We have said it before and we are going to say it again: stress is always part of engineering work. Especially for tech startups where they struggle to grow their businesses, engineers have to work twice as hard in order to meet goals. Even that this means the line between work and life is no longer clear.
But some startup CEOs are able to manage. They know the importance of being able to unwind and beat stress, so they find ways to keep themselves sane by doing certain activities.
Time MONEY talked with startup founders across the United States and asked about their strategies on balancing work and life situations. Here are 8:
Combine something tedious with something pleasant like walking meetings
Megan Smyth, CEO and co-founder of FitReserve, said that she tries to schedule a few calls while walking.
“It gets me out of the office and it clears my head and feels like I am doing something else even though I am still working,” she said.
Escape into a world you know nothing about
David Walker, founder of Triplemint Real Estate, realized that intertwining some new learned perspective from a documentary allows you to see the problem that you have been thinking about all day from a new light.
After discovering a new series on Netflix called Abstract and having to watch one about one of the most famous designers for Nike shows, Walker revealed, “It was interesting to see the way he works under deadlines and is at the intersection of art and creativity and business. That’s something that definitely I can take away, and all entrepreneurs can take away, which is finding that balance where you can free yourself to be creative.”
Do something really time intensive
For David Comiskey who is co-founder of Barkly Pets, he prefers to do something that he no longer really has the time to do… like cooking good food, which in his case is gnocchi.
He said, “It is something totally different and it takes your mind off of what you were thinking about. So when you get back in front of the laptop you have a few hours under your belt of totally clear thinking that will help you be more creative and accomplish the things that you know you need to be accomplishing. But if you don’t have that time when you are putting your life ahead of the business then you are running in circles and not really accomplishing what you need to be doing.”
Learn a completely new skill
Carly Strife, the co-founder and COO of BarkBox, is a mechanical engineer by education but she has never actually built anything. For this, she is trying something new: working on motorycycles.
“I am currently working on a Triumph Bonneville, and I’m learning the mechanical systems and electrical system. There’s a lot of research and planning. I’m trying to take it slow because I don’t want to ruin it on my first try. It is very analogous to a company, and there are all these different systems and when they run it is beautiful, and I want to apply that same type of thinking to the bike.”
Power down your brain with meditation
All it takes for Kevin Lavelle, founder of Mizzen + Main, to relax is to use the meditation app called Headspace.
“My mind is racing twenty-five hours a day and Headspace is the time where you turn off all notifications go in a quiet room,” he said. “It’s trying to have a mind that is active but clear — and that has been the single most important thing over the last six months that has helped me stay sane and make sure that I reset and recharge.”
Combine thinking and intense endorphins
Hiking is Michael Joseph’s way to beat stress from his work at Green Chef as its founder. He believes that a hike on the big mountains provides a much higher quality thinking.
“When you are on the top of the mountain, and you have the entire city of Boulder (in Colorado) below you, you are able to see everything and take in that view,” Joseph shared. “I get perspective and endorphins which are invaluable, and that helps you realize and focus on what is really important. I’m not getting distracted by my phone and I’m letting myself take all the information and having the time to think.”
Turn off your brain with relaxing activities
By ‘turn off your brain,’ what Ariel Kaye, founder of Parachute, meant is that doing yoga and cooking which forces you to unplug.
“My best piece of advice is to be self-aware and try to find an activity that forces you to unplug. For me this is yoga and cooking is also very relaxing for me – it forces me to be present, and sharing a meal with friends or family always leaves me fulfilled.”
Conquer a fear
Cat Perez, CPO and co-founder of HealthSherpa, tried something so extreme to take her mind off of work. Like indoor rock climbing.
She said, “Indoor rock climbing was an activity I have never done before or really had interest in because I have a serious fear of heights, so it was something that my spouse and I decided to do as a leisure activity that helps build trust between us. It’s great for so many reasons. You can’t climb and check your phone. You have to be hyper focused. If there is anything I am thinking about when I am on that wall it is getting over my fear of heights — it is one of those activities where you have to be fully present, and your mind can’t be anywhere else.”
Source: Time Money