As a busy entrepreneur who’s grown accustomed to selflessly serving everyone’s needs but your own, here are a handful of things you to start focusing on.
1. Watch Your Diet
As busy entrepreneurs, we often get stuck in ruts. We tend to gravitate towards things that are easy, familiar, and comfortable. While this is okay in certain areas of our lives, it’s dangerous when it comes to eating. What’s easy, familiar, and comfortable is rarely healthy. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you eating too much fast food? Because time is often of the essence, fast food may become a staple in your diet. While you surely already know, here’s a quick reminder that fast food is terrible  for your body. It’s linked to all kinds of short and long-term health effects.
- Are you getting enough vitamins and nutrients? Simply consuming calories and curbing hunger isn’t enough. You need to consume adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients if you want to be physically healthy and cognitively productive.
- Are you drinking too much alcohol? Everyone loves a cocktail, cold beer, or glass of wine after a long day of work, but too much alcohol  can wreak havoc on your body. Side effects include poor sleeping habits, forgetfulness, skin problems, and even sexual dysfunction. Limit yourself to one drink or less per day.
- Are you making time for meals? One of the most challenging aspects of being a busy entrepreneur is that you often don’t have time to sit and eat. As such, you end up rushing through meals or eating while driving/walking/working/etc. This is dangerous for a number of reasons. First off, it increases the likelihood of overeating. Secondly, it puts undue stress on your digestive system.
Your diet is very important to your productivity and health. If you want to stay focused at work, then you need to make time for healthy meals. Packing a lunch is often the best solution to ensuring you eat well throughout the day.
2. Get More Sleep
“Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes,” reports the National Institute of Health.  “After several nights of losing sleep — even a loss of just one to two hours per night — your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.”
Like eating healthy, getting sleep can seem like a far-off dream for busy entrepreneurs. It doesn’t have to be, though. By making it a priority, you can get a minimum of six to eight hours of continuous sleep each day. And the consistency is as important as the total amount. Try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will aid your body’s circadian rhythm.
3. Spend Some Time in Reflection
When you’re constantly surrounded by people, you force yourself to be “on” at all times. This can be emotionally draining and ultimately leads to mental fatigue. The danger here is that you’ll eventually snap, or say something you’ll regret.
While you can’t necessarily reduce the amount of time you spend around your work colleagues, you can maximize the time you have to yourself. For most people, this time is first thing in the morning or late at night. Use these quiet hours to spend some time in reflection. If you’re a spiritual person, this is a great time to pray. If you like mediating, use this time to practice. However you like to disengage from the world around you, ensure you’re doing it for at least a few minutes per day.
4. Get Regular Physical Activity
Physical fitness is one of those things that we all have on our to-do lists, but rarely get around to doing. Unfortunately, being busy isn’t an excuse for not exercising. Your body doesn’t care if you’re busy with a work project or complicated assignment.
The question is, how do you make time for regular  physical activity? The obvious place to start is with your current obligations. Are there things you are currently doing through the course of day that aren’t constructive or necessary? This includes watching a show on Netflix, reading the newspaper, or mindlessly browsing your Facebook newsfeed. Try replacing this time with 30 minutes of exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s a jog around the block or a weight lifting session — anything that engages your muscles and gets your heart rate up is better than sitting down.
5. Build Relationships Outside of Work
Finally, you can’t forget about the relational side of things. While it’s great to have close friends at work, you need to find friends and develop relationships outside of the office. This will help you enjoy more work-life balance.
Opportunities for meeting people outside of work include joining local sports teams, volunteering with nearby organizations, signing up for a position with your neighborhood’s homeowners association, and hosting parent-child get-togethers with your kid’s friends.
Make Time for Number One
There’s something to be said for putting others first. It’s admirable, selfless, and caring — and these are attributes that will take you a long way in your career. However, we also live in a business world that blows selflessness out of proportion. It’s critical that you pay attention to your own physical and emotional needs. And trust us, you won’t start slipping down the corporate ladder just because you adopt a few new habits.
Keep these five areas of interest in mind and you’ll start to understand how taking care of yourself naturally feeds into taking care of your business. While it may seem unnatural at first, you’ll come to love your new lifestyle of being healthy and engaged.
Running  Photo via Shutterstock