Scorchio! 14 tips for entrepreneurs to keep motivated in the blistering heat
- Chris Haycock
- Wednesday, July 24, 2019
As you will be fully aware, we entrepreneurs often power through most obstacles because we've got businesses and families to support. We're often called upon to work early, late, through sickness and family outings just to get the job done.
Although many people think one of our best perks is that we can pick and choose our hours, you can quite often find us working long hours, and we don't get as many holidays as our employed counterparts*.
In fact, small business owners work an average a whopping 45.5 hours a week, compared to 37.5 for a full-time employee.
While those lucky employees are enjoying their long summer breaks, many entrepreneurs and business owners are at their desks keeping their businesses afloat, even through the scorching summer heat (while it lasts here in the UK).
OK, enough of the sob story. We've got it pretty good, in the main.
But if you're sweltering in the recent heatwave, here are 14 ways that you can keep yourself motivated and sharp.
1. Change your working hours
If you have the luxury of being able to change the hours that you work, then plan to work during the cooler hours of the morning and evening. There's a reason why the Spanish take a siesta in the early afternoon.
As well as avoiding the hottest part of the day, taking a relaxing siesta may reduce cardiovascular stress 1.
2. Stay hydrated
Keep a big jug of ice cold water on your desk. If - like me - you get so engrossed in your work, set an alarm to go off each hour on your mobile phone to remind you to take a drink. Experts say that we should aim to drink 250ml of water eight times in a day, totalling 4 pints.
Losing as little as 2% of your body's water in the heat can significantly impair physical and mental performance.
3. Wear loose, dark coloured clothing
Yes, I know everyone tells you to wear light coloured clothes in the sun, but if you're sat in an office you're not going to be in its direct path. There is evidence that supports the idea that black absorbs energy from the body instead of reflecting it back towards yourself. If you're close to a fan, that absorbed body heat will be dissipated by the circulating air.
Tight fitting clothes might be all the rage in your office, but they'll restrict air flow, and will make you sweat even more. Loose clothes will help the air circulate around your body. Dark coloured clothing
4. Avoid stress
When you're exposed to repeated stress and anxiety, your core body temperature increases slightly, and can lead to a condition known as 'psychogenic fever'.
Addressing any issues that are causing anxiety and stress may help to reduce your core body temperature by as much as 1°. That doesn't sound a lot when we think of outside temperatures, but when it comes to your body, it's significant.
5. Take a cool or tepid shower
Yesterday the weather hit 28° in our back garden, and - predictably - out came the family-sized swimming pool. A 5-minute lie down in the tepid (almost warm-ish) water meant that I was back to feeling cool and ready for some more work.
So, if you find yourself sweltering in the heat, consider taking a short break to cool yourself down in the bath, shower or paddling pool. This isn't going to be possible for those working in an office, of course, but splashing your face with cool water is going to have a similar effect.
Avoid using cold water where possible. That icy-cold shower may feel incredible when your body is almost at boiling point, but it can close the pores in your skin. Your internal core temperature has no way of releasing the heat, and you'll eventually end up feeling hotter than you did before.
6. Ditch the caffeine
Let's make this clear - I'm not going to give up on my first coffee of the day because it's about the only thing that can get me into gear in the morning.
But downing copious amounts of your favourite coffee throughout the day will increase your blood floy, blood pressure, irritability and - wait for it - your body temperature.
If you're willing to go through cold turkey and ditch the excessive cups, then consider opting for decaffeinated coffee instead.
What about hot drinks? Well, they will raise your core temperature, but something else happens inside your body: although your temperature rises, your blood also rushes towards the skin which will cause you to sweat faster and feel cooler. So, keep drinking those hot drinks.
7. Get some gentle exercise
Even if you take a short stroll for a mile or two, the gentle exercise will raise your serotonin level, sharpen your attention, and make you feel more energised afterwards.
During exercise, your brain receives an increase of a neurotransmitter called BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which will leave you fealing more invigorated, and improve your cognitive function in the heat.
Stick to shady, breezy paths if you can, and take your smartphone with you - especially if like me you come up with a fantastic new idea for your business.
8. Address the important tasks
As an entrepreneur you'll already be motivated enough to get yourself through the day, no matter how hot it is. But the heat will eventually exhaust you and you'll want to call it a day when it gets too much.
At the start of the day, write down your priorities and urgent tasks, and concentrate on getting those done first. Then, if it all gets too much and you need to escape the heat, you'll feel much better knowing you've got the important tasks done.
9. Close the windows and curtains.
If it's hotter outside a building than it is inside then close any windows that are on the sunny side, and open the ones that are on the shaded side.
Do the same with the curtains too. What about blinds? Dark or metallic blinds can make your room hotter, so it's worth keeping them open.
10. Invest in a good quality air conditioning unit
An air conditioner is a machine that sucks in warm air, and replaces it with cooler air. They're an absolute blessing if you're faced with weeks of scorching heat, and can make your work such much more bearable.
Although they can be pricey, the increased production levels that you'll enjoy by having one greatly outweighs their cost.
Search on Amazon for a good quality unit with good reviews.
Alternatively, if you don't want to fork out several hundreds of pounds on an air conditioning unit, pick up a good quality oscillating fan which will circulate air in your building and make you feel slightly cooler.
11. Take your work outside.
If you've got a garden or outside yard, head for a shady area with your laptop.
Let's face it, it's not often we get to work outside. My office set-up is a multi-screen environment with FOUR ultra-large monitors, which makes it easier to multitask. Whilst I find it difficult to get back to using just one screen, getting myself outside to work means that I can do the things that I tend to avoid - like writing!
A change of scenery also brings out a creative streak. If your surroundings are more attractive than your office, then it makes complete sense to get yourself away from your desk once in a while.
We entrepreneurs have the luxury of being able to pick up our laptops and work wherever we want. If the weather is good enough in the UK for us to do that, then we should take advantage and go for it.
12. Turn off the electrics
If you're anything like me, your office equipment is constantly on the go. There's a huge downside to this - they all generate excess heat.
Turn off any non-essential electrical equipment (and that includes lighting, too) to lower the office temperature.
13. Just get on with it
I know this isn't going to be popular for some, but sometimes you've just got to power on through the heat and get the job done.
If you're as devoted to your business goals, you'll find a way to keep going, even though you're feeling hot and groggy. Just take plenty of breaks, drink lots of water, and keep the fans on.
14. Stock up on ice cream
Few things are more motivating than a Magnum ice cream (other brands are available) sat waiting for you in the freezer.
Just don't overdo it on the ice cream!