When you work at a startup, the saying “no two days are the same” is much more than cliché; it’s your everyday reality. The highly charged atmosphere at many startups is a major draw for younger workers, career changers, and anyone seeking a challenge. If you aren’t practically bouncing off the walls at your new job, check your pulse.
But all that excitement of a new business can also result in major-league stress. We’re not talking about the stimulating, exciting, kind of stress, but the pull your hair out kind. Fortunately, startups also provide ample opportunities to de-stress and enjoy the exhilarating ride.
1. Focus on One Task at a Time
You have a big client meeting at 10, lunch across town at 1:30, and seemingly endless projects to work on all day. Take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time. What has top priority? Make a to-do list ranked by importance, and dive into the first task. Try not to multi-task or work ahead if you can help it, and your productivity will soar.
2. Get Out of the Office
If you spend 24/7 at the office, you’ll wind up looking like something from The Walking Dead. Take your laptop or your tablet outside or move to a coffee shop for the day – the change in scenery will do you good.
3. Brainstorm with Colleagues
It takes a special type of person to thrive at a startup – energetic, creative, innovative. Your coworkers have amazing minds, and startups are all about collaboration. Take advantage of your brilliant colleagues and bounce ideas off of them. Even shooting the breeze can often produce excellent ideas or generate solutions to nagging challenges.
4. Bust a Move!
If you have a private office or if the environment in your shared space is conducive, put on your headphones, put on Pandora Radio, and bust a move. You might look silly, but you’ll get your heart pumping!
5. Find a Quiet Spot
Sometimes the full-on atmosphere of a startup can be overwhelming. If your startup offices have a quiet space, take a few minutes to quiet your mind with meditation when needed.
6. Put It on Paper (Yes, Actual Paper!)
The physical act of writing interacts with your brain circuitry differently than composing at a keyboard, which can enhance your overall creativity and production.
7. Take a Stand
Even if you’re not up to standing for 8-12 hours per day, a couple of hours at a standing desk can counteract the issues caused by long hours of sitting.
8. Schedule Downtime (in Pen!)
If you’re spending more than half your waking hours at your startup, then you need to avoid burning out. Put breaks in your calendar, and then take them.
9. Remember Why You’re There
It’s easy to lose sight of just why you’re putting in all those long hours and hard work. Remind yourself of the mission of the startup when you feel less than motivated.
10. Use a Separate Task App
Most startups use collaboration tools like Basecamp and Asana to keep tabs on the team’s projects and tasks. But what happens when you get looped into your coworkers’ tasks and projects? You get more notifications in your inbox than you can handle, for work that often isn’t even yours. Pretty soon, your own tasks are lost in a jumble of alerts and emails. Step back, work externally with your own task app – like Wunderlist or Any.Do—and stay on track.
Whatever the occasion, if it calls for a celebration, celebrate. A good party can be a major morale booster for the entire office.
12. What Have We Learned?
Stuff happens. While it’s normal to feel down when challenges occur, it’s important not to stay down. Instead, try to take away lessons from the setback or failure in order to prevent having it repeat again.
13. Take Advantage of the Perks
Many startups offer great perks to their workers, like free dry cleaning or flex Fridays. Often, there is an awesome membership waiting for you at a nearby gym. If you’re spending 60 hours per week on the job, taking advantage of available perks will help you maintain essential functions – or at least allow you to continue to fit into your wardrobe.
14. Feed Your Face
With all the hours that you’re putting in, maintaining a healthy diet is a must. Many startups feature on-site cafeterias, or order in takeout from local eateries. If yours is one of them, by all means, indulge. But keep it healthy—salads, veggies wraps, and whole foods always trump greasy fast food. When fighting stress is your goal, eating clean and drinking enough water should rank up there as well.
15. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Traffic sucks, weather’s rough, and the printer’s out of ink. Aggravating, yes, but not a major crisis. Try not to sweat it.
16. Put the Big Stuff into Perspective
Traumatic events can and will happen, but it is essential to maintain perspective, if only so that you can move on. By putting things into perspective, you can make a new start if possible or take another direction if necessary.
17. Reward Yourself for Doing the Hard Stuff
Maybe you don’t like writing expense reports, but they still need to be done. Treat yourself to a really nice lunch or a Scandal marathon on Netflix for knocking out that dreaded expense report in the morning.
18. Pick Up the Slack
The phrase “it’s not my job” doesn’t exist at a startup, or shouldn’t. If you’re caught up on your workload and see a colleague struggling, offer to pick up the slack.
19. Take Mental Health Days
No matter how awesome your startup is, there are some days when you just can’t face the routine. Unless you are in the middle of a crisis or another major undertaking, take a mental health day for yourself.
20. Go Ahead and Gloat!
You worked really hard to get to where you are now and feel really lucky to have landed your dream startup job – it’s okay to show off all of your accomplishments!
Written by Audrey Henderson at SuperMoney.com, a comprehensive personal finance information guide offering powerful money management tools, reviews & money management tips to help consumers win their fight for financial freedom.