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Top Tips 07: 5 ways to keep sane when running a business

Attributes of a Successful SME...

As part of Fistral's 21st anniversary year, we've asked the Directors to share their thoughts and experiences on a variety of business-related issues. In the seventh of the series, we asked how they manage to remain [relatively] sane when running a business, constantly travelling, trying to maintain a work-life balance plus anything else that life, the tax man, customers or family throw at you. Below they give five recommendations.

For the latest article in our 21st anniversary Top Tips series we asked our Directors:

"How do you keep yourself sane when running a business?"

Their Top 5 recommendations for preserving sanity are as follows:

  1. Make time for family

    • ...Sounds easy, but in practice can be tricky. Even if this means putting family appointments in your calendar so you don't forget to ask about (even if you can't attend) the school play, dance show, football competition, sports day, special assembly, red nose day activities. Google Calendar, as with many other shared online services, has a good 'multiple calendars' option that you can show or hide as you need.
  2. If working from home, learn to walk past the office door at weekends

    • ...Ideally your office will be located somewhere that you don't need to walk past to get to the kitchen / bedroom / living room. And if not, you also need to make sure the door is firmly closed and learn to ignore the office phone ringing and turn off your phone and email (or at least turn work updates to the manually-check setting); especially if reminders and notifications sound/flash on your phone.
  3. Look after your organisation's "sanity department"

    • ...Usually called family and friends. This is the most important department in your business and you need to look after it as best you can to ensure that it will continue support you and keep you on track. As such, enjoy the days when you are at home, and try to do fun and relaxing activities. Running your own business can take a huge toll on family and friends, so use the quiet times and weekends to refocus and make up for that.
  4. Have a good holiday (min 3 weeks) every year which customers know is sacrosanct

    • ...If possible, at least two of these weeks should be consecutive as it takes time to wind-down, switch-off and relax. If you explain to customers that it is important, they will respect it. This can often be your one tangible and self-indulgent 'gimme' for working so hard and being your own boss.
  5. Maintain interests outside of work to keep you physically and mentally in shape

    • ...These allow you to get out all your frustrations outside of the office and home. Often you can feel like you literally don't have time for anything but work and that such things are a luxury at the cost of family time. However if you force yourself to make time and even schedule this into your calendar, you (and your loved ones) will benefit all-round. Go running, exercise, join a choir or amateur dramatics group, or [director's favourite] follow a football, or other sports, team [apparently then "at least you can shout at overpaid prima-donnas to relieve tension rather than getting stroppy in the office!"].

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Posted by Pauline on 08/26 at 05:30 PM in Fistral Tips

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