How technology can help busy entrepreneurs put health first

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A quick Google search reveals the top five, 10, and even 33 things that all successful entrepreneurs do every day. They range from common sense (keep a schedule) to highly subjective (know your strengths).

If you feel the weight of achieving success, you are not alone. According to the US Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021; that is 1 million more than the previous year, and an absolute record. If you want your business to be in the 10% that succeeds, you need to hack the code. Managing just one of the daily must-dos — health — can help you do that.

Related: Why Your Health Is Key To Your Business Success

Why is health important for entrepreneurs?

Most entrepreneurs, especially new ones, believe that success means sacrificing everything. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Success in business is rooted in self-care. A 2018 Mayo Clinic survey found that only 27% of CEOs engage in physical activity and 90% struggle with work-life balance. Those who work more than 55 hours a week have a 16% higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. CEOs are also twice as likely as the public to suffer from depression, and that may have something to do with working those 55+ hour weeks and sleeping 6.7 or fewer hours a night.

Before you write that off as “just the way it is,” consider the risks to your business. Sleep deprivation negatively affects your ability to concentrate, make decisions, and remember even basic information. How many times a day do you forget the same password? Ultimately, if you don’t prioritize health, you’re putting yourself and your business at risk.

As the co-founder and CEO of multiple thriving health-focused companies, I’ve committed a great deal of health transgression. I know from experience that achieving a work-life balance while pursuing the 33 must-dos is a dream in the air. I have also learned that an entrepreneur’s mental, emotional and physical well-being is the foundation for success. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of business. That’s why it’s time for concrete advice that goes beyond suggestions to be organized or be persistent.

Related: To achieve a goal, you need to take care of yourself

Connect your health and productivity apps to reduce time wasted

We live in a mobile-first world and thoughtful use of your phone is critical to success. To put it in perspective, the average person spends nearly five hours a day on their mobile device. That’s the equivalent of 1,825 hours, which is just over 76 days, or 21% of a year. This is largely due to app use, but at the same time apps have been proven to be beneficial for health and productivity. A New York University study revealed positive short- and long-term health trends for app users, including helping users sharpen their attention to detail, at least when it comes to their health.

Reduce wasted time by consolidating the number of apps you use for health and productivity. Choose one app for meditation, calming and sleeping. Likewise for tracking exercise, water intake and food consumption.

Can’t give up your apps? Choose those who share information with each other. Many health and productivity applications are designed to connect with other apps and with your mobile phone’s inherent applications. Making these connections reduces the need for double entry of information. It also reduces the time you spend on your mobile device, giving you more time to run your business.

Related: 6 Self-Care Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

Do telecare and do it more often

Entrepreneurs are known for having a health problem and doing nothing about it. Before the pandemic — and before the widespread availability of telehealth — an unpublished University of California study found that 72% of business owners self-reported psychological symptoms of depression, ADHD, substance abuse and possible bipolar disorder. The findings are significant because national estimates indicate that 19% of the total population lives with a mental illness, making the proportion of entrepreneurs at risk far too high to ignore. And yet, that’s what most entrepreneurs seem to do with both mental health and general health. We focus on getting the job done rather than keeping ourselves in good shape. This may partly be due to the loss of time associated with medical care.

Now that telecare is widely available, most of these time-wasting factors have disappeared. It is now possible to show up for a medical appointment without leaving your office. So technology has removed many barriers and every excuse for entrepreneurs to stay connected with medical and mental health professionals.

Related: Why Telemedicine Is The Future Of Healthcare

Combine and conquer

You’ve heard the phrase “divide and conquer,” but when it comes to health technology, it’s better to combine and conquer. There’s now technology that puts your health data at your fingertips, so you can track your lab work, X-rays, and doctor’s notes, just like you track your business stats. More importantly, technologies are coming that combine your data with insights and directions to the doctor so you know when it’s time to slow down the freight train.

My own company, Vasa Health, builds healthcare applications designed to simplify and make sense of health and wellness, while also giving patients greater control over their healthcare with insights and full access to their health data and information. Our vision is to enable patients to download their latest lab results and also mark items for follow-up. It’s all about simplification. And it might give you some ideas of other places to combine and conquer, such as buying a software technology that tracks your income and expenses and helps with taxes.

That ideal — that vision — comes from a business owner who spent a month sleeping three hours a night, skipping the gym, and eating a fast-food cheeseburger instead of cooking a few too many times at home in the pursuit of success. When it comes down to it, simplifying your approach to health with the right technologies is the most important thing you can do for your success.

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