Entrepreneurship is synonymous with dedication, passion, and fervor. Once you settle on an idea, you need an almost obsessive focus to get it done.
Entrepreneurs and high-performing employees alike know that this focus can also lead to personal neglect. The obsessiveness your business demands may leave you exhausted and in poor health. The energy and focus required may have you putting off your own needs and feeling burnt out, leading to more mental and physical health issues.
In response, a new cohort of startups is investing in self-care, with Thrive Global, Headspace and Calm among them. Now, two young entrepreneurs, Ohad Elhelo and Ori Cohen are taking it a step further by launching Delegate, a personal assistant subscription service that leverages artificial intelligence to help you take back your time by taking care of the things you never seem to get to, but NEED to.
Delegate is built around a Chief of Stuff, a personal task manager that promises to complete your to-dos using information about your interests and needs coupled with their own proprietary AI. Delegate’s tools include: the Kindness Hero to send your grandma birthday flowers; the Shopping Wizard to search for a credit card with the perks you want; and the Fun Manager to organize date night. Founders Elhelo and Cohen channeled their firsthand experiences as busy entrepreneurs into Delegate so that you stay on track for both professional and personal success. Here are their expert tips to balance the pursuit of professional goals with a rich and fulfilling personal life.
Tip #1: Prioritize Your Happiness.
How often have you prioritized an important pitch or key deadline over relaxing at home, seeing friends, or working out? While making sacrifices for professional achievement happens, your personal life is fundamental to your happiness.
Back in 2014, Ohad Elhelo found himself building his first startup, the social enterprise Our Generation Speaks (OGS), while studying for his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He says, “I was so consumed by building OGS that I didn’t invest the time to explore and to do the things I care about like spending time with friends and collecting meaningful experiences.”
We are all guilty of prioritizing work needs over personal one, but what we may not realize is the toll that choice is making. We know, for example, that physical health and emotional wellbeing are essential to success. But plenty of new research also points to the role happiness plays not just in keeping entrepreneurs motivated and achieving, but also our ability to learn new things.
“Both Ori and I believe that committing to something doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game in which other parts of your life fall apart,” says Elhelo. In fact, that realization is what led them to create Delegate. They wanted to find a way to help people fill life’s other buckets–like being the best friend or family member you can be, helping others, and having fun. Less than two years later, they’ve attracted top talent and built a strong team that has made mapping the world of personal tasks and launching Delegate possible.
Tip #2: Manage The Mundane.
Everyday needs can feel boring and unimportant, especially when you are deep in the logistics of running a business. Yet, neglecting the mundane will most certainly harm your long-term plans.
Ignoring your own to-do list can decrease your ability to rest and deal with the stress of work. Further, procrastination has been shown to lead to more stress and less academic achievement. Meanwhile, people who keep their desks tidy are better able to focus and people who take the time to keep their homes tidy are healthier. Getting to even those most minute tasks helps set you up for success.
Elhelo remembers sitting in a meeting with his mentor during a tough period. He had been working around the clock and, as a result, wasn’t paying his own bills on time. She explained how much she valued him being on top of his personal life. Why? Because only once you know how to take care of everything in your personal life, “will you be a leader that I want to support.”
Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of your business and ensuring long-term sustainability. Elhelo says, “I see it even when I do something as small as making sure that I go over my gmail account, pay a bill that I’ve needed to pay for two months, or contact the hotel ahead of my trip to make changes to my reservation. They all add up and I am much more powerful to take care of my company.”
Tip #3: Size Down Your Fear.
Whether you are worried about how you’ll do in an upcoming presentation or doubt your ability to overcome challenge, fear is a part of everyday life and business. Fear gets you into trouble when you let it take over, waste your time, and deplete your energy. But you can size down your fears by being open, talking to those around you, and being aware of your subjective point of view. In fact, one of the only studies into what makes a good leader found that self-awareness is the single biggest predictor of executive success.
Elhelo recommends acting immediately when you find yourself worried or agitated. By taking a minute to reflect on how you are feeling, you can pinpoint what is bothering you and why that might feel particularly painful to you. Most of the time, the simple act of reflection helps you step away from the scenario, remove the mental block, and see the situation for what it really is. He says, “once I got past my subjective carry-on baggage, I started to see that things were not as difficult and a lot of the things I saw as ‘facts’ were actually just the way I was seeing reality.”
Tip #4: Find People That Believe In You.
Entrepreneurship can be isolating. Whether you are just starting or leading a formed team, there will be moments when the responsibility lies firmly on your shoulders. But an important part of caring for yourself and your company is reaching out to the community.
Elhelo saw that there are many successful people out there with expertise and experience: “to access this wealth of information, I needed to identify the people that could help me make my dream a reality with OGS and now with Delegate.” By identifying those people and sharing his vision–and their role in it–he was able to build the kind of lasting relationships critical to success. Elhelo was surprised by how many people were willing to take his phone call but today, he says, “when I have the opportunity to help other people on their own ventures, I feel very privileged to pay it forward.”
Research shows that successful leaders tend to build their careers by connecting with others, helping to build their confidence and overcome self-doubt in light of changing circumstances and new challenges. Be bold and look for the people that believe in you.
With new demands on time and an increasingly high bar for success and satisfaction, it is more important than ever that we take the time to care for ourselves and cultivate peace of mind. For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying the Delegate app and it has changed my life. I managed to schedule a haircut for my baby, get tickets to drunk Shakespeare, find an Airbnb for a visiting cousin, order shelves for my home, and get my uncle a birthday gift–all in 3 days without doing a thing. Whether you use Delegate or get inspired by its founders’ tips, make sure you are taking some time today to support your own mental health and self-care.