I have worked in my startup for over 6 years now. Our (the founders) first 2 years were invested in finding right people who could work along with us and I feel blessed that I am working with them even today after going though lots of downs and downs.
The reason for writing this blog is from my personal experience of dealing with fatigue both physically and mentally. It is very important for the captain of the ship to be in complete control to lead everyone to meet goal and accomplish the vision. Our startup is into game development using upcoming technologies like Augmented and Virtual reality. We work with major brands across various sectors in providing digital gamified solution. It`s 10 months since we started our new startup after closing down our earlier one and it has been a roller coaster ride for our team. Sometimes working for continuous 3 days without sleep but making sure we deliver to our client on time.
After working continuously without break for more than 5 months I started realizing that my body is giving up and my mind has stopped working. I was mentally and physically fatigued. We did everything we could do, working from home, hunting for office space, shopping for cheap office furniture, making sure team is happy, motivating, traveling second class and staying in cheap hotels or shared rooms to save on money, hiring and firing people, taking seminars, pitching to clients, negotiating, getting our first contract, working on the product, building company website, investing in conferences, fighting for getting paid from clients, getting our first pay check, paying our team and celebrating their first pay checks and many more. But it was fun. We did whatever we could do to survive and grow and in doing so we forgot to make sure our mind and body gets enough time to relax and refresh to continue doing what we are doing. Even though we are into our own startup and do things which we love, being humans, we tend to get tired mentally and physically.
It is a common problem for every startup team and it’s very important to find solution to help us continue working further. We have lost important team members due to this and understand what it cost to team. Mental and physical fatigue makes person many a times change their careers and do something else hoping grass will be green on the other side but they fail to understand that it is not the work that is making them tired but the way of working.
I have listed down few points that causes mental fatigue and also solutions on how we can overcome them. I will be glad if you can share your ways or experience on this, it will definitely help everyone to keep themselves away from the it.
Many startups that I come across are doing too many things apart from their own domain just for the sake of money. This not only makes team lose confidence but many a times startups fail to deliver the expected product to the client and thus losing faith and trust. This can adversely affect the team and the founders who start thinking maybe this is not their cup of team and start looking for other alternatives or start the blame game.
They fail to understand simple thing that what they are doing is something which they are not capable of or out of their own domain.
For example, being a gaming startup, we have good team of programmers and artist. We had lots of offers and enquiries on our office website for website development, application development, robotics, animation and vfx etc We took many of these assignment to earn money in short term, only to later realize what damage it has caused to our team. After going through all this we have learned to say no for things which are not in our domain. It not only saves time and energy but helps you be focused on your own mission and vision.
When we started working on our second startup TAP CUBE STUDIOS, we used to work more than 16-18 hours a day including Saturdays and Sundays. We soon realized our mistake and made sure we have 5 day working week. It becomes difficult during crunch times but it’s important for the project that the team is fresh and happy and giving 100%.
Being a gaming startup we deal with mobile more than dealing with people. We work on computers and test our products on mobile day in and day out. I don’t remember a single day since 2013 that I have spent without my laptop and mobile.
It`s good to be active on social media but it`s better to keep check of time you spend. Due to digitization of everything we end up spending lot of our productive time on mobile which makes us mentally tired. It also causes problem like lack of sleep, distractions etc which hampers our creativity.
Being in digital gaming startup it becomes extremely difficult to be away from mobile but I have set goal to spend as little time as possible on mobile and instead use it effectively. My target is to spend only 2 hours a day on mobile and to achieve this I have kept rewards for myself for spending less time thus gamifying the experience.
It not only keeps you refresh but also keeps you mentally happy. I am trying to celebrate a no mobile day very soon.
Its common problem in startup teams and we often end up comparing in our team, our health quotient with our tummy. Due to long working hours we end up eating junk food every day. There was a time few months back where we used to eat outside food without fail. It not only affects our health but also plunders our pockets.
It`s very important for entire team to make sure we eat right food and keep entire team healthy and encourage eating healthy food only. It`s tough but we have to do it. May be you can try rewards for the healthiest person in the office reason being gamification always helps you solve the problem and helps in high engagement to solve a problem.
Family is everything. A stable environment at home will ensure smooth working in the office as well. It`s very important to have a strong and healthy relationship with your family members and even in the social circle. It not only helps you to get relax but spending time together during lunch or morning breakfast rejuvenates you.
Many soft basic skills can be learnt at home by maintaining and keeping strong ties with family members. It is also important how we make use of our relations to grow business. I take help of all my family members who are working in corporate sectors or fields which fall in our domain of expertise to get leads or book meetings with the concerned person.
Along with successful career it`s very important to also have successful relationships with your family, society, god and our own body to be happy in life.
It often happens in startup life that we get burdened with work leaving no time for personal things. But successful entrepreneurs always take time out of their schedule to do things which they love doing. Things like playing musical instruments, traveling, reading, writing, cooking, going out for long drive etc
It makes your mind relax and makes you feel happy for the entire week. Our body requires charging up now and then.
I often engage myself in reading and cooking when I get time. It makes me feel happy and satisfied. You need to find out what makes you happy and spend some part of your day in doing it.
It is very important to have a specific goal in your life or a clear purpose which will define our existence. We will only achieve success when we create difference in the life`s of people in a positive way. Even for startups it is very important to create a difference in the society with their offering and solve a meaningful problem.
TAP CUBE STUDIOS is into gaming and we want to be recognized as India`s number one gaming company pioneered in upcoming technologies like AR and VR. We develop fun-loving addictive games and make people feel happy.
Having a clear vision and goal helps you to be on track and avoids getting distracted, making sure your entire energy and focus is on single objective. It has helped us and our team to know their roles and helps in being more productive and creative as well. It also helps build some sense of trust and secured feeling.
Clients are god. It is very important to keep very healthy and respectable relationship with clients. It`s from our personal experience of working with our clients and I can vouch how it has helped us till date by maintaining good relations. It builds your credibility and removes friction in working. Usually a client relationship is full of tension, negotiation, profits and sometimes fights but we made sure we know each other and work in harmony.
Telling the truth and being transparent always helps. Never over commit and under deliver, it will spoil the image of your company. We have learned a lot from such small mistakes and we always make sure we have a good rapport with the client. I personally take interest in knowing about their company, profile, company history, journey till this point etc and make them realize that we are equally interested in them and happy to serve them and be part of their mission by providing the service.
To run a startup, you have to make sure you control the spending. Especially the unwanted ones. We have done a lot of such spending and later realized we could have invested that money into our product. Small expenses which looks unimportant can make up for a huge bill in long run.
For example, our cutting chai cost was 100rs/day for 4 people. Today we have a team of 12 working in our office, doing simple math we can conclude that we would have spent 300rs/day for a small cutting chai ending 9000rs/month and whopping 1.08lakh/ year.
Whoa! That’s a lot of money. We cut down on this cost and decided to buy a tea maker and make tea ourselves and thus saving almost 7000/month and 84,000/year. There are many such examples where we have managed to save money by changing our habits. It makes sense for a startup to save money by doing small things. It not only helps you stay calm and not press the panic button later on when you run out of cash and try to find out where the money is going.
These are few things which has helped me personally and our team to keep away from getting fatigued and tired due to excess of work that we all are doing. It’s important for everyone to stay fresh and healthy to make this society a better place to live by solving problems. These opinions mentioned above are my personal ones from my own personal experience. I hope they help you in some or the other way in keeping you fresh. Cheers!
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org, Co-founder and Creative Director
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