professional development, Startup Advice

Recharge for the year ahead with these top resources for entrepreneurs

Emma Koehn /

Between Christmas functions, last minute planning and December cash flow management, it’s likely that you haven’t taken time to recharge or step back to reflect on your routine. 

With so many business owners and startup founders no doubt burning the midnight oil over the coming months, the risk of burning out is real. And the idea of taking time out to focus not just on your business, but yourself, may seem daunting.

However, both leadership experts and entrepreneurs acknowledge there is big power in stepping back to recharge in order to boost innovation, creativity and motivation.

As the year rushes to an end, here’s a range of resources to dip into throughout the workday to recharge while also keeping your business in mind.

Track your time and health

Doctors and academics have been stressing to business people for years that overall health and fitness are key to your future success.

As the year draws to a close, there are no shortage of tools to download straight to your phone to ensure you are exercising, resting and balancing your time effectively.

Think about the areas you want to improve when it comes to your day-to-day routine, and a quick search will probably reveal an app.

For quick exercise ideas when you don’t have any time to spare, search for a “seven minute” workout app to find an option that suits your needs. Or, as silly as it sounds, take to YouTube for a full board of exercise routines you can do while standing or sitting at your desk.

If you want to see where your time is going — including when and how you sleep — there are no shortage of time management apps to help you review where you might want to rebalance in the year ahead.

Programs like Sleep Cycle aim to track your sleep while waking you up gently. Meanwhile, if you want to get a sense of where your time actually goes so you can make adjustments in the new year, apps like Reporter will prompt you to answer questions about what you’re doing throughout the day to paint a portrait of what you really spend time on.

Books, talks and documentaries

This is prime time for end-of-year recommendations lists, and some business leaders have already handed down recommendations for you to spend your down time consuming.

Bill Gates has shared his annual top five reads for the summer, including a graphic novel, biography and historical fiction.

Or perhaps it’s time to pick up a great business book? Here’s nine suggestions.

For those wanting a viewing option, now could be the perfect time to get across presentations and documentaries you’d been meaning to view this year. Tuning into the “Work/life balance” category from TED delivers hours of expert coverage on ideas of stillness, productivity, happiness and free time (even when it seems like none is available).

If you’re looking to get outside of your own business story and learn more about someone else’s, there’s a deep well of in-depth documentaries about the entrepreneur’s experience, right at your fingertips, including locally made The New Hustle, which StartupSmart helped launch this year.

Other summer watches could include the film that looks at Tony Robbins’ career and brand, I am not your guru, or catch up on the documentary series produced by startup accelerator program SheStarts this year.

Planning tools

An entrepreneur is only as good as their last list, and both StartupSmart and SmartCompany have offered plenty of advice to entrepreneurs this year about how to make the most of your time.

However busy you are, academics suggest there’s always space to do the things that are most important, if you focus properly.

With that in mind, why not take a few minutes this month to read up on a couple of well-known time management techniques that you might not know how to put into practice?

Perhaps get across the Pomodoro method, a system for breaking big tasks into small chunks of concentration, followed by breaks. Or get the definitive answer on “Bullet Journalling” in this video, which takes you through how the graphic design-fuelled diary system can help you decide which tasks are the most important for your business.

There are also plenty of opportunities to get outside of your regular thinking patterns and try a new approach to business planning or leadership. Check out these 16 free online courses on everything from “Green HR” to mindfulness.

Got a recommendation for a tool, resource, text or course to help entrepreneurs review the year and recharge? Leave them in the comments below.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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