In spring our thoughts naturally turn to throwing off the sluggish, warmth-conserving slothfulness of winter and getting into shape for summer. But what about being fit for business?
Some of the personal training practises that work for athletic agility can be equally applied to running our businesses (pun intended!) Here are four of them:
1. Strengthen your stamina
Being the one in charge can be tiring, especially at first but you don’t get better at running by thinking about it. You get better by doing it. On the other hand, you don’t have to become a marathon runner on day one. Build your capacity for work in small steps instead of starting it at 16 hours a day and having a breakdown. It’s a bit like combining cardio and muscle building. Since you are in charge of your own routine you can structure your day to suit your energy levels and ensure you move from one task to another at a time that suits your work mode. Gradually your staying power will increase and being productive will re-energise you. It’s a positive cycle. It becomes a positive cycle instead of a destructive one.
For example, I am a morning person so my best work is done between 7am and 9am. I plan my work in two-hour blocks because that’s my attention limit and 3pm is definitely break time when my thought processes slow down.
2. Build your speed
There’s a lot of talk around about productivity. One way to gauge and build this is to set yourself a time limit. See how many emails you can deal with effectively and accurately in 20 minutes. Or do a speed trial with yourself to see how quickly you can get your filing done. Put the music on loud, set the stopwatch and get aerobic about it. With practise you will improve your own speed and free up time to work on something more fascinating.
3. Take care
Your health is more than something that’s nice to have – as a business owner it is a core asset. Who will keep paid work coming in if you’re not there? Taking care of your health is taking care of business. Join the gym, walk to work, take a break, eat nutritious snacks, do yoga – oh for goodness sake you know what’s good for you better than I do. Just do it.
4. Be coached
Being a coach I would say this, but I speak from the experience of having my own business coach and mentors. Over the years they have saved me aggravation, stopped me running down mazes, rescued me from my own worst judgments, picked me up, dusted me off and sent me onwards after rejections, read P&L weeks and failed deals and encouraged me to go on when no-one else did. Every sportsperson and team worth their salt has a coach because they know the value of an observant outsider with experience in the field. And the cost is more than offset by the savings gained when you make sound, grounded decisions.