How Southeast Asian Founders Can Avoid Burnout
Prepare your mind and body for the day ahead
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Few Southeast Asian entrepreneurs who have been running their own start-up for more than a few years, battling the inevitable storms that regularly engulf their companies, is full of the energy that enabled him or her to start the business in the first place. Often they are tired, irritable and stressed, even before the day begins.
To avoid complete burnout, which can have a devastating impact on their start-ups, founders can try squeezing in these activities into their morning routine to recharge:
As much as you want to start making calls or responding to emails, remember that you can’t be productive if your mind is all over the place.
Meditation focuses the mind and helps keep stress at bay. Researchers at the University of California in Santa Barbara found that even just two weeks of mindfulness training can reduce mind-wandering while completing cognitive tasks.
Even big companies like Apple and Google have incorporated mindfulness into their corporate culture, underscoring the need for workers to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being as much as the physical.
2. Do whatever you want
Wanda Thibodeaux writes in her article for Inc., “You can’t bring your true, full self to the day if you don’t know who that self even is.”
She recommends taking 10 minutes to do whatever you want. After all, mornings are already full of things you have to do, Thibodeaux says, so take a moment to “reconnect to what you enjoy to prove to yourself that you still have the power of choice.”
Play your favorite video or mobile game for a few minutes or catch up on some reading. Doing things that bring you pleasure will boost your mood and get you ready to buckle down and work.
3. Review your to-do list
In the morning, when your mind is still fresh, set aside some time to review the tasks you have set out for the day. You may have prepared this to-do list the night before or just before leaving the office, and now is the time to assess and prioritize. This can help you plan your day before leaving the house — Do you need to make a quick stop at the bank before going to the office? Or leave a bit later than usual to make an early morning Skype call?
Simon Kearney, co-founder and CEO of Singapore-based content agency Click2View, is a fan of to-do lists. He says, “I need to get things out of my head.”
Kearney generally categorizes tasks by urgency and his ability to get them done right then and there or schedule them at a later time.
4. Get a little work done at home
This may sound counterproductive and, well, not so fun for most people. But getting a little bit of work done while at home can help jumpstart your productivity, especially once you’ve experienced the traffic-choked streets of most Southeast Asian cities.
Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, co-founder and COO of Kuala Lumpur-based CatchThatBus, says in this Inc. Southeast Asia article, “I actually do begin my day at home, and only to leave and head over to the office at around 9:45-10:00am. At this time, my commute is not too long, around 20-25 minutes, but leaving earlier would result in a travel time of around 40-45 minutes.”
Paul Rivera, co-founder and CEO of Philippine job matching portal Kalibrr, says he starts the day early. “I try to get to the office with a lot of my email/day cleared so I can spend as much time with my people and team,” he says.
Doing these early morning routines will not only help set the tone for your day, it can also help you connect better with yourself and with your team.