Entrepreneurs are often expected to have supernatural endurance. We don’t.
With most businesses starting out small, a support staff is often out of the question, leading many to take on multiple responsibilities. Even when not totally necessary, many entrepreneurs would often insist on doing things for themselves out of sheer ego.
Regardless of the reasons entrepreneurs have for working long hours, health problems are invariably likely to follow.
Not surprising entrepreneur health in general is very poor by most standards. It’s not easy to find committed entrepreneurs that can get a solid eight hours of sleep and eat a balanced diet. Poor exercise habits and substance abuse issues also contribute to the overall ill-health many entrepreneurs and other workaholics face.
Staying fit is working and playing smart.
What we all need to realize is that forgoing work in order to take proper care of your health is a concrete example of working hard vs. working smart. Let’s put it this way: how productive do you think you would be if you were dead?
The drop in productivity invariably happens way before you’re dead. If you’ve got unhealthy habits, chances are you’re getting much less work done than you might actually think. Multiple studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep, have poor diets and exercise, and are smokers are statistically less productive and incur more in medical expenses – something that should pretty much be obvious to anyone with those habits.
Speaking of medical expenses, the state of health care coverage in the United States is still such that health insurance premiums are among the highest in the world, with the general quality of US health care coming in at 37th, according to the latest World Health Organization report. Granted, that study is skewed towards countries with socialized health care – if one has money you can get excellent health care in the US. Unfortunately, most new entrepreneurs simply don’t have the resources to get decent health coverage.
Even young entrepreneurs are at risk.
It’s not just older entrepreneurs who have to watch out. With costs of living higher compared to previous generations, young entrepreneurs trying to gather enough capital are especially vulnerable. Those saddled with student loans would have it even worse.
Another health problem facing workaholic entrepreneurs- especially younger ones – is the tendency of many to play as hard as they work. A lot of us take a few drinks (or whatever) to unwind after working long and hard on something, myself included.
But the line separating recreation and abuse can be blurred. Alcohol and stimulant abuse is more prevalent among workaholics, and while most will probably get by just fine (at least in the short term), not everyone will be so lucky.
Given the enormous health risks involved with typical entrepreneur health habits, and the bigger long-term pay-offs and relatively low costs involved in keeping healthy – the choice should be clear.
Keeping healthy is nothing more than working smart. Not only will you feel better, you’ll make better decisions and stay in the game much longer.
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How do you keep fit? Comment below!