As a small business owner, there really are no ‘set hours’…
You don’t clock in or out, and the only person you’re usually accountable to, is yourself.
No one is going to pull you up for being late, and if you want an early finish on a Friday, just go ahead and take one.
There’s a widely held belief in business, that the more you work, the more you earn, time is money and all that, which leaves a lot of people with the idea that they have to ‘keep at it’ and grind away through fear that they might miss an opportunity to earn some doh.
We get it, time really is money in the world of business, and if you’re driven by the dollar, you probably won’t see any problem with working around the clock.
But, there is a problem with this way of operating, a big problem.
You stop looking after yourself.
And if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after those around you.
And isn’t that why you set up in business in the first place?
How many times have you sat down to watch the TV of an evening, and then got your laptop out to check a few emails.
Never? If you’re feeling smug about that, don’t forget all the times you’ve used your smart phone to do the exact same thing!
See, it can be virtually impossible to fully ‘switch off’ from the business. You’ve probably been on holiday before now, soaking up the rays on the sun lounger, whilst chasing up an invoice or following up on a lead.
Before you go to bed even, do you check the emails and tie up a few loose ends. We bet you do or that you have done at least once.
Being thorough isn’t the problem here. Being super responsive to your clients is a brilliant selling point as well, but from time to time, you need to learn to say ‘enough is enough’.
You need to ‘stop’.
The brain will work and work and run and run, as long as you keep asking it to. It’s the most powerful machine your business will use, both in the short term and the long term. The most powerful tool, as it brings ideas, innovation and inspiration to your day to day.
Your photocopier brings words on paper and colour images. Your phone brings customer enquiries to your ears. Those are pretty important too, but not as important as the ideas, the innovation and the inspiration. Surely not!
The trouble is, when there’s a problem with the photocopier or your phone, you get it fixed. Business depends on it. But when there’s a problem with your brain, you power on through.
Energy drinks. Late nights. Coffee, coffee, coffee…
…they all keep the brain going and the business running. The money keeps coming in. But trust us, this is finite. You need to pull the plug before the plug pulls itself. Cool down before you break down.
If the brain is the most powerful, and therefore valuable machine to your business, you need to look after it with equal or greater care to the other ‘machines’. Let’s go for greater.
Take breaks. Not working lunches. Not your evening meal on your lap whilst you chat on the phone.
Proper breaks. Go to the gym and leave your phone at home. Watch some TV. Listen to some music.
We’ll say that one again, go outside!
It might seem scary at first, like you’re letting opportunities pass you by, missing out on a big deal by not responding straight away.
This might happen once in a while, that the big one gets away whilst you’re in the sauna or out with the dog, but don’t feel guilty about this.
Unless you take care of yourself, your business will have no one to take care of it. No one in any fit state at least.
At 2080e, we’re here to support, advise and listen, as we help you on your journey into and through the world of successful business.
We’ll spend valuable hours learning and talking about cutting costs, managing people, spending wisely, marketing and sales, but every now and then, we’ll also tell you to just ‘stop’.
Don’t work in the business. Don’t work on the business. Don’t even think about the business.
Go and do something else. For a little bit.
Because when it comes to running your business. When it comes to earning money. When it comes to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, there will always be ‘just a little bit more’ that you can get done.
Well, every now and then, just don’t.
Every now and then, just a little bit more can wait, whilst you stop.
S.T. O. P.
Just for a little bit.