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Stress Kills! 5 Ways to Keep Your Stress Levels Low.

The ability to manage stress is what sets apart successful entrepreneurs from not-so-successful ones. Just ask Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

Jeffrey Hayzlett

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I’ve been known to skip a few meals, dump four shots of espresso into one cup and even drink a few of those five-hour energy bottles. I thrive on these adrenaline rushes, but no one can live like that for long periods of time.

So, every so often I retreat to my home in South Dakota for a respite from the fast pace of business (or New York City). If you’re like me and thrive on adrenaline, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s okay to hit the pause button: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business owner, an entrepreneur or a c-suite executive.

Life is just simply going to be stressful. The competition, the long work hours, the slashed budgets, deadlines and expectations for employees, customers and shareholders: These things, plus the high-risk decisions associated with them, take a toll.

This is hardly news, of course: According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40 percent of workers surveyed reported that their jobs were very or extremely stressful; 25 percent viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.

But what people should stay attuned to are the ways in which stress can manifest itself — mentally, physically and emotionally, — and the negative pesults, like edginess, impatience, anxiety and moodiness. The main sources for the problem? As measured by the American Institute of Stress, they’re : workload (46 percent), people issues (28 percent), the demands of juggling personal and professional life (20 percent) and lack of job security (6 percent).

For inspiration on managing all this stress, we can turn to the business greats — people who run multi-billion dollar corporations. If they can manage their stress levels, the rest of us can, too. Here are five lessons these icons have to teach:

1. Keep it simple.

When you have a couple of hundred emails in your inbox, a day full of meetings and calls and everyone asking you for your opinion, keeping it simple seems like the most complicated goal — or the last thing on your mind. But it’s something that must be done, to gain a little perspective on what’s most important at that moment.

Related: 5 Steps To Overcoming The Entrepreneurial Blues

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said, “The ability to boil things down, to just work on things that really count, to think through the basics . . . It’s a special form of genius.” At this point, we can all agree that the method to Gates’s madness has worked.

One of my own mottos that I try to impart to my team is, “Work smarter, not harder.” By working smarter, I keep things simple. I don’t need to be copied in every single email chain, or be a part of every conversation or decision; that’s why I have a team — to take care of the process. My team feels empowered to make decisions in my absence, so I can focus on what matters most — growing the business.

2. Focus on what matters.

One of the easiest things to do is become overwhelmed by all that needs to be done or isn’t getting done. When we’re overwhelmed, our tempers flare, and we take things out on those closest to us; things spiral downward.

But ask yourself, What’s really important? I have 20 things on my “to-do” list, but what will happen if, instead of taking care of all 20, I take care of only the top five? Will the world stop spinning?

No, Nothing will happen. Those worries are all in your head.

Richard Branson is synonymous with the Virgin brand, but he is someone who has his priorities straight. Said Branson: “If I lose the whole Virgin empire tomorrow, then I’d just go and live somewhere, like Bali. Now, if there was a problem with my family, healthwise . . . that’s a problem.”

It sounds trite sometimes, but prioritizing things that really matter can reduce stress levels considerably. If the big things are taken care of, or are going well, the business side of things will be okay, too. I’ve bought and sold over 250 businesses over the years, I’ve had my fair share of failures (one of them involved a failed pheasant farm).

But these failures are nothing compared to my family’s welfare.

3. Take control.

When we have looming deadlines, meetings with clients or investors, lists a mile long: Our brains can short-circuit. Being overwhelmed breeds inaction and confusion. How can we break the cycle? By taking control of the situation.

If you’re stressing about the million things that need to be done, the only number you need to focus on is the number “1.” What’s first on your list? Tackle that specific task, and only that task — forget the others. Being that laser-focused allows you to take control of the situation, which propels you into the next task and gives you a sense of accomplishment, thereby, lowering stress.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have control over . . . I find that as soon as I identify it and make the first phone call, or send off the first email . . . it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”

Related: Think It. Become It. How Your Thoughts Have Power Over Your Destiny

4. Take a break.

This sounds like an oxymoron at times, especially when you feel that the fate of the world is resting on your shoulders. But, if you’re saying, “Can’t take a break right now,” stop! After all, I’m saying it, and I’m the guy who flew from New York to Hawaii for a business meeting. I was in Hawaii for less than 48 hours.

Some entrepreneurs and executives have a higher tolerance for adrenaline rushes and  a reputation for being workaholics — that comes with the territory. But what good are you to your family or your team if you burn out? Working nonstop leads to burnout and slows productivity. Recognizing the signs can save you and your business headaches. In fact, 90 percent of leaders in a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership reported that they managed stress by temporarily removing themselves, physically and mentally, from their source of stress.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki believes in stopping and smelling the roses. Wojcicki said, “I think it’s really important to take time off, and I’ve also found that sometimes you get really good insights by taking time off.” I agree; I find not just inspiration, but perspective, when I’m home at the ranch or going on vacation to Italy with my wife.

5. Plan ahead.

We all know what we’re doing every single day of the week, so planning ahead is key in managing stress levels. Every Sunday night, I look at my calendar for the week and prioritize meetings, phone calls, events and the duties around those tasks. Then, I print my daily calendar, streamlining my workload even more to stay on track at a granular level.

Organizing, planning and streamlining tasks are effective management strategies; having a good system in place helps things run smoothly, reducing everyone’s stress levels.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said, “The more you can set a cadence around what you do, and the more ritual and the more consistency you can build into your schedule, the less stress you’re going to have.”

Related: 5 Vital Keys To Success From The Likes Of Tony Robbins And Gary Vaynerchuk

So, it’s not just grit, hard work and determination that separate the successful from the unsuccessful: It’s also how people manage their stress levels as they run their operations. We’re all stressed, after all; it’s a natural side effect of pushing to achieve our dreams. But how we manage it sets us apart. Don’t let stress be your downfall.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Jeffrey Hayzlett is the author of Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless (Entrepreneur Press, 2015). He is the primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and is the host of the award-winning All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio. He is a Hall of Fame speaker, best-selling author, and chairman of C-Suite Network, a network of C-suite leaders.

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Constance Prince Maurice – For Unspoiled Luxury Between Lake And Lagoon

Romantic hideaway, stunning architectural design, luxurious setting; choose from one of the 64 Junior suites, 12 Family suites, 12 Villas or the lavish Princely Villa at Constance Prince Maurice. Unplug and recharge in a 5* luxury hideaway surrounded by an abundance of nature. Blissfully peaceful, its elegance is matched only by our discreet, intuitive service. Experience our passion for wine in the most extensive wine cellar in the Indian Ocean. A place to open your heart and let the everyday slip away.

Constance Hotels & Resorts

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Constance Prince Maurice

Constance Prince Maurice enjoys an idyllic location on the north-east coast of Mauritius. It is 15 minutes from the airport by helicopter and 35 km from the capital Port Louis. Constance Prince Maurice is situated on 60 hectares of private land which is completely unspoilt, sheltered from the prevailing winds and ensuring maximum privacy for its guests. Its tropical gardens consist of rare and luxuriant vegetation and the calm turquoise lagoon blends perfectly with the fresh green hinterland and the secluded beaches of brilliant white sand. A natural fish reserve situated in the western part of the hotel adds to the uniqueness and natural beauty of the location.

Designed by architectural mastermind Jean Marc Eynaud and designer David Edwards, Constance Prince Maurice is where style, space and architectural designs create the perfect hotel lifestyle. Peaceful by day, the hotel is amidst lush tropical greenery. Our infinity pool and natural reserves add to the décor by instilling a sense of tranquillity.

Picturesque at night, the structure of the hotel is enhanced by warm lights positioned to harmonise with the environment. Lounge in an intimate and secluded setting, pamper yourself at the U Spa by Constance and Sisley and feast on exceptional cuisine created by our chefs from around the world.

Related: Immerse Yourself In Purposeful Reading This Holiday Season

Families can choose our beach villas and complimentary Constance kids clubs while golf pros can retreat to our two 18-hole championship golf courses.

Inspired by Feng Shui principles to create the perfect sense of harmony, all beds stand high above floor level to help the circulation of Qi. In the first hall of the Archipel restaurant, internal concrete columns are at the centre of the hall so as to increase the concentration of energy in the centre.

Highlights of your stay

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  • Taste one of our 25,000 wine bottles in the Indian Ocean’s largest wine cellar.
  • Enjoy a fine dinner in a floating bar and restaurant… a Mauritius exclusive.
  • Gaze at the underwater waterfall illusion from a helicopter.
  • Experience kite surfing with friends and family

The Constance Hotels and Resorts Group owns and manages a number of luxurious island destinations in the Indian Ocean, made up of 5-star Resorts: Constance Belle Mare Plage (Mauritius), Constance Ephelia (Seychelles), Constance Moofushi (Maldives), Constance Tsarabanjina (Madagascar) and 5-star deluxe Hotels: Constance Prince Maurice (Mauritius), Constance Lemuria (Seychelles) and Constance Halaveli (Maldives).

Distinctive elements for these hotels and resorts include magnificent locations with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; distinctive architecture and design; warm hospitality; completely personalised guest experiences; gastronomic excellence matched by internationally recognised sommeliers; Constance Kids Clubs at all hotels and resorts; complete wellness and rejuvenation with U Spa by Constance; and some of the most beautiful natural diving locations in the world (PADI and CMAS are available at all hotels). Constance Belle Mare Plage, Constance Prince Maurice and Constance

Related: Turn Your Holiday Into A Luxury Affair

Lemuria Seychelles on Praslin all have 18-hole championship golf courses.

Contact us now for your island destination holiday in some of the most idyllic spots in the world.

Central Reservations: Tel: +230 402 3636

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Work Life Balance

10 Tips On Fatherhood And Entrepreneurship

Rowan Leibbrandt, Owner of premium drinks company, Truman & Orange (which has brought us Bannermans Scotch Whisky and Mazzatti Italian Beers to name the two most relevant to most dads), told us how he balances being a Superdad with giving his growing business all he’s got!

Rowan Leibbrandt

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The weird nature of this type of thing – starting a business, starting a family – is that by definition you’re always a novice: Everyone does it for the first time, everyone needs to work it out for himself. Ironically, if you’re good at both, it will be really, really hard.  Typically, things you’re good at are easy, but this seems to work the other way around: Being a successful entrepreneur and the kind of dad your kids crane their necks to find in the crowd when they’re playing sport, requires enormous, consistent, thoughtful effort.

From a certain perspective, things are clearly more challenging for today’s aspiring entrepreneur. The modern world has a complexity that dads of previous eras didn’t have to grapple with. Noah, in launching his nautical cruise business, never had to catch the red eye to Jerusalem. Marco Polo never battled with cell phone reception while on his way to meet customers. To be sure they had other challenges, but they were somewhat linear. Today, the future Steve Jobs has to wrestle with something far more mercurial and slippery: Time.

Sprinkle in the contemporary demand for a man to balance the needs of fatherhood with his career, and you have the built-in tension which, simply put, some rise to and other don’t.

Related: How To Start A Business With No Money

I’m not quite sure how I’m fairing

There are some days where we land some achievement at work and I get home and one of my sons wants to sit on my lap and tell me about his day. On those days I try to remember to fist pump and tell myself what super-human man I am. Other days I leave for an early flight before anyone else is awake and forget I was meant to take one of the boys to swimming lessons that afternoon. In any event, here are the lessons I’m learning. (I suggest starting from the top and mastering each level before moving onto the next until you gradually become the Dad-entrepreneur Jedi that I know lurks inside you.)

OK, here goes:

  1. Never ever have kids at the same time as starting a new business (oops!)
  2. If you break rule one, try very, very hard to learn your lesson and not do it again (dammit!)
  3. If you’re still reading you’re not doing very well, are you? I suggest you take a really deep breath, suck it up and get on with it. (Seriously, this is actually the most important rule – the rest are details, really.)
  4. Don’t bother reading Elon Musk’s book because you heard he had 5 kids and built a tech empire and thought, “Mmm he sounds like a guy who might have some answers”. His answer involved a small army of au pairs. Your wife probably won’t let you hire one (remember Tiger Woods?) and let’s face it most of us start up a business with a little less than Ellon-Paypal-Musk.
  5. Try not to travel on Fridays, so you can be home on Saturday mornings. Seriously, this should be obvious, but it took me a while to figure out. And get up early on Saturday to buy coffee and croissants for breakfast. That works well.
  6. Never ever send your wife pictures from a business trip unless where you’re standing is absolutely horrific. She will always assume your business travel is incredibly glamorous and way more fun than staying at home with your amazing kids. War zones, cities after some sort of natural disaster or some sort of heavy industrial setting work well. Never under any circumstances send a pic where there is any trace of blue sky, sunshine or (god forbid) a beach.
  7. Never phone your wife while anyone is laughing in the background. And don’t call her if you can hear female voices either: this will not end well. If there is a hairdryer in the hotel room I sometimes turn it on before I call to drown out any potentially fun-sounding noises that might escape from my un-airconditioned, 1-star, economy hotel in Lagos.
  8. OK, back to kids. (Rule 6, strictly speaking, comes from my “How to avoid pissing your wife off while building a business” list, but I usually include it in all my lists because the costs of getting it wrong permeates the rest of your life so powerfully.) Explain to your kids what it is you do. You’d be amazed how much they understand and how fulfilling it is to have them relate to what you’re trying so hard to do. We have a drinks company and my son, from about 4-years old, has been happily telling everyone he’d rather be a whisky salesman than a doctor. How cool is that? If anyone wants to nominate me for Best Dad 2018, please go ahead.
  9. I’ve left some of the biggies for later as they’re the hardest. Also, if you’ve mastered things so far, you are fast approaching ninja level and Jedi is in sight. This will sound simple, you’ve heard it before and (like the force) you absolutely know it without needing to be told: don’t spend your weekends on your phone, be present. It doesn’t really matter what you do: if my son wants to poke slugs in our garden, then I need to find him just the right stick and not be distracted by my phone.
  10. Buy them stuff when you’ve been away for a while. Not expensive stuff, but random, unique things from far-away places that create excitement when you return, remind them you’re thinking about them all the time, and give you an opportunity to talk about where you’ve been. (By the way I’m referring to gifts for the kids. Gifts for your wife operate on an entirely different set of principles, refer to rules 1-4 of my other list if you want some guidance as to what to buy her. Please don’t confuse the two. Please, just don’t.)

Related: 20 South African Side-Hustles You Can Start This Weekend

And finally, learn how to deal with feeling guilty. This is hard and there will be times when you fail to be the best dad and entrepreneur you can be. In fact, this will happen often. But remember the guilt is there because you’re trying so hard at both not because you aren’t. Use it to remind yourself what is important and help you think harder about how to do the best at both these amazing jobs you’re fortunate enough to have.


Win This Father’s Day

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Win with Truman & Orange!

To enter, email the answer to the following question with the header: “Entrepreneur Magazine competition”.

Name the whisky and the beer distributed by Truman & Orange. 

Email your answer, together with your name and cell number to bannermans@trumanandorange.co.za to stand a chance to win a bottle of Bannerman’s Finest Scotch Whisky and a bottle of each of the Mazzatti Birra Superiore range (Don’t forget to put “Entrepreneur Magazine competition” in the subject line).

Find out more on the Truman & Orange range here.

Ts and Cs are as follows:

  • Prizes are not transferable or redeemable for cash and the judge’s decision is final
  • Winners will be notified by email
  • No persons under the age of 18 may enter the competition.

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Work Life Balance

Avoid Burnout With These Small Changes To The Way You Work

Follow these five tips to work smarter, not harder.

Lisa Promise

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Workplace burnout is real. I know, because I’ve been there, and I know most others have as well at some point or another. Thrive Global’s Arianna Huffington is no different. She’s on a mission to fix what she deems a “culture of burnout,” after her own collapse from exhaustion in 2007.

Huffington rightly says: “When we take care of ourselves, we are more effective, we are more creative and we are more successful in a broad definition of the word.”

Medical News Bulletin recently published “Can Positive Psychology Traits Prevent Burnout?,” referencing a study where participants completed a survey about the balance of the effort versus reward from a job. This particular research was focused on the manufacturing industry in China, given the “monotonous and repetitive nature of their work,” but this can be said for many professions and sectors. It was found that hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism can help to manage work stress, and people with these qualities are less likely to become burnt out.

Related: (Video) Avoid Burn Out

There have been many studies published over the years that working less results in higher productivity (hint: the optimal number is less than 40 hours per week). Perhaps even more important is that it’s nearly impossible to stay focused for long stretches at a time. Some research suggests that you should be breaking as frequently as every hour.

Work smarter not harder

In line with that, I believe in working smarter, not harder. While there are 24 hours in a day, they weren’t all made for work. I’m in the camp that working eight hours nonstop is actually more unproductive than it is beneficial. Your brain has peak operating times, and what works for one may not work for another.

Some people are at their best in the mornings, while others are most efficient late at night. I firmly believe that dictating what hours you should work and when is not the best method to yield quality work.

I often get asked how I can get things done. I work from home, and some have the perspective that I have no one to hold me accountable throughout the day. Inquiring minds wonder everything from what my daily schedule looks like, to how I motivate myself to finish up a project or prospect for my next client.

Related: Even If You Work Hard And Love What You Do, You’re Still At Risk Of Burning Out

tim-ferrissLet me start by saying that I strongly value flexibility. It’s the reason why working for myself is the best fit for me. But I hold myself accountable, and there’s a certain amount of self-discipline involved in doing that. Everything I do is because I’ve set goals for myself.

I have a duty to uphold to my clients and my partners, and a commitment to myself about the success of my business. I also pride myself in the underrated aspect of efficiency. It’s not how long you do something for, but how well you do it.

Several books I’ve read over the years on this topic have stuck with me. Getting Things Done, by David Allen, addresses the two-minute rule. If you can do something in two minutes or less, do it now. Don’t make a note and come back to it later. The time you spend thinking about it, planning it and recording it is more than the time it actually takes to complete the task.

Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week covers the topic of efficiency as well. He’s a prime example of taking the phrase “Work smarter, not harder” to a whole new level. To be successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to work more, only that you need to work more efficiently.

Based on experience, I’ve adopted these top five tips to do just that:

Free up your mind

There is no need to remember everything. You read that right. Why are you keeping everything in your mind, which only serves to bog you down and make you feel overwhelmed? Find a record-keeping system that works for you.

Related: Admin Hacks For Entrepreneurs

Some people prefer old-fashioned paper notes. I prefer electronic. With a Mac laptop and an iPhone, I use Notes and Reminders apps to store everything I need to do or think about. I schedule reminder times to make sure I’ve checked something off my list. No matter what device I’m on, I know it’s available to me.

Schedule

Plus, I schedule everything on my calendar – my morning activities to start my day, hours allocated for every client and even things like time to take a walk. But again, I’m flexible. I move things around as needed, but I know I have set time to focus on a task at hand.

Plan and bucket

Some projects seem daunting from the start, but they need to be done whether you want to or not. Oftentimes the hardest part of a project is starting it.

Create a plan and break it down into manageable chunks. If you can complete a portion each day, not only will your mind stay sharp, but that focus will also help to make the task more bearable. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Follow the 80/20 rule

I’m a longtime follower of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle: 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the work.

Why are you spending time on things that take 80 percent of your resources but deliver 20 percent of the value?

Stop doing meaningless tasks, or outsource them if they must be done. Prioritisation is one of the most important keys to efficiency.

Take breaks

It might seem counter intuitive that you can get more done by working less, but the human mind was not created to work non-stop. As research suggests, breaks are beneficial. Go for a walk, have lunch away from your desk, read a book, catch up with a friend or colleague – I promise you’ll feel refreshed and ready to reengage.

Related: Is Working Too Hard Destroying Your Business?

The 40-hour workweek is so synonymous with the American culture that it’s unlikely to change in the corporate world anytime soon. Most of us know that 40 hours isn’t really 40 hours anyway, it’s “whatever it takes.” That being said, with influencers like Huffington working to educate companies on the detriments of overwork, there’s hope.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard – it’s to be admired and valued. But don’t work long hours only for the sake of it. The companies that are getting it right realise that face time isn’t everything.

The results you deliver, the reputation you hold and the relationships you build should always outweigh the hours of your workweek. As an entrepreneur, you can take advantage of this and you can evangelise this approach to others. Work smarter, not harder, and you’ll be better for it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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