It doesn’t matter who you talk to, people in employment, entrepreneurs, housewives or even the unemployed, finding a routine for several reasons is important. In my previous article I talked about the ‘gurus’ of Instagram and the fact that frankly I found their advice not as helpful for me, my lifestyle or my small business. Also at times I was unsure as to how this would manage the uniquely huge stress of a small business owner.

Do discussed groups can help an entrepreneur with stress

I did try one of the things that they suggested, networking. The networking events that I did attend were mostly larger groups where everyone was basically in a big room together and hopefully, they connected. But there is one event that I will always remember. This was a much smaller and more intimate group and we discussed a wide range of topics, stress management, one of which was our morning routine. Obviously I was the odd one out as everyone else talked about what they did, it involved meditation, yoga, gym, breakfast and ignoring your phone, as just a few of the obvious examples. Then I told them mine, and it was not particularly well-received.

I told them that I got up in the morning, made coffee, read my emails, had a shower and went into my shop. Lacking clarity, slightly uneducated and old-fashioned was how this was described. However the next day, and for the future, I continued with this routine quite simply for this one single reason, it worked for me.

Why did it work for me? Well firstly I am not a morning person and getting up at 6.30 am every day was like living in a horror movie, that gets continually worse if I don’t have coffee. So here I am every day dragging myself out of bed and in my half-asleep existence at that time of the morning I made coffee. But why the reading emails at this time? Well, it’s simple, from that point on I knew exactly what kind of day I was going to have, how many orders I needed to pack and if I was going to end up working late.

I think I can safely say that there is no amount of meditating away this knowledge.

After this time to jump into the shower and that time in the shower was invaluable. Again why? Because for me it was thinking time and, on a few occasions, it was time to calm down and deal with the anxieties. I’m sure that everyone reading this right now has just had an image of a friend in the shower because everyone knows of someone who tells the stories of the great ideas that pop into their heads when they are in the shower. I’m one of these people and when I knew I had difficult or tricky situations that I knew were going to arise I had time to stop and calmly find a solution, corrective path, work-around etc.

This time allowed me to find that resolution that I needed and manage any situation professionally, rather than like a raging bull and potentially making a situation worse. This time also meant that if I could resolve a situation quickly, it would drag on or reappear in the future. The skill in that and what that it translated into for me as a small business owner is more free time for myself to the end of the day when I wanted the free time. Again doing what you can to maximize free time is something to help with the extreme stress I’m sure you can relate too as a small business owner.

Is the to-do list necessary for an entrepreneur?

After this it was straight to the shop to continue with the day’s work. One thing that I do need to add here, is that part of my daily routine was to create a to-do list specifically for the next day. This was to keep myself and the business on track and going in the direction that I wanted. Also as I’m not a morning person, sometimes trying to focus, stress less and prioritize was difficult.

How to be with your nutrition?

There are a few things missing from this that we all know really is essential, the main one being breakfast. So let me say that I did have breakfast, just not at home. With the way that my business operated with the physical store and online site meant that I didn’t spend that much time at home. With this, it didn’t take long to realize that my online food shopping was being wasted by being delivered to my house and it was also wasting my time having to be at home to receive it.

So I started to eat more sensibly, I bought food that I could prepare and eat in the shop, and this included multiple boxes of cereals, mainly Nesquick! I know it a little childish, but I love it and it was a little bit of happiness that I had complete control over, so if I wanted to have Nesquick for breakfast every day, then I would, and it also meant more importantly, that I was eating breakfast. There obviously was a few residents, neighbors and other businesses that saw this and thought I was a little mad, but I was eating, every day, healthily and managing my time appropriately based on the needs of my business.

Not all advice is helpful for you

Back to this networking event where I was explaining al this, nobody was really convinced and I’m certain thought I was a little odd. But consider this, what would have happened to my business and myself I didn’t do what I was doing? The stress and anxiety would have built up and I would have destroyed everything myself with only myself to blame.

By doing this, what I discovered was that problems went away, the stress I had was stress that I could thrive on as it was just that right amount of pressure to help you perform and I was able to save myself some free time. The time I saved was time at the end of the day, which as I’ve already mentioned, I’d prefer to have. It was when my friends were available so that I could still have time to connect with the outside world, and if I didn’t want to I had time for other projects, activities and trial and error mistakes, like yoga as just one example.

So what is the point of all this and what I’ve shared? Some of the advice and helpful tips that you find online will seem obvious, frivolous and self-indulgent. Specifically what these gurus are telling you to do may not be helpful, interesting or appetizing for you. Sadly, I do have to admit that although I don’t agree with the specific points they make, more broadly, and something they don’t really mention is the overall ethos. In my research and reading between the lines to what they were saying to me, for this example and article was finding your routine. 

I wasn’t mocked at this networking event, and we had constructive criticism, but for me what I saw in this was that I am not a new age millennial, despite my age, I am me and my business was mine.  Ultimately as a small business owner, you know that it is your top priority, or fairly close to being so. I gave up employment to do what I did, and whilst I was employed I managed to find out who I was, what motivated me and made me tick. So when I had to adjust parts of my lifestyle to offer as much as I could to the business, I already had the knowledge of what I had to do for myself to make sure I could get out of bed at 6.30 am every day.

Nobody knows this better than me and I’m sure if really ask yourself you are the only person that knows you best and it’s also you that knows what you want to achieve through your business goals. What I’m trying to say here is if you need to reassess yourself, your lifestyle or start from scratch, you know what’s important for you, your health and your business. So use your own knowledge of yourself to create a routine that works for you and what you need to do everyday and to get the most out of life.

I am still connected to the other participants of this particular networking group through LinkedIn and I am happy and pleased for them as they all seem to be doing very well. Looking at what I would have achieved and where I would be now had I chosen not to sell my business. I would probably have another 2 shops scattered across the country, multiple employees and I would be living life traveling around the world in search of the wines personally rather than electronically and importing samples.

This may seem a little preachy and I get that, but I wanted to share this knowledge, research, and experience as I did what I wanted to do and I did it my way so that I could get the most and best out of myself. I did not follow the status quo, the guru’s rules and I still managed to own a successful, thriving and much-publicized business which I later sold for a sizeable profit. So remember if you are like me and a little skeptical, different or just plain weird, everything is still possible without avocado on toast every bloody day and I still managed to do more than just survive.