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3 Things I Did Wrong While Working On My Startup

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="5"]S[/su_dropcap]Startup is an incredible journey. The best part is definitely the level of excitement and excitement is what keeps us going. I’ve been working on two of my startups simultaneously. The thing is while you are working on your own startup it seldom feels like you are working enough. It feels like you are giving less than you should give. It feels like working an hour more would make it more likely to succeed. However, I have learned the lessons hard way. It’s not about how many hours you put in but how strategically and with what level of focus you put into work. Recently I took few quiet moments to look back and examine what is happening in my life.

These are the 3 things I did wrong for quite a long period of time and errors that I think no startup founder should make. I’ve tried to find solutions to these problems for myself as well. I understand priority and right and wrong vary greatly from person to person and situation to situation. However, I hope this will help you to develop your own routine and fix your own problems.

[1] Sleeping less

Stay late-this is the advice startup founders often receive. But working hard and staying late is not the same thing. Sleeping less than you need makes you slow and less effective. Science says a normal person needs a minimum of 7 hours sleep everyday and less than that will hamper your performance at work, disturb your attention and reduce you productivity. Arianna Huffington puts it very well:

As we are facing all the multiple crises in our world at the moment, what is good for us on a personal level, what's going to bring more joy, gratitude, effectiveness in our lives and be the best for our own careers is also what is best for the world. So I urge you to shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us, to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="5"]H[/su_dropcap]How to sleep better

Having a good nights sleep is indeed a major problem for many people. We can’t shut our eyes. But the remedy is simple: discipline. You need to work on it. The best way so far is having a sleeping ritual. Get away from your computer or any electric device at least 30 minutes before your bed time. Develop a sleeping ritual and stick to it without any exception till the day it becomes effortless and a habit.

[2] Not reflecting often

In a world where busy is our default setting taking a moment to reflect is rare and seldom considered as important as it is. It happened to me that I never took a break the whole day to look back on what I was doing and how it was affecting my goals and targets for months. It was a serious setback. I’ve found out that most of the busy work does not serve our purpose. We do things without realizing how it’s going to contribute to the end game which is detrimental. I’ve realized as an entrepreneur looking back is critical for me because it gives a clear picture of what’s happening in your world and help you to take corrective measures when needed.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="5"]M[/su_dropcap]Making time for reflection

Why don’t we pause? Because we think stopping for a while will hamper our productivity and will slow us down. Yes, I understand the importance of reflection might vary from person to person depending on what type of personality you are and what type of work you are doing. So, the first step of making time for reflection is realizing that it is important for your growth. With that realization it becomes easy to take few minutes off every day. Do it every day and don’t stop until you feel that you are doing something important. Reflection is not going to make your life better in a single try. You have to do it regularly for a period of time to understand the impact.

Now I’m trying to spend five to ten minutes before sleep to look back into my days and do a quick assessment. You can try this strategy as well or develop a ritual for yourself that suits your condition. Taking a walk before sleep or after dinner can be your way of doing it as well.

[3] Not working out

Startup is a very demanding job. So, to make the most of your time you have to be physically fit. I’ve a very fragile physique and there is a reason for it. I never hit the gym, never tried running, and practiced a very unstructured and convoluted lifestyle during the whole time of my university life. And I paid the price when work load came with its full force. I had quite a bad time coping with all that extra workload and burnout was an everyday phenomena. Out of desperation I started running in the morning. And I can tell you the difference.

Running has created a completely different level of operating standard and stamina for me. Not working out is one of greatest disservice you can do to yourself. Yes, it might happen that running is not your kind of thing. So, find your own sweet spot and work on it.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="5"]H[/su_dropcap]How to make workout a habit

I never take two days off in a row. Muscles are like work animals that are quick on the uptake. If you carefully increase the load, step by step, they learn to take it. [….] It doesn't happen overnight, of course.~ Haruki Murakami

My rule is starting as small as possible and keeping it up for a while and then increasing the load every day. Consistency is very critical. You have to keep going until your intended habit becomes automatic and effortless. Making a workout routine is important because it makes taking action easy.

Have you thought about what you are doing wrong with your startup? I would love to hear from you on this topic.

Note: Thanks to Samantha Morshed for editing this. 

Flickr Image by Ed Schipul 

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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