Most small business owners wake up early and go to bed late, working from the moment their feet hit the floor until they can finally sit down again in the evening. Generally, people who run their own business do not get to take long vacations and do not have the luxury of leaving work at work. But how can you maintain a successful business when you’re exhausting yourself working 16+ hour days? Can you effectively take care of your business if you don’t take care of yourself?
Burnout is very real and takes a big toll on you. That’s why it’s important to make self-care an important part of your business plan. Here are seven things you can do to start taking better care of yourself so you can run your business effectively.
1. Make self-care a priority.
You may not think that taking care of your mental and physical health is as important as running your business day-to-day but you truly cannot keep going if you’re burning the candle at both ends.
One approach is to set aside time for yourself every morning. Meditate, drink a hot cup of tea, walk the dog, go to the gym. Do something that helps remove tension and anxiety before you start work for the day. It could help you maintain your stress and anxiety throughout the whole day.
2. Get to know your downtimes.
Just about everyone knows when they have a slump. Some people experience one after lunch while others may need a few hours to get started in the morning. Try to plan your day around when you’re most alert.
For example, if you always get tired after lunch, consider scheduling your meetings for early in the morning. If you know you need downtime after that big presentation, schedule it for late afternoon when your slump is over.
3. Make the most out of making your own schedule.
Just because you work more hours than a regular full-time employee doesn’t mean you have to work the same shifts. Rather than working straight through for 12 hours, break it up into two 6-hour blocks, taking an hour or two in between to do something for yourself. Get you errands done so you can go right to sleep when you get home, go for a run in the park, or volunteer to read at your child’s school. Take advantage of the flexibility being the owner provides.
4. Turn off your phone now and then.
And your laptop. And your smartwatch.
While you might not be able to take a cruise to Alaska or spend a week on a Caribbean beach, you can take an afternoon off now and again. The best way to make yourself disconnect from work is to physically disconnect from work. Turn off your phone, close your laptop. It also helps to have pre-established rules with employees and customers that you are not going to be conducting business at certain times, say weekdays after 7 pm or before noon on weekends. That way, you’re sure to have some time for yourself.
5. Make sure you’re covered.
Have you thought about what happens if you or a family member gets sick? As the business owner, you don’t have the same sick pay or disability leave as your employees. Getting disability insurance can be a lifesaver if something happens to you and you are unable to work.
It’s also a good idea to train a second-in-command. Choose someone you trust to fill in for you in case an emergency happens. Or, if you just want to take a vacation day every now and then.
6. Make sure you’re maximizing your potential.
Sometimes, you miss things when you’re super busy. Here’s an example. Your business is doing so well, you never get a day off and you’re constantly running around to meet new clients and working with your team on new development. Are you sure you’re charging enough for your product or service?
The number of hours you put into work isn’t as important as the work you’re doing. Make sure you’re making the best use of every hour and every penny.
7. Build it into your schedule.
Self-care and leisure activities should be taken seriously because they have a real impact on how well you can run your business. That’s why our final tip is to schedule your downtown just as you would a business meeting.
During the workday, do something new like taking a photography class two or three times a week. Make a lunch date with your spouse every Wednesday. Schedule a round of golf with your brother every other Monday.
Do this with evenings, too. Make happy hour plans with your friends once a month or a standing coffee date with your best friend twice a month. Whatever you do, make it fun and make it count.
Your Health, Your Business
Remember, as the business owner, your health affects the business’ bottom line. Yes, you may never get the flu or take a sick day, but don’t forget about your mental health. Self-care is important. It helps you stay fresh and focused so you can grow your business and get rewarded.
Any opinions are those of Thomas Fleishel and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material.