How do you keep your business healthy? Previously, I’ve shared quite a bit of information about the foundational work we do at Super Structures Associates to keep the core of our business in good shape. I want other business owners to learn from our approach. But what I haven’t shared much about is how to keep the most important part of your business healthy – you!
Over the last two or three years, a lot of founders, business owners and freelance professionals have looked around at the way they work and realised it’s unbalanced. Some have suffered with exhaustion and burnout. And it’s very difficult to run a business when you’re in that state.
So let’s look at five foundations you can put in place to keep both you and your business healthy:
1. Take time off
It’s easy to become a workaholic. Many of us love what we’ve built and would spend every moment on it if we could. But that’s not sustainable. Humans are not robots. You need time off.
It might not be realistic to take the entire weekend off every week, but you need a chunk of time away from the business to rest and recover. My approach is often to take Saturdays off, and then catch up on admin and other tasks on a Sunday morning. If you tend to work at the weekend, then booking occasional weekends away can help make sure you take a full weekend off from time to time.
2. Healthy business owner = healthy business
Staying fit and healthy helps to give your business a fighting chance and means you’re more likely to have the energy and will to keep going, even in tough times. It could also mean investing in your health – with both time and money.
As you might already know, I’m a runner, and I recently invested in three sessions of physiotherapy to help fix an injury. It’s the best thing I could have done, as it means I can now get back to running. Even if running is not your thing, finding time for walking or getting out into forests, hills or parks is great for energising you, de-stressing, and helping you clear your head. I do some of my best thinking when I’m out running or walking the dogs. For true clear-headedness, leave your phone at home.
You might have other sports and activities that help give you mental clarity – it’ll be good for your business if you can make time for them.
3. Undertake regular reviews
Regularly assessing how you’re working and then coming up with ideas for potential improvements and efficiencies is another good way to create more balance in your business. It can be easier said than done to implement the ideas you come up with, but it’s worth attempting.
A simple starting point can be to sit down each Friday and look back over your week. Review how it went. What went well? What would you do differently? And how can you use that information as you plan the following week? You can also do this daily. It only needs to take a couple of minutes.
4. Clear the bottlenecks
Where are you slowing things down in your business? Is there work that only you can do, that keeps other people waiting? Can you hire someone with a specific skillset to fix that business bottleneck? If there’s something that only you can do, not only are you slowing things down, but it makes it harder for you to take time off. Finding people who have the right attitude, and the right training can be difficult, but it’s worth persevering.
If you don’t want to grow an employed team, you can also look at outsourcing some of your tasks. How can you take the pressure off, so you’re not responsible for every element of your business? If you don’t already have one, hiring a part time personal assistant, or virtual assistant, can be a good move. It means you can offload the tasks that you’re not good at, or that take up too much of your time when you could be working on something more profitable.
5. Work from home vs office work
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating; not everyone works well from home. My team and I found during the various lockdowns that we much preferred being in the office together. If that’s true for you, but you’ve been attempting to work from home, perhaps it’s time to look at finding an office or a coworking space. My current routine is to travel into the office four days a week, with a work-from-home day on Wednesday. This balances out the week. I get to be in the office with my team (when I’m not out on site) but I get one day off from commuting and our two dogs get the benefit of my company!
Change can be difficult, so pick one thing to work on at a time. Usually, the place to start is with making sure you can take some time off. Most business challenges feel easier to deal with after a proper break.
Meanwhile, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.