Entrepreneurship brings about a unique stress to those who embark on this path less taken. In turn, we seek actively and engaging methods of stress relief and relaxation: meditate, exercise, do yoga, take active breaks, recharge in nature, etc. While these strategies certainly have benefits, they add to-do items to the seemingly endless lists that women already find too overwhelming. We are constantly prioritizing, multi-tasking, juggling, and problem solving every day and adding to our list may increase guilt or a sense of being under accomplished -- even if the goal is to help promote balance and well-being.
Often strategies to help us de-stress require attention-shifts, leaving work, making appointments, and carving out time during the day for additional tasks. In a nutshell, they make us feel like we need to do MORE. At The TouchPoint Solution, we incorporate many strategies to promote calm balance, and we also recognize the need for solutions that don’t take time away from the tasks at hand. Promoting stress-relief in real time without taking away from our work productivity is paramount as we are constantly shifting priorities and keeping pace with the ever present demands of being a tech start up. As a co-founder, I employ these methods myself and also encourage our employees to use these methods. After all, what good is it to be a neuropsychologist who has created a stress-relieving device and then not use it? I prefer to practice what I preach outside of the clinic and boardroom.
Here are two tips that can help boost productivity and de-stress women entrepreneurs that we find incredibly valuable in our organization.
1. Push-Pull Information Management
Before I co-founded TouchPoint, I had no real presence on social media. The necessity in my start-up created the need for me to dive in and I quickly found myself bombarded with notifications and distractions that almost immediately had me feeling busier, but with a drop in productivity. The seduction of scrolling through posts mindlessly quickly turned into a major distraction during my day. I quickly learned that managing this kind of information was key in balancing what I really needed to attend to online vs. the lure of extraneous information.
Social media notifications and news alerts from twitter, text, Facebook, etc. are examples of push information. Most of it is unnecessary and costly to you regarding attention shifts and distractions. Unless it’s an emergency, you don’t need to orient your attention to each distraction. This constant shifting alone can raise stress levels because you can maintain the feeling of being extremely busy, but in reality, your productivity is lower because of the constant distractions. Some push notifications such as news stories about global terrorism invoke negative feelings as well, which you then need to contain and compartmentalize during your workday. In contrast, when you “pull” information, you are actively deciding what is important and needs to be considered at the moment. This is deliberate and focused. Most of us have a push/pull ratio that is too push heavy, which results in wasted time and an increase in stress.
2. Use Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile (BLAST) Technology
The TouchPoint Solution's first product, Buzzies, is based on a successful component of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment that I isolated and determined could be used to reduce stress by 74 percent in just 30 seconds. The stress of co-founding a start-up became a source of irony because I had created a product to reduce anxiety and stress, so I quickly increased my daily use Buzzies to help me manage the stress of the increasing demands that I was working hard to juggle. To de-stress and keep me in an optimal performance zone, I use this technology when I'm having a stressful conversation, doing media interviews, speaking publicly, and if I have trouble going to sleep because my mind isn’t calm. Our CEO, Vicki Mayo, uses our technology every morning when she is preparing for her day. Both of us help ourselves out by using these on our children to help them go to sleep and ease fears.
Being able to calm down without interrupting what we are doing and in a way that is not detectable by others (Buzzies are 20 percent less noisy than an iPhone buzz) is important for us to be able to reap the benefits of what we’ve created in real time and real world situations.
Yes, I still exercise, take deep breaths, and engage in multiple strategies for overall lifestyle balance and health. However, I find that managing the push/pull ratio and using applied neuroscience in Buzzies during the day are two underused strategies that can help women entrepreneurs improve productivity and increase their chances of success.
The work we do should contribute something to our lives—but what? When we sit back and fantasize about the life we want to live, we all have different definitions of success. Some of us want to pay off our student loans. Some of us want to increase our vocational velocity.