Dear Aunty B,
I run an advertising agency and have had to reduce my staff count. As a result I am doing a lot more with less.
Compounding the problem is everything is taking longer and takes more effort. Clients are taking ages to make decisions and want more information and price comparisons. Everyone is taking longer to pay us and we have to chase more bad debts.
I worked most of the weekend doing budgets and forecasts and meeting a deadline for a client, and got to work on Monday feeling exhausted and unproductive. My wife is sick of me being absent or moaning to her.
If I look into my crystal ball and think I have another two years of this, I honestly think I can’t make it. I feel like I need to build my resilience to cope with the next few years, but can’t when I feel so exhausted. I know our company will make it, but am not sure whether I will!
I am not sure what I am asking Aunty, but I know you’ll help!
Dear Over It,
You are making a crucial mistake. Trying to meet targets and deadlines with less staff is going to eat up your energy and personal time. But your energy levels and productivity are also a key success factor in surviving this recession.
In fact think of it this way. It’s a case of who burns out first, your competitors or you. So your energy levels and working productivity are going to be a competitive advantage in the year ahead.
So once you understand how important this is to your business, you will make a decision – not to work on weekends. What you need to do is finish work on Friday by writing a long list. You will then go home and switch off. Make sure you do something pleasurable (and I don’t mean drinking) like hitting the gym, going for a run, reading a book or bungy jumping. Switch off for at least the next day and a half and know that by doing so, you are recharging.
You might find other ways to be more productive. I know entrepreneurs who take Friday afternoons off and then work Sunday afternoon. Or they take a day off a fortnight. Or they book a week’s holiday every quarter.
Managing your energy output and energy recovery are an essential part of your role. When you feel strong and rested, you perform more productively.
But one last thing – the workload may be unsustainable. You may need to cull products or restructure in order to maintain your service levels.
Your Aunty B.
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