The word “entrepreneur” derives from the French entreprendre, meaning “to undertake,” and because everyone undertakes something in their lives, however formidable it may be, everyone is an entrepreneur to some degree. The act of undertaking, however, is not easy; literally speaking, it means picking up responsibilities, placing them onto your shoulders, and willingly bearing their weight. This weight, over time, will only grow heavier, which is why managing your workload and mitigating the stress that derives from it is so important for an entrepreneur’s long-term success.
One of the most important decisions an entrepreneur can make occurs before they ever step foot in an office or open up their computer – it is the decision to go to bed… early. Unless you are one of the few who possess the Thatcher Gene, sleep is an essential yet under-appreciated component for entrepreneurial success. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs believe sleep to be synonymous with laziness and lack of motivation because they view those precious hours of slumber as a missed opportunity to further advance that weight which bears down on their shoulders – entrepreneurs like Steve Harvey, who not long ago provocatively declared that successful people don’t sleep eight hours a day.
The scientific literature surrounding the importance of sleep (for the vast majority of people), however, is well-established and unanimously agreed upon: Although depriving yourself of sleep may result in short-terms gains as you carry weighty responsibilities toward your end goal, it is not an effective long-term strategy. And entrepreneurship, after all, is a long-term endeavor. Regardless how weighty of a task you choose to undertake, no amount of grit and determination can overcome the challenges that come from a lack of rest. For the vast majority of people, a healthy amount of sleep should be a prerequisite for undertaking tasks instead of a sacrifice. So next time you decide to undertake a new goal, it may be best start by undertaking a blanket and pillow first.