Building a high-growth tech company is a rollercoaster ride. But as the track twists and turns, there’s something that’s easy to forget—we need to take care of ourselves first.  

I can only speak to my own experience, but I spent a couple years falling into this trap and felt like I was always burning out. Only when I started taking care of myself was I able to make meaningful progress at work. 

I don’t have it all figured out. It’s okay if you don’t either.  Over time, though, you start to learn a little more about what works for you.

So, the Powderkeg team asked tech execs and founders across the community how they balance their personal wellbeing with the fast pace of a high-growth startup.

Keep reading to learn what works for these leaders. Feel welcome to try some of these ideas and see if it works for you. 

1. Set Boundaries

“I set boundaries on my personal time in the mornings by keeping my notifications and alerts muted until 8:00 a.m. during the week. This allows me to take the first 2 hours of each morning – practicing yoga, journaling, or going out to breakfast with my network. I feel balanced and refreshed when it’s time to turn on my ‘work brain.’”

Tamre Mullins, Director of Operations at Glassboard

2. Start in the Morning

“You gotta start in the morning! Do a walk. Do a run. Stretch. Lift weights. Do a class. Exercise your body or your brain! The early morning is when you are less easiest to get distracted or substitute “that one little thing” versus balancing yourself with something that will make you healthier and reduce stress. See you there!“

Paul C. Dreier, CEO at Novilytic

3. Establish Clear Limits on Working Hours

“One way to balance the fast-paced nature of tech startups with personal well-being is to establish boundaries. It’s crucial to define clear limits on your working hours and availability. When the workday ends or during designated personal time, avoid checking work emails or engaging in work-related tasks. This separation allows you to recharge, spend time with loved ones, pursue hobbies, and prioritize self-care.“

Emily Finkelstein, CEO at VentureXpert Advisors

4. Use Your Calendar

“Calendar it. Meetings often consume our time, diverting us from personal and professional success. Have a favorite yoga class? Put it on your calendar. Want to help in your child’s classroom? Calendar. Need thinking space? Calendar. Simply need to knock out those lingering tasks? Calendar. We have to use the time on our calendar for ourselves as much as we use it for others in order to think strategically, contribute positively to company culture, and prevent burnout.“

Megan Noel, Director of Marketing at Trava

5. Celebrate Little Wins

“Celebrate the little wins. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the strategy and end goals, so it’s essential to recognize your incremental wins and include everyone who helped you in that celebration. It gives reprieve to the grind, unites your team in success, ignites more forward momentum, and gives you an opportunity to remind everyone of what the ultimate goal is in a joyful setting.“

Hayley Cazares, Marketing Director at Groundwork


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