How interesting to read that 19 million days of annual leave remain untaken in the UK every year, one in five people work an extra 7 hours a week of unpaid overtime, one in four of us suffer from Sunday night insomnia and some 90% of adults say they don’t get enough sleep!
Those statistics don’t specify the figures that relate to small business owners, sole traders or start-ups, none of whom would dare to record their lack of holidays, unpaid overtime or hours of missed sleep!
But in order for a small business to survive there’s a need to take care of its most important asset and that most definitely is you, especially in the early years! The business owners who continue to work incessantly, without a break, risk suffering the consequences of stress and burn out.
Certainly there are times in business when one is conflicted; urgent work situations may require input and attention whilst domestic or personal matters may be shouting for your time. If this is an occasional or emergency situation you may be able to accommodate being pulled in different directions for a while.
However, if this goes on for too long or becomes your way of life you may need to look at ways to provide a healthier work/life balance. It’s important to have regular time for you so you can bring peace and harmony into your life and be better able to support your business’s success.
Let’s look at 7 tips for success to support your small business’s growth and success:
– Appreciate the importance of looking after yourself. Take responsibility for your nutrition, water intake, exercise, fresh air and fun. When we’re over-stressed it can affect the quality of our sleep, libido, sense of humour, positive perspective and ability to cope. Evaluate what’s important to you, what you need to do to take care of both yourself and your business and then start to prioritise those various demands on your time so that you can look after yourself more effectively.
– Accept help at home. Allow your children to take on duties, even if their efforts don’t match your standards. Consider hiring help with cleaning, laundry, gardening so that you can use your personal time in better ways. Treat the money spent as a valuable investment and enjoy some free time having fun with family and friends.
– Delegate tasks at work, especially when they’re basic or routine. Accept too that you may not always be the best person for a particular job, so let others do what they’re good at and encourage them to come up with new ideas and better ways of working. You can then use your time more constructively elsewhere.
– Learn to say ‘no’ sometimes. Weigh up the viability of the different requests that come your way, either at home or at work. Saying ‘no’ can help you to maximise the best use of your time and energy. In business it’s important to respect your existing customers, plan your long-term goals and prioritise effectively so that each opportunity receives your full attention.
– Do what feels right for you. It can be easy to over-commit yourself when you want to accommodate others or be seen as popular, busy or indispensable. Taking time for you provides space in which to weigh-up those differing influences. Doing too much or agreeing to things that don’t really suit you may take you out of your comfort zone and provide valuable opportunities for challenge and growth, but ultimately the motivation to work well comes from feeling excited, enthusiastic and fully invested, not over-tired, resentful or jaded.
– Schedule regular time for yourself and allow for a more even work/life balance. Put yourself in your diary on a regular basis, plan some quiet time to read a book or go for a pleasant walk, arrange a spa day where you leave your phone behind, stressing no contact unless there’s an emergency. Make time for your hobbies and interests. It’s a fact that people who take breaks return to work with a positive mindset and support their businesses with more enthusiasm.
– Aim to regularly finish work at a reasonable time, and that includes turning off distractions like work phones and social media. Treat yourself and your personal relationships as important, respected and valuable so that they thrive and reward you with loyalty, support and a genuine interest in your wellbeing.
When you take time for you it provides an opportunity to detach yourself from the stresses and cares of life. You’re giving yourself an interlude in which to recharge your batteries and balance your thinking. After which you can return with renewed energy, to focus on taking your business to the next level of success.
Susan Leigh is a long established counsellor, hypnotherapist, writer and media contributor who works with clients to help with relationship conflict, stress management, assertiveness and confidence issues. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.