Whether you build a start-up, a vlog, establish a career, or become your own boss, you can be sure that sooner or later a day will come when you’re so busy with your 24-hour shifts that you’ll experience burnout. Many successful entrepreneurs recount their great successes by adding that they’ve paid the price, whether by compromising their time with friends, their health, or by having worked themselves to the point of a breakdown.
Who better to ask about the best tips and tricks for young entrepreneurs to stay balanced and healthy than the legendary Dr. Oz? Dr. Oz influences the lives of millions with his TV show as well as Sharecare, the digital health company he created with Oprah and Jeff Arnold, the founder of WebMD. I met him during the week of the famous tech conference, WebSummit in the lobby of his hotel, where he began sharing stories about his past as soon as he sat down next to me. “I’ve spent my life the way you described [regarding stress and burnout], especially when I was performing heart surgery full time,” he said. He then shared with me his tips on how you can prevent burnout and maintain balance with your job and your health:
1. Focus on energy management
“The number one thing I tell the folks who I know--and this is something coming from my own experience—is that the most important decision is not time management,” begins Dr. Oz, “It’s energy management.” Most people will still use the excuse of “but I don’t have time for this right now,” but the concept above contradicts this excuse. Instead, ask the following question: are you really investing your energy in the right thing?
“If there’s a thing that gives you energy, you should do more of that,” Dr. Oz said. For example, “you travel around the world to find that story, and maybe it wouldn’t seem like the best use of your time, it is--because it gives you energy.” It might be worth prioritizing your tasks based on what motivates you and brings you joy, instead of mindlessly scheduling yourself jobs that you don’t even like.
2. Set your boundaries
I often see young digital content creators dealing with all sorts of topics instead of asking themselves questions like, “Is it really that important to write about this? Can I be authentic in this field?”
Dr. Oz says, “When I first started the show, we had a lot of young millennials working on it, just as Oprah had when she was still doing her daily show – and it was challenging because we while they brought us fresh perspective, we might have to say no to an idea that really is a good, because it was off-brand for us. Or [when we decided not to] post something because it tells a story that is not authentic to who we are.”
I’m glad he brought up this topic, considering that Instagram is steadily going towards this direction--more and more people are showcasing a life that has nothing to do with reality, which is simply unsustainable in the long run.
“It’s a fiction, and then you have to keep up with this fiction. I think it’s the realness and authenticity that make people comfortable in their own skin, so it makes them live their lives truly,” Dr. Oz said. But what happens when you craft an unrealistic image of a superhero who doesn’t actually exist? This is when content creators start to completely isolate themselves from their page, as people are constantly expecting an image that’s exhausting to keep up with. As a result of this, more and more digital content creators experience a burnout or breakdown.
“My experience is that most of the time those negative comments are not about me, but about the person who wrote them,” Dr. Oz said. “They are angry about something that I have very little to do with, but I may represent what they are angry about. There are good points as well, and to those I have to respond. If I am wrong, I should own up to that too.”
This attitude makes his online presence even more human. He gives me another example as well: “I wrote an article about food. You can eat healthy, but it doesn’t have to make you bankrupt. A lot of people are saying that’s not true, and that you need more money to eat better. The point that they wanted to make was for me to respect the fact that you need money to buy good food. They are right. You do. My point was that it doesn’t cost too much to make it not worth it. So I went back, and I said, ‘I hear what you are saying, I understand that, you are right. This is what I am trying to say also.” How about trying to look at comments objectively, rather than interpreting the occasional negative comment as a personal attack? It’s worth a try.
3. Always have good food around you
Many busy people substitute the time planned for food with work. As a result of stress, we often lose our appetite too, so many people live without breakfast or dinner for years (something I can relate to). “You always have to have good food around you. You shouldn’t go and buy food when you are hungry. You have to plan ahead,” Dr. Oz said.
Ever thought about this? Maybe it would be a lot easier to plan your weekly meals early in the week, and make time to prepare them, rather than find something – anything – last minute. “Right now in my room, there are cashew nuts. They are raw, high quality, and available for when I get hungry. For me, it’s the perfect solution.”
4. You shouldn’t skip sleep
“You should not skip sleep. You’re better off sleeping than exercising. Sleep makes you so much more creative. It’s your homework.” I hope Arianna Huffington is reading this, nodding eagerly in agreement. More sleep equals more creativity; you can catch up on exercise later (if you want to).
Oh yes, here comes the difficult part of our lives: how can you maintain your relationships when you have so much on your plate? “You have to maintain your relationships. There will be more difficult times when you are struggling, when you think you are alone, and that’s when you need someone by your side,” Dr. Oz said. “It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, it can be a best friend. But if you don’t respect those relationships, when you fall, there’s no one there to support you.”
“There are three things you should never sacrifice: Eating, sleep, and your relationships.”
Well, we’ve probably all been here. At least I have. I know what it’s like to go through a breakdown, and when trying to reach for help, calling someone who doesn’t pick up the phone anymore. Why? It’s simple: I had been too busy before to meet them. I think I’ve learned my lesson. “It can be a 5-minute-long conversation, once a day. You have to be there for them, and they will be there for you,” says Dr. Oz, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
“If you go on with your day and nothing changes your mind on something, then that’s a bad day. You always need to learn something,” says Dr. Oz, as he says goodbye to me. I smile, because he’s changed my perspective: I can finally put the importance of time management aside, and focus on what’s really going to help my work: energy management.
Nora Oravecz is a self-made social media personality, best-selling author, and speaker on a mission to help the next generation of influencers and entrepreneurs by exploring and sharing the stories of some of the world’s most successful people. Learn more: noraoravecz.co
Proofread by: Xylia Buros