Being a solopreneur, or a one-person business, comes with many perks and challenges. One of these double-edged swords is having complete control over how you allocate your time. Since working for yourself means that you’re in charge of pretty much everything, it’s common for solopreneurs to create an endless to-do list that, unfortunately, sometimes replaces any available time for self-care. But when your business relies on only you to thrive, it’s essential to devote some time to activities that support your physical and mental well-being.
Below are some tips for making time for health and fitness, even with a busy and unpredictable entrepreneurial schedule.
Make wellness part of your regular routine.
Day-to-day tasks can constantly change for an entrepreneur, sometimes without much warning. To make wellness a priority, schedule it as a task in your calendar. Whether you want to incorporate wellness activities on a daily basis or multiple times per week, assign specific chunks of time just for that.
This could mean a jog on the treadmill to wrap up the afternoon, or three 20-minute walks around the block with the dog to break up the day. It could mean dedicating one hour every morning to journaling, guided meditation, or simply sitting outside quietly with a cup of coffee. Whatever this looks like for you, make it a non-negotiable part of your routine.
Pair wellness tasks with work tasks.
On days when it becomes impossible to stick to your regular routine, consider pairing wellness tasks with certain business tasks when appropriate. For instance, take a client call while walking around the neighborhood or listen to an entrepreneurial podcast while doing yoga. Even if breaking a sweat isn’t an option some days, getting some sunshine and fresh air can make all the difference in how your day turns out.
Prepare as much as possible ahead of time.
When your hours are already scheduled and free time is precious, a little preparation can go a long way. Meal prep is a great way to plan ahead, freeing up time that would otherwise be spent deciding what to eat or running out to grab individual meals. Save yourself time with a few simple changes: cut up raw produce to keep in the fridge for an easy grab-and-go snack, or put together a lunch plate the night before that can be quickly heated. To help stay hydrated all day, fill a cold water bottle at night to grab in the morning and keep at your desk.
Track your time.
In order to devote more attention to wellness, it helps to become aware of how you truly spend your hours. Tracking apps are available to create an activity log, or you could simply spend one day documenting the time you spend on all your tasks in a spreadsheet. You may be surprised by how much time you actually have available to repurpose in a day, and it can be eye-opening to see how you’ve been spending your hours. Once you determine where time can be shifted, you can create new space for health and fitness.
Limit the biggest time-wasting culprits.
Once you have a good snapshot of how your time is being spent, determine what your biggest time wasters are. One of the most common is social media, where a five-minute check-in can quickly become a 30-minute rabbit hole of distraction. Luckily, there are apps available that can actually block certain social media websites, helping to reduce time wasted on mindless surfing and allow you to focus on wellness activities you want to do instead.
Create an untouchable day.
Designate one day each week when you don’t take on any new projects or schedule any calls to help prioritize time for your health. This is your day to focus on whatever you want to do, whether it’s to catch-up, work on a personal project, organize your office, take an exercise class or professional development course, or enjoy another form of extended self-care. Make this day off-limits when scheduling business appointments with others: it’s first and foremost about you and making sure you’re caring for yourself.
Being a solopreneur takes perseverance, self-discipline, and patience. It also takes a healthy leader—you! Organization skills, efficiency, and productivity certainly play a role, but long-term business success ultimately depends on the upkeep of your health as a busy solopreneur.
Ana Reisdorf is registered dietician and writer for Walgreens. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs find balance between personal wellness and their business. You can find a variety of vitamins to supplement a healthy lifestyle at Walgreens.com.