How can I maintain my own sanity as an entrepreneurial leader in a challenging situation?

As an entrepreneurial leader, the first step in a challenging situation is to take care of ourselves. There is a reason why we are taught to put on our own oxygen masks before helping others. If we ourselves are not in good shape (physically and mentally), we will not be in a position to help others.

There are a lot of resources for helping leaders stay sane while working from home, organizing virtual employees, and dealing with a drastically different macroeconomic environment all at once. Following are a few tips curated from multiple sources.

  • Establish a routine. Even though we are working from home, it is important to separate our work self from our home self. Carly Chase, Lecturer and Director of the New York City Startup Studio, has a pro-tip: "Get dressed for work". This not only helps us establish some normalcy in this new work-from-home era, it is also very practical - because people can see you on video chat.
  • Transform the living space into new functional zones. Some of us may need to divide up our living space with other household members so we can work from home at the same time without disturbing each other. Others may need to create a new exercise area. 
  • Take breaks. It is easy to schedule video calls back to back - but it is still important to take breaks to clear our minds. Schedule meetings with a bit of transit time so you can get up an dstretch.
  • Don't become a slave to technology. With instant messaging set up (such as Slack) it is easy to allow us to become interrupt driven. When it becomes overwhelming, set up new routines where you turn off the IM application for predetermined periods of time so you can concentrate.

Also read reflections on the same topic by Trish Cotter, Executive Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, has an excellent blog post 

Adapted from a blog post titled "Leading a virtual entrepreneurial team – Part 6. Team cohesiveness and alignment" by  Elaine Chen

 

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