How to get through tough times and quiet the brain

Boy was my head all over the place last week.

If you read my previous blog post (why the heck wouldn’t you?), you know it’s a weird time right now. Things usually slow down a bit in the summer, but the economy isn’t looking all that great.

And it could get worse.

So we’re thinking about what to do about it, and how to stay on the offensive. So far, it’s been a good amount of brainstorming, followup research and discussions with the team, advisors, etc. to narrow down a few other services or products we can test.

A network of people you trust is key

Luckily I have some good people I can talk to who:

1) are much smarter than me, and

2) are older and more experienced, meaning they’ve been through business cycles and downturns before

Having people like that in your corner is so important, especially in times like these. So I highly recommend, especially if you’re a solopreneur with a new business, small business, or are looking to start a business, to have some people in your network – whether they’re formal advisors, informal mentors, or even just older friends who’ve been around the block.

In my case, I have a trusted group of advisors through Visto who I talk with every 2-4 weeks, and also a few other people in my network who I’ve kept in touch with that I can reach out to in times like these. Always very reassuring to be able to set up a few calls and get amazing advice, even if it’s just to refocus and keep you sane when times get tough.

Anyway, just sharing what’s been really helpful thus far and I’ll continue to share where my head is going and strategies we look into.

This also means it’s been a much less “structured” week.

By that I mean we’re taking a fresh approach into what we should be focusing on, technically anything goes. It’s not just “another week” of doing sales, doing admin work, etc.

It’s been a week of “holy crap, we need to start figuring out and testing some new stuff asap, so we gotta move move move!”

Which means my brain is all over the place.

It’s been a lot of many different things:

– Doing market research on new service or product ideas

– Trying to come up with a list of criteria for how we should prioritize and choose what to test first

– Meeting with the team and coming up with a plan for how we move forward

– And of course, trying to find ways to stay positive and upbeat 🙂

The key thing I’m focused on is how we can take all this energy and funnel it into something productive, so we come out the other side even stronger.

It’s part of startup life, so it’s not me complaining. Instead, it’s me realizing that in times like this, we – as solopreneurs or founders or business owners – need to pay extra attention to staying calm, cool and collected.

During more hectic weeks like this, it’s easier to get caught up in the craziness, get more worked up and next thing you know, it’s 10pm and your brain is still spinning in circles and it’s hard to fall asleep.

I caught myself facing that Wednesday after a bad night or two of sleep. It happens, of course. But we need to spot and react accordingly.

Maintain positive boundaries and schedule

For me, that means making sure to continue to maintain the right boundaries and schedule. Especially to ensure a good sleep, it means:

  • no more computer/laptop/TV after 930pm
  • get brushed and into bed as early as possible to start reading (a real book – I don’t do any Kindle or audiobook stuff)
  • phone on airplane mode by 10pm
  • lights out by 10:45 (most nights it’s earlier)

It’s when things get crazy and I fall out of that habit when sleep goes downhill.

And when sleep goes downhill, everything else does too.

It’s a vicious cycle that we all face at some point or another during our entrepreneurial journey. So how do you make sure you don’t get caught up in it?

Personally, it’s about making sure I have a few key people I can rely on to help me stay grounded. And also, making sure I have a few key habits that I stick to religiously, no matter how hectic things get.

More tips on how to get through tough times and quiet the brain:

1) Understand that tough times are a part of life, and they will eventually pass.

2) Talk to trusted people who have been through tough times before, and get their advice.

3) Stay focused on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t.

4) Make sure to maintain healthy habits, even when things get crazy.

5) Take some time for yourself – even if it’s just 10-15 minutes a day – to relax and clear your mind.

When looking at how to start a business, how to start an online business, creating a business plan, becoming successful as a business owner, or building a small business, these few tips can make the solopreneur life a little easier to manage in these difficult times.

What about you? How do you make sure you don’t get too caught up in the craziness of startup life? Share in the comments below!

Anyway, food for thought. Have a great week and keep grinding.

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