Are You In The Flow?

I hate the whole concept of work-life balance. I don’t believe in it. Never have.

What I do believe is that today more than ever, our work lives and personal lives are one and the same. This is even truer for entrepreneurs.

I don’t need to feel like my life is perfectly balanced, and I’m certainly not going to let myself get stressed out trying to keep everything balanced.

In a moment of extreme imbalance a few years ago, I found myself devouring a fantastic book by Marcus Buckingham called Find Your Strongest Life. I couldn’t put it down. What really resonated is his concept of strategic imbalance.

Strategic imbalance is about intentionally imbalancing your life to spend more time doing what you really want to be doing, and being true to who you are deep down.

Strategic imbalance is more about letting life flow.

When you are in the flow, you are:

  • Focusing on what fulfils you, and what is truly important to you
  • Not allowing guilt to drive you to do things you don’t want to do
  • Saying “no” to people and projects more often
  • Keeping stress levels in check
  • Taking time for yourself to recharge

I want to focus on stress for a few minutes because people are more stressed now than ever before. When you’re stressed out you are not achieving maximum productivity, thinking clearly, or staying present and focused on the tasks that are bringing you closer to your goals.

These are some of the things I do to keep my stress levels in check, and drive my dreams forward.

Deep breathing

Are you breathing properly? It sounds like a stupid question because of course our bodies just breathe for us to keep us alive. There is a best way to breathe, believe it or not, and breathing deeply reduces stress.

Want to learn how to breathe properly? Try this:

Emotional freedom technique (EFT)

Pioneered by Gary Craig, EFT is the process of tapping on certain meridian points on the body while saying an affirmation. I use it in my own life, and have been studying the EFT Manual for about a year now. Not only does it bring my stress levels down when they are getting out of control, EFT can help with a number of other limiting beliefs.

Nick Ortner, author of The Tapping Solution, has been bringing renewed attention to EFT recently. If you’d like to learn the technique it’s super easy, and Nick teaches it very well in this video:

Meditating regularly

When I tell people I meditate morning and night, and sometimes throughout the day, a common response I hear is, “I wish I knew how to meditate but I just don’t know what to think about.”

There isn’t a right way to meditate, and the funny thing is that your goal should be to get to a state of thinking about nothing at all.

Meditation is simply the process of quieting your mind. The best way to begin is to sit for a few minutes and work on letting go of your thoughts so that you can achieve a deep inner peace.

The first time I tried it I only made it for about 30 seconds because the chatter in my head was so noisy that I decided to give up. All I could think about was my to-do list, and what I should be working on instead of sitting there. Then I set the intention to sit in meditation for a minute, then two minutes, and now I’ve built up to longer periods of meditation. It calms me and makes me way more productive in my business and my life.

Getting enough sleep

I think we’re all guilty of sacrificing sleep for our businesses as entrepreneurs. When I met Arianna Huffington for the first time a few years ago, we were talking about what I was up to in the world and she said her biggest piece of advice for me was to not sacrifice sleep while building my business.

I listened!

You can hear it straight from her too in this TED Talk she did about sleep and success:

An inspiring environment

Your surroundings make a huge difference to your happiness, productivity, and overall well-being. When I moved into my condo, the room that was going to be my office was painted a dark burgundy with black furniture. I knew I’d have to get my hands dirty turning it into a space that inspired me for the 12+ hours a day I’d be working in it.

This is what it looks like today:

Office Design Inspiration

Colors in the environments we spend a lot of time in especially affect us. Red can make you feel more passionate but also aggressive, pink and blue are calming colors, and purple is balancing (Color Psychology, Psychology-101). I picked yellow because it’s a pick-me-upper, inspires creativity, and aids with decision making.

Taking more vacations

When I was getting my business up and running, I went three years without a vacation. When I finally took one I felt so amazing afterwards, and so much more productive as an entrepreneur, that I promised myself I would never go that long without a proper break again.

Now I take a vacation after every major launch or project I wrap up, which means there are usually at least two each year.

French Riviera Trip

Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be an exotic two-week trip either, although I like to visit exotic faraway lands. It could be as simple as disconnecting for a three-day weekend in a city or town close to where you live and treating yourself to a massage.

Your body will thank you and so will your business because you’ll come back with a fresh perspective and be charged up for whatever is coming your way next.

Now I want to hear from you! How do you de-stress and recharge as an entrepreneur?

Disclaimer: I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week, Visa Business created an infographic highlighting eye-opening facts about small business owners and examining important small business trends. You can check that out right here.

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1 thought on “Are You In The Flow?

  1. I couldn’t agree more with what you had to say! Sometimes we get caught up our day to day activities, work and tasks that our stress levels begin to sky rocket and we forget to just breathe. I can closely relate that today more than ever, our work lives and personal lives are one in the same. One of my sorority sisters and very best friends started a health and fitness company for college aged girls across the company. I’ve worked with her closely a long the way and we are still in the very early stages of the company but it has been a really fun and exciting journey. Even though we are the closest of friends, she is also… my boss? Working with a startup has its challenges and there are always lessons to be learned. Our small team also works very closely with one another and I’ve had to learn on my own that I should just… go with the flow. No day is the same and there is always SO much work to do, but everyone goes at their own pace and has their own work methods and knows what works for them.

    I love to travel, try new restaurants and go out with friends. That is always my go-to de-stresser. Elisabeth (my boss) and I are actually taking a fun trip to California – next week!

    Natalia

    http://www.chaarg.com

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