This time of year can be particularly stressful for small business owners. With the new, start-of-year targets and the possibility of yearly staff performance reviews, many find that their workload and working hours are increasing. This, coupled with the inevitable pressures of New Year's Resolutions and the holiday backlog, many entrepreneurs can face burn-out.
It's important to consider a good work/life balance and to carefully prioritise work-related tasks to ensure they don't impact your well-deserved relaxation time. It is vital you don't over-dedicate yourself, particularly after the rush of Christmas. You need to be refreshed and well-rested this time of year.
Typically, a small business owner or employee will work long hours and even weekends. Working these hours over a long period of time can add up and contribute to overworking becoming the norm. This will eventually impact your decision making skills. As you get progressively more tired, your cognitive function tends to deteriorate. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries and it is important to find out what works best for you, whether it's exercise, reading a book, playing a video or board game or heading to the spa.
Long working hours can have a direct effect on your health. There is evidence to suggest that work pressures cause people to take up smoking (or smoke more often), drink more and exercise less. Over time this can contribute to weight gain, increased blood pressure and a higher chance of developing more serious health problems, such as a stroke or heart attack.
Improving lifestyle choices and being mindful of your overall health is a necessity all year round, but it is particularly important during the winter months, as stress levels are high and you are more susceptible to illness. One simple but effective change is to ensure you have a good morning routine. Start the day well by setting goals to achieve by 5pm. This will stop you overloading yourself and keep you focused on high priority tasks.
By planning your time effectively, you will adopt a more productive day which should stop you working late into the night and taking up your well-earned 'me' time. Once you have finished for the day, turn off your work phone, email notifications and computer so you aren't tempted to 'quickly reply to that one email'.
When it comes to the weekend or bank holidays – plan fun activities to enjoy and don't be tempted to start work on Sunday night to get ahead for the next working week!
It's inevitable that you will occasionally work longer hours, but you should try to take this time back when you can. If you find it difficult to follow this advice then you may want to consider booking a session with a Life Coach to help you get back on track for a healthy work/life balance.
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