The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “How do you stay sane with little to no free time?” is written by Rajeev Behera, co-founder and CEO of Reflektive.
No amount of management experience can completely prepare you for being a startup founder. As Reflektive, a performance management startup that I co-founded in 2014, has grown from one to 100 employees, one to over 300 customers, and raised $42 million in two funding rounds, every day there is an opportunity to feel incredibly excited, but equally overwhelmed.
I know many entrepreneurs who fizzle under the pressure. That’s why it’s important to have a short list of core principles that you never deviate from on how to stay sane and thrive at a fast-growth startup, especially in the early stages of building a company.
Here are five ways I stay focused and healthy:
Hire the right people
As a founding CEO, one of the most important jobs you have is to build a strong foundational team that runs the business well each day. Being able to trust your team to hire the right people for every role enables you to step back and focus on the future and bigger picture.
The same goes for letting people go. You have to empower your managers to make those decisions so you can take care of high-value priorities in the business every day, such as reviewing and adjusting your business model and meeting with customers.
It’s up to you to hire managers you can count on, though, specifically those who are nurturing and care about employee development. Managers should work closely with employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and coach them to grow.
Prioritize every day
Each morning, I look at my task list and look at the biggest business risks and opportunities at the time and determine what two items to tackle that day. Right now, for example, we have a lot of HR executives looking to replace their annual performance reviews with continuous feedback, but we don’t have enough sales executives to respond to the demand.
This is one of my top priorities because it adds significant risk to our business model. I’ve been focusing on helping our recruiting team bring in top sales talent that is adept not only in selling technology, but in selling talent development solutions.
Make time for family
My wife is also a startup CEO, and we’re parents of a newborn. If we don’t make time to spend together each day, it would be easy to never cross paths. We both make it a priority to have dinner with each other every day we’re not traveling—no matter what.
A good place to start is cutting time spent at evening networking events short so you have more to spend with family.
Go for a walk to reset
One of the hardest challenges for a CEO is context switching. Whenever I have a lot of back-to-back meetings, I go for a quick walk around the block to recalibrate so I can focus on whatever we’re supposed to be accomplishing. Getting away from the office, just for a few minutes, is extremely effective in remaining calm and focused at all times.
Disconnect twice a year
I make it a point to take two family vacations a year to remote locations where we can completely remove ourselves from the world. We went to Madagascar earlier this year, and not only was it incredible, but I was a much better leader and manager when I came back from my trip. Disconnecting helps me to prioritize better once I do return, and focus on the future of the business. And the company, in the hands of my trusted team, did not fall apart when I was away.
If you can stick to this plan as a founder, small issues don’t need to become fire drills, and you can surround yourself with a team that you trust to do what’s right for the business, making it possible to be the CEO you want to be.